It is impossible to dissociate the history of wine from that of Georgia and this part of the world. All the archaeologists who work on this subject agree that the origin of viticulture is located in the Caucasus in a triangle composed today of Armenia, northeastern Turkey and of course Georgia which would be its cradle. In 2017, Canadian and Georgian researchers were able to date the remains found in a Neolithic proto-cave in Gadachrili Gora and Shulaveris Gora, about fifty kilometers from Tbilisi. The traces of tartaric acid, the chemical signature of grapes and wine, recovered in jars dated 8,100 years ago are clear!

The combination of archaeological, chemical, botanical, climatic and dating data shows that the vine variety Vitis vinifera was abundant around the two excavation sites in Georgia.

Imagine the long road before going from wild vines to domesticated vines. These latest archaeological finds allow us to imagine that the first steps of viticulture are even much older…

What was decisive in the history of wine in Georgia was the use of terracotta to age the wine and preserve it either by serendipity or by long experimentation. Better yet, it is to have buried these jars in the earth, allowing not only ideal thermo-regulation but also perfect micro-oxygenation which still allows today the blossoming of superb natural wines that the whole world envies. . International orders from winegrowers, some of whom are very renowned, for these earthenware jars, the Qvévris (listed as UNESCO intangible heritage), continue unabated!

Le vin est né en Géorgie
Le vin est né en Géorgie

Despite the damage of 70 years of Sovietization which had reduced production to a few grape varieties to favor yield over diversity, our small country cultivates more than 540 varieties of grapes that the new generation of winegrowers is updating with great passion. Every year, new grape varieties are discovered and used to produce new wines that no one knows about. It’s a fascinating story of reconquest and nuggets are unearthed!

The main grape varieties in Georgia

White grape varieties: Rkatsiteli, Mtsvane Kakhuri, Khikhvi, Kisi, Kakhuri Mtsvivani, Chinuri, Goruli Mtsvane, Tsolikouri, Tsitska, Krakhuna, Rachuli Tetra, Sakmiela, Avasirkhva.

Red grape varieties: Saperavi, Tavkveri, Otskhanuri Sapere, Shavkapito, Alekhandrouli, Mujuretuli, Dzelshavi, Usakhelouri, Orbeluri Ojaleshi, Ojaleshi, Chkhaveri.

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 aromas of plums, spices and almonds. In the Kakheti region, you will also discover the delicious, naturally formed semi-sweet wines of Kindzmarauli and Akhasheni.

The products of the harvest do not only produce wine. Grape pomace is a base for chacha, a very strong Georgian brandy. Pelamushi and shurchkhela, natural Georgian sweets, are made from grape juice and flour.

We selected, or rather, they imposed themselves on us, the most interesting winegrowers. Essentially those who produce in a traditional way. There are of course producers who work in vats or barrels who also offer excellent wines.

We always include tastings during our tours. These are also done with our “favorite” winegrowers but we also organize more professional meetings where the discussions will be more technical. We can also introduce you to Jarre/Qvevri artisans and manufacturers. Consult us!

To find out more about Georgian wines:

Le vin est né en Géorgie
Vignoble de Géorgie