Many discoveries left the historians no doubt that Georgia was the birthplace of wine. Ancient wine vessels made of clay, bronze and silver; golden wine cups; wine barrels dated to the 2nd or even 3rd millennium BC, as well as wine seeds found in the ancient tombs of the Bronze age outline a continuous story of the history of Georgian wine. Today, over 500 varieties of grapes grows in our small country, and Georgian wines are well known for their unique properties and characteristics. Our warm climate and moist air from the Black Sea provides perfect conditions to produce superb wine. Our diverse landscape and climate zones enable us to produce far more varieties of grapes than virtually any other country in the world.
Main grape varieties in Georgia are red and white: The Rkatsiteli grape creates a robust white wine full of character, with many varieties and brands. The increasingly famous red Saperavi grapes provide powerful and fiery wines with aroma of plums, spices and almonds. In Kakheti region you will also discover the delicious naturally formed semi-sweet wines of Kindzmarauli and Akhasheni.
Day 2: Tbilisi – Telavi (Kakheti). Our tour starts from Kakheti Region. Chateau Mere is opened in September 2011 near Telavi, the main city of Kakheti, Georgia’s wine-producing region. It is just 1.5 hour (90km/56miles) drive East from Tbilisi. Chateau Mere a 1,500 sqm (16,146sq ft) stone castle with four pointed towers and wood paneled balconies occupies 15,000 square meters (180,000 square yards) of land. Chateau Mere entertains its guests and visitors with a wide range of activities: picking and crashing grapes, learning about wines and cheese making, baking bread, making churchkhelas (fruit leather coated walnuts), riding horses, shopping for local produce, products and hand-crafted gifts. Chateau Mere arranges tastings of the Winiveria fine dry red and white wines from Georgian endemic grape varieties such as Kisi (awarded with the Gold Medal at the 3rd Georgian National Wine Contest in 2010), Khikhvi, Kakhuri Mtsvane, Rkatsiteli and Saperavi. The Mere Restaurant serves Georgian traditional cuisine made from organic food from local produce catered to all pallets. Overnight at the Chateau mere.
Day 3: Today we visit wine cellar of Kakhetian Traditional Winemaking (KTW) tourist center located in village Velistsikhe. KTW was established in the 20th century, though its history began in the late 19th century, in 1880, when talented winemaker Antimoz Chkhaidze acquired a vineyard in Askana, one of the most beautiful villages of Guria in Western Georgia, and continued winemaking using ancient traditional methods in his own wine cellar. His wines became famous even beyond Georgian borders. In 2001, his great-grandson established the company Kakhetian Traditional Winemaking (“KTW”) to emphasize the maintenance and popularization of 8000-year old unique Kakhetian traditions. The name of this ancient Georgian village, situated in eastern Georgia in Kakheti, is Velistsikhe (velis-valley and tsikhe-castle). A huge castle once stood on this rolling, expansive field where the local people took shelter during war. It protected Georgia from the enemy invading from the East. Velistsikhe is mentioned in historical books dating back to the year 1500. There are some historical buildings here, among which is a church from the 5th century. The village elders say that there was a long tunnel dug from the village to Cheremi Ravine. This tunnel was used to evacuate the local people during enemy invasion. In 2010, the church priest discovered the tunnel entrance arch. Archaeologists continue to study it to this day. Velistsikhe is surrounded by the Alazani Valley fruitful vineyards, loaded with amber Rkatsiteli grape clusters. There are long traditions of winemaking in this blessed little region and the best wines are made from the grapes grown on this stretch of the Alazani River’s right bank. Overnight at the hotel in Signagi.
Day 4: Signagi – the city of love… Today we will visit small town named Signagi. It is one of the country’s smallest towns. Signagi’s economy is dominated by the production of wine, traditional carpets and Georgian traditional food. The town and its environs are also known for their landscapes and historical monuments. Signagi has recently undergone a fundamental reconstruction program and has become an important center of Georgia’s tourist industry. Here we also visit Bodbe Monastery. According to Georgian tradition, St. Nino, having witnessed the conversion of Georgians to the Christian faith, withdrew to the Bodbe gorge, in Kakheti, where she died c. 338-340. At the behest of King Mirian III (r. 284-361), a small monastery was built at the place where Nino was buried. The monastery gained particular prominence in the late middle ages. It was particularly favored by the kings of Kakheti who made choice of the monastery as the place of their coronation. Overnight at hotel in Signagi.
Day 5: Lopota resort. Lopota Resort is a spectacular hotel complex located in the Kakheti region of eastern Georgia, 100 km from the capital Tbilisi and 26 km from city of Telavi. A small paradise situated in the beautiful Lopota Valley, the resort offers a recreation zone stretched over one million square meters. The resort boasts a lake surrounded by hotels, two tennis courts, a mini golf court, biking, fishing, water biking, horse riding tours, 3 swimming pools, Jacuzzi, entertainment room, 2 bars, 3 restaurants, a stable, as well as fully-equipped large and small conference hall. Here we will enjoy the wine tour and will be able to discover the world’s oldest wine culture and the unique bouquet, taste the local, organic wines produced by Lopota Resort, from the Qvevri (clay reservoirs) and taste Georgian bread, cheese and churchkhela in the wine cellar. Lopota’s gorgeous lake, inspirational nature and European comfort provide guests with a magical environment, in which to relax and enjoy their time. Overnight at the Lopota hotel.
