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The Best Vineyards and Wineries in Georgia

Lauren Hill

Contributor

With evidence of winemaking going back to 6,000 BCE, Georgia is believed to be the world’s oldest wine-producing country. More than 500 endemic grape varieties are said to grow here and traditional methods, including the use of stone presses and clay pots known as qvevri, are still used by vintners today. Driven by the realisation this winemaking identity is now a cultural asset, the country has seen its wine tourism steadily grow over the years. Organised tours will take you to prominent wine-producing regions such as Kakheti and many of the country’s wineries host independent visits. Read on to discover some of the top vineyards and wineries worth seeking out.

Chateau Mere, Kakheti

Chateau Mere lies within the forested landscape outside Kakheti’s main city, Telavi. Visitors to this hotel and winery featuring three restaurants and two outdoor pools are introduced to Georgian winemaking traditions through tours, tastings and immersive winemaking experiences. Crush grapes in the boat-shaped wooden vessel known as Satsnakheli and bottle your own wine with a personalised label. You can also take culinary classes, go horseback riding and take in the panoramic views this mansion affords of the Alazani Valley and Caucasus mountains.

Winery Khareba, Kakheti

This popular winery in the Alazani Valley is famous for its unique wine cellars taking up several kilometres of tunnels. These tunnels were carved out of the hillside in 1962 in order to store and age wine at just the right temperature. Now, this network is said to store more than 25,000 bottles of Khareba-produced wine. As well as touring these atmospheric tunnels and tasting the wine that’s produced here, you can try traditional Georgian cuisine in the winery’s restaurant and look around the site’s Georgian-style water mill, traditional bakery and distillery.

Chateau Mukhrani, Mukhrani

A site that combines winemaking tradition with Georgian history, this royal castle featuring cellars, vineyards and gardens gives visitors the chance to tour the estate while gaining insight into the history of the Georgian royal family and finding out about the traditions in making wine. Make the most of your visit by strolling through the vineyards, visiting the winery and trying local dishes in the restaurant, Samepo Marani 1878. More time can be spent taking part in culinary master classes and setting out on Arabian horse riding tours. This estate is close to Tbilisi.

Twins Wine Cellar, Kakheti

Experience Georgia’s centuries-old winemaking traditions by visiting this winery in the village of Napareuli. Step into the winery’s insightful Qvevri Wine Museum, sign up for a tasting of the wine — visiting cellars both old and new — and try the Georgian vodka chacha is the onsite distillery. To get more hands-on, you can learn how to make the Georgian culinary specialities such as the dumplings known as khinkali and, if you’re visiting in September, you can participate in the grape harvest.

Tsinandali Estate, Kakheti

Tsinandali is a site of cultural significance. The founder of Georgian romanticism, Prince Alexander Chavchavadze, made this estate a cultural centre for the country, and to this day it hosts exhibitions, events and master classes. Altogether, the estate encompasses a memorial house, landscape gardens and hotel, plus of course a wine cellar and historic winery — this is even said to be where Georgian wine was first bottled. The collection of vintages here consists of more than 15,000 bottles, which date as far back as 1814. Combine a visit of the estate’s park and museum with a wine tasting session.

Alaverdi Monastery, Kakheti

History dating back to the 6th century has given Alaverdi its place on the country’s tourist map. As well as being a historic landmark, this monastery houses a remarkable cellar dating back many centuries. While there isn’t much remaining of the cellar built in 1011, the cellar you now see was renovated and installed with qvevris back in 2006 to bring back the site’s tradition of producing wine. From that moment, the resident monks started making wine using grapes cultivated on a plot of land next to the cathedral. The cellar is currently closed for renovation work but you can still tour the ancient site to see some of Georgia’s winemaking history.

Pheasant’s Tears Winery, Kakheti

Pheasant’s Tears is representative of Georgia’s contemporary wine scene, which embraces both evolution and tradition. The 2007 founded winery, which lies within the village of Sighnaghi in the mountainous eastern Kakheti region, focuses on the production of artisanal natural wines using ancient methods. The winery’s cellar is built into the vineyards to reduce transportation and qvevri are used to ferment and age the wine. Tastings are offered in the restaurant, along with dishes that put a creative spin on Georgian classics.

Teliani Valley Winery, Kakheti

Another winery combining innovation with tradition, Teliani Valley draws on Georgian winemaking heritage while utilising the latest winemaking technology, producing wines from local grape varieties in a modern ‘wine factory’. As a result, they’ve garnered awards far and wide. A tour of the winery goes into the history of Georgian winemaking and stages of wine-production. Visit during the harvest for grape picking and harvest celebrations.

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