The wine regions of Georgia
Georgia’s diverse natural conditions create the best environment for the development of high quality viticulture-winemaking according to the peculiarities of which the country’s territory is divided into the following viticulture zones and micro-zones:
Georgia’s primary wine region is the easternmost province of Kakheti (Georgian: kaxeTi) which borders Russia to the northeast and Azerbaijan to the south. The areas further north benefit their closer proximity to the main Caucasus Mountain Range and the cool breezes that flow south. It is drier than the west, benefits irrigation, and is less affected by the Black Sea.
Shida Kakheti / Gare Kakheti
Kakheti’s climate is moderate tending towards subtropical, with hot summers and temperate winters.
Brown forest, carbonated humus and carbonated- alluvial soils, also alluvial forest and damp soils.
VITICULTURE & Winemaking
Approximately 65-70% of all Georgian vineyards are cultivated in the ancient and unique viticulture-winemaking region of Kakheti. Kakheti is the most important Georgian winemaking region. The main growing area straddles both sides of the Alazani River, and hence is called the Alazani Valley.
The best micro-zones are:
Mukuzani / Akhasheni / Khashmi / Kvareli Kondoli / Kindzmarauli / Napareuli Tsinandali / Manavi / Kardanakhi / Tibaani
While the majority of wines are now produced with modern methods, Kakheti has its own, distinctive tradition of Qvevri production. There is no analogy for the traditional Kakhetian wine method in the world. The basic technological process consists in pressing grape in a Satsnakheli (winepress) and pouring the grape must in the Qvevri. After pressing, the whole amount of chacha is added to “tkbili” into Qvevri and for about 10 days is stirred 4 times a day. Stirring is particularly important for even and continuous fermentation, which, normally, lasts for 20-25, or sometimes even 40 days. After completion of alcoholic fermentation the “chacha” (grape skins, stalks and pips) sinks to the bottom and the Qvevris are closed and after malolactic fermentation the Qvevris are closed hermetically. Chacha works as an ideal natural purifier, and over a certain period of time it gives back to the wine many useful features, some of which may become unpleasant if wine is left on the chacha for too long. In March or early April the first racking occurs. After that wine is aged for about a year and systematically controlled.
The wine, made by Kakhetian grape both European and traditional style, characterized by high extraction, a high content of phenolic compounds and tannins, pleasant bouquet, sort-specific aroma and taste.
It can be said with confidence that the past and the future of Georgian winemaking are founded on this very varietal. Saperavi is a Georgian red grape variety, spread throughout all the viticulture districts Kakheti and almost all the regions of Georgia. The culture of making wine from Saperavi today is blooming in Georgia. One can encounter a diversity of wines made from Saperavi-fermented in Qvevri or oak, of various appellations and terroirs. High quality dry red wines are made of Saperavi with high aging potential. It is used for naturally semi-sweet and wonderful rose wines as well.
The micro-zone is situated in Telavi district on the right bank of Alazani River. Vineyards are mainly located within 300-750m above white wines. It is also evidenced by the fact that according to a low from the 1920’s, on the basis of which wines were renamed and given numbers, Tsinandali was called № 1, while Saperavi was №5. Tsinandali sea level. The climate is moderately humid, with hot summer and moderaly cold winter. The main soil types are: loess-type, carbonate, alluvial-proluvial and delluvial origin clay and detritus layers. Tsinandali is made of Rkatsiteli and Mtsvane Kakhuri (85%- 15%). Tsinandali is the flagship of Georgian
Divided into sub-appellations, it is home to 14 of the 24 Protected Designations of Origin (PDOs), such as Tsinandali, Gurjaani, Vazisubani, Manavi, Kardanakhi, Tibaani, Kakheti, Kotekhi, Napareuli, Mukuzani, Teliani, Kindzmarauