Georgia is a country with great history and wine-making tradition, which is 8000years old, considering the fact that only in 2017 archeologists found during an excavation qveri fragments with wine traces. What is qveri? Qveri is a clay pot, used in fermenting and ageing red wines, but whites also, mainly in the Kakheti region. Moving west in the country, these pots are also known as churi.
The country is “divided” in 10 wider winemaking regions, Abkhazia, Samegrelo, Guria, Adjara, which are in the western part of the country, “wet” by the Black Sea. Heading east, we meet Imereti, Meskheti, Lechkhumi, Racha, Kartli, and last but not least, the most famous, Kakheti, which produces almost 75% of the total national production. There are 18 official “denomination of origin”, where grape varieties, planting density and yields are controlled by authorities. Wine production is dedicated to indigenous grapes, from a total of 500, we come across 40 of them. In the chart below, we can see the “denominations of origin”, the wider area they can be found, the styles produced and the allowed grape varieties.
The two most important and most planted varietities are Rkatsiteli and Saperavi, but this does not mean that we do not find surprising examples from other more rare varieties. Some of the white varieties that impress with their dynamics are Tsitska which we find mainly in the western part of the country, the floral Kisi and the extremely rare Khikhvi. There are also red varieties, which are capable of steal the show, even of the most demanding and well-trained wine lover, like the exotic and floral Takveri, the almost under extinction since recently Shavkapito and the “flexible” Chakhaveri. Almost every variety is vinificated and aged either in qveri, or in a barel, or in a tank depending on the approach of each producer and of course there are color and taste deviations depending on the mean to be used. But where we find something unique and familiar at the same time, for a large wine-loving audience, are the so-called “orange wines” or as Georgian producers prefer to write on their labels, “amber wines”, are white wines that have remained with the lees , the seeds and stalks of the marcs up to a year in qvevri.
The wines acquire a golden color, tannins and a characteristic aroma likes quince, hay and chamomile.
In conclusion, I must admit that returning from my recent trip to Georgia, I look forward to visiting her again to discover even more wineries and re-try her unique wines.