Day 6: Kvareli. Today we visit The Chavchavadze Museum Wine Celler. Also Gvirabi (which means tunnel in English) is carved in the rock of the Caucasus Mountain Range. The tunnel was opened in 1962 for the World Wine Congress. In the beginning, it belonged to the government and wine from the entire Kakheti region was stored here. Nowadays, it is the “Winery Khareba” cellar, used to age wine. The constant temperature – 12-14 degrees with around 70% humidity all the year round – creates the ideal, natural conditions for wine to age in French oak barrels, as well as to store bottled wines for extended periods. The tunnel consists of two main parallel tunnels and 13 smaller perpendicular ones. The total length of the entire tunnel is 7.7 km. The entrances to the long parallel tunnels have their own functions: the first is for tourists and is used for wine tours, while the second belongs to the industrial part, where the company stores and ages its finest wines in French oak barrels and steel tanks. In 2011, special tour facilities were created around the wine tunnel: a big recreational park, which includes the river and old Qvevries, as well as a Georgian water mill, traditional Georgian bakery “Tone”, a Chacha (grappa) distilling facility, a traditional Georgian Marani (wine cellar) with the Satsnakheli (Georgian traditional wooden grape press) and other cultural sites. Overnight at hotel in Tbilisi.
Day 7: Mtskheta-Gori. Our journey will be continued towards the eastern part of Georgia. We will visit the Uplistsikhe, a rock-hewn city, located just 10 km east of Gori, on the left bank of the river Mtkvari. It is one of the oldest settlements in the Caucasus region and is first mentioned within the pages of history in the VII century. Uplistiskhe and its surrounding archeological and architectural monuments belong to a distinct group, the oldest of which dates back to the early Bronz Age and are considered to be relics of the Kura-Araxes culture, State Museum of Soviet leader Joseph Stalin’s Museum which was founded in 1937 and holds around 60,000 exhibits. The premise of the museum includes a memorial house, where Stalin was born; an exhibition building and Stalin’s personal train wagon, in which he traveled to Tehran, Yalta and Potsdam. The museum also houses Stalin’s personal belongings.
Afterwards our trip continues to Svetitskhoveli Cathedral in Mtskheta, Georgian architectural monument dating back to the XI century, which had been the religious center of the country for hundreds of years. Mtskheta is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It has been inhabited since before 1.000 BC and was once the capital of the early Kingdom of Iberia, (today’s Eastern Georgia). Just 20 km from today’s capital Tbilisi, situated at the confluence of the Mtkvari and Aragvi rivers, the city is located on an ancient trade route. Archaeologists have unearthed evidence of Mtskheta’s status as a major trading post. Glass perfume bottles, Greek and Aramaic writings, pottery, metalwork and jewellery are all found in abundance beneath the ground here, and many examples are on show in the town’s fine Museum.
We will also visit “Chateau Mukhrani”, which is based on the historical tradition of wine-making in Mukhrani region. This is the first and the only true Georgian Royal Chateau, which unites four key components: vineyards, winery, castle and history. In 1512 Mukhrani became the prince’s estate, governed by Bagrationi royal family. Overnight at hotel in Tbilisi.
Day 8:Tbilisi.This day, you will have the opportunity to discover the beautiful city Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia. This is a place where eastern
architecture is intertwined with western, where modern neighboring with retro, where noisy club life flows into aging streets and quiet cafes. The city lies on both banks of the Mtkvari River and is surrounded by mountains from three sides.
Day 9: Departure. Depending on the flight, you will have the free time to explore the city individually and be able to feel the uniqueness of this place.
Kheda Wine Factory Tour
The history of origin of the company linked with the name of the winemaker Antimoz Chkaidze, who founded one of the best wine cellars of the time in the 80-ies of the XIX century in the Gurian village Askana, and originates from a unique variety of wine – “Chkhaveri.” With this special wine variety the winemaker became very famous in Georgia, as well in other European countries.The oldest “kvevri” that has been found in the wine cellar of Antimoz Chkaidze dated by 1880.A visit of a Wine Factory in Keda gives you more clear and interesting information about the wine production in Georgia, expand your knowledge and understanding of the creation of this truly noble drink.(The price includes wine tasting).
Wine – making Cradle
Who doesn’t know the wine? But if you will visit Adjaria you see the nature, which has grown the people in it’s bowels of the earth. You’ll see the castle of “Gonio-Afsarosi”,which was built by the Romens, where in village “Maradidi” was the biggest wine maranis. And when you taste the rare species wine named as “Chkhaveri” you’ll understand,why this land is called as wine-making cradle.
The tour includes: visit to the fortress Gonio- absaros, (visit the Georgian- Turkey border optional), stop at the plexus rivers Chorokhi and Ajaristskhali, visit Ajarian wine house, arched bridge of Queen Tamara, visit Makhumtseti waterfall, dinner at the home winery.
Cook Yourself !
Cook Georgia national dishes by yourself. Acquain the receipt… And the secrets by the help of experienced cooks. Make the Goergian table with national dishes, choose the head of banquet and … Cheer up and get pleasure by the most beautiful sights of he nature.
The tour includes: stop at the plexus rivers Chorokhi and Ajaristskhali, visit Ajarian wine house, arched bridge of Queen Tamara, visit Makhumtseti waterfall, cooking at the home winery.