If you’re keen on wine and Georgia hasn’t made your journey bucket listing but, all I can say is – you tousled. Thankfully, it’s by no means too late to alter that. Because Georgian wine is – and has been – having a second. In 2021 alone, Georgia exported 107 million bottles of wine to 62 international locations worldwide.
About 70% of Georgia’s grapes come from one area specifically. An space the place about 200 grape varietals, together with Rkatsiteli, Kakhetian Mtsvane, Khikhvi, Kisi, and Saperavi, might be discovered and the place wine-making traditions date again 8,000 years.
But it isn’t simply wine that pulls individuals to Kakheti. Kakheti’s distinctive pure panorama, historic fortresses and towers, alpine lakes, and hidden waterfalls add to the attraction. Toss in some world-class inns, a classical music competition that isn’t to be missed, and a few of the friendliest locals you’ll discover anyplace, and also you’ve obtained your self a wealthy, lovely place to spend just a few days in Georgia.
Kakheti is a kind of locations that leaves a mark on you. Or at the very least a hangover.
Almost two hours by automotive from Tbilisi, over the typically treacherous Gombori move, or the great distance round with a detour by Sighnaghi, you end up within the coronary heart of Georgian wine nation. Here’s what to find out about Kakheti, Georgia’s well-known wine area, earlier than you go.
Where to Stay in Kakheti
While wine is the principle attraction in Kakheti, these three inns are standouts within the area.
Tsinandali Estate isn’t only a resort. It’s an expertise. And entering into Prince Alexander Chavchavadze’s private wine cellar is proof of that. A cellar that is residence to greater than 15,000 bottles of wine courting again to 1814.
During a keep on the resort, you’ll want to additionally go to the Tsinandali Palace Museum of Prince Alexander Chavchavadze and see how the household lived earlier than studying much more about how they began making wine of their very own greater than 230 years in the past. The Estate is filled with historical past and attract that’s unmatchable to another expertise in Georgia.
Tip: The Tsinandali Festival, held every September, is likely one of the finest classical music festivals globally and isn’t to be missed.
One of the latest inns to open in Telavi, Communal Hotel is a 12-room boutique-style resort set within the coronary heart of Telavi, Kakheti’s capital metropolis.
With a restricted variety of rooms, every with its personal distinctive contact – from claw-footed bathtubs to balcony’s overlooking the cobblestone road beneath – the vibe at Communal is as wine, dine, and unwind because it will get. In the summer time months, the resort’s pool is a good place to flee the warmth, whereas the restaurant’s Georgian breakfast unfold is the very best you’ll discover this aspect of the Alazani.
Tip: You received’t discover a higher breakfast than the one served within the resort’s restaurant, Doli.
From the wine to the meals and the brews, few locations in Sighnaghi ship an expertise just like the one at Lost Ridge Inn. With each element fastidiously curated and each meal much more considerate than the final, there’s all the time one thing to see, do, and eat throughout a go to.
Take a horse trip by the encircling hills or spend time with the brewmaster earlier than exploring the encircling vineyards and tasting rooms, together with those beneath.
Tip: Even although that is wine area, the Inn’s micro-brewed beers are one of many highlights of staying right here. Book the Archeological Suite for an much more particular expertise.
The Best Wine Tastings in Kakheti
While you possibly can’t go fallacious with any wine tasting in Kakheti, these are those that aren’t to be missed. Whether you’re in search of a family-run expertise or to study extra about the very best pure wines within the nation, these locations have all of it lined.
Overlooking the winery and with the Greater Caucasus Mountains looming within the distance, the Crazy Pomegranate Vineyard and Tasting Room is likely one of the high experiences for anybody thinking about studying extra about pure winemaking. Ask questions on Georgia’s distinctive qvevri vessels (the standard clay pots Georgians have been making wine in for hundreds of years) and pair the expertise with foraged and native ingredient-highlighted dishes that can have you ever wanting to maneuver to Georgia very quickly.
Tip: If you’re touring in a small group and unable to fulfill the 10-person minimal at Crazy Pomegranate, go to Pheasant’s Tears Restaurant in Sighnaghi as an alternative.
It isn’t simply the wine at Togonidze’s that can have your jaw on the ground. The Asian-Georgian fusion of meals, plus the artwork in every single place you look, will go away you delighted and curious for extra. And that’s what brings individuals again to Togonidze’s time and time once more – there’s additionally one thing new to style and see.
Spend the afternoon with the husband and spouse duo who run the wine tastings, and end your evening by stopping into Marleta’s Farm, the place you possibly can proceed ingesting Gia Togonidze’s wine, however this time paired with European-style cheeses.
Tip: Gia Togonidze is fluent in German along with Georgian. Hire an English-speaking translator (and driver) to get the complete expertise.
There are sure locations the place you stroll in and instantly really feel like household. This is one in all them. Warm, welcoming, and with peak Georgian hospitality, sip on wine within the marani (wine cellar) backyard and help to the women within the open kitchen. Dine over a standard Blue Supra tablecloth and study not nearly wine – however this area’s distinctive historical past from the individuals whose households have referred to as this area residence for generations.
Tip: History lovers will significantly take pleasure in this 20th century Kakheti model chateau museum.
Bonus: Walk Off Your Hangover with a Local Nature Activist
Wine, dine, and rewind. But not with out a little hike in nature someplace in between. Don’t fear – there’s nonetheless some home made wine ready for you on the finish of this stroll.
Take a Nature Walk with NaturHistorium Founder Kakhaber Sukhitashvili
Kakhaber Sukhitashvili is on a mission to make ecological-based tourism extra accessible and sustainable for the communities within the area that might profit from it probably the most by serving to them develop and perceive the significance of the areas they name residence.
Choose from a number of strolling itineraries and spend the morning exploring historic ruins and wineries that date again lots of – if not 1000’s – of years. There could even be some home made wine, regionally sourced honey, and contemporary puri (bread) ready for you on the finish of the hike.
Tip: Sukhitashvili works with native “ambassadors” in each village and space he works in. Bring a small reward to alternate with this native ambassador who will certainly load you up with home made wine and honey (or different small goodies) upon your departure.