Georgian Wine – a guide to one of the oldest wine cultures in the world!

Georgian Wine - One of the Worlds oldest Wine Cultures! Gaumarjos!

Wine from the Georgian region is one of the oldest wine regions in the world. Georgian wine culture is approximately 8000 years old! Wine is hereby a huge part of Georgian culture and national identity. The ancient Georgian methods of creating wine, using kvevri clay jars, is a part of UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage List.

Types of Georgian wine – more than you might know

Georgian wine has huge varieties. Only the Georgian grapes counts up to 400 different types, 38 of them being official grown in Georgia. The wines are categories in the traditional red, white and fortified wines. Furthermore, there are three different wine styles in Georgia.  Khvanchakara, Lelo and Akhasheni.

  • Khvanchakara
    • Josef Stalins favorite wine. No joke! Semi-sweet red wine, about 10,5-12% alcohol. Produced in the Khvanchakara vineyard in Racha region.
  • Lelo
    • Type of port wine, about 19% alcohol. Fruity aroma, golden colour.
  • Akhasheni
    • Semi-sweet wine red wine, about 10,5-12% alcohol. From the Akhasheni vineyard in the Kakheti region.

Wine regions of Georgia

There are five main wine regions in Georgia, covering the whole country.

  • Kakheti – the biggest wine district, producing about 70% of all the wine from Georgia.
  • Imereti,
  • Adjara,
  • Kartli and,
  • Racha-Lechkhumi and Kvemo Svaneti

In Georgia, it is tradition to name the source of the region, district and village that produces the wine. Like France wine culture. Georgian wine is also generally a blend of two or more grapes.

Kvevri clay jars – The old Georgian method of producing wine

Traditional Georgian wine use kvevri clay jars to ferment, storage and ageing. The jars varies in size, some from 20 liters to 10,000 – whereas 800 liters are the most used size. These clay jars date back to the 6th millenium B.C. in a region of Georgia, Kvemo Kartli, by archaeological finds.

The method of producing wine in a kvevri is as follows. First you press the collected grapes, pour the grape juice, skin and pips (seeds) into the kvevri and seal it. The juice of the sealed kvevri is now left for fermentation for at least five to six months. The rest or leftovers (skin, mush and pips) is chacha. The chacha leftovers will is distilled into brandy which is … Chacha. The kvevri is now cleaned and sterilized (with citrus fruits) and ready for a new round.

Enjoy Georgian wine!

In Georgia, wine is available everywhere. In kiosks, supermarkeds, wine shops and in markets. In many places you can come with your own bottle (plastic, drinking bottle – they don’t care) and fill up x-amount. Enjoy it wherever you are in Georgia. Whether you are at a guesthouse with a home made meal, at a restaurant, by the stone beach or up in the mountains. Gaumarjos!

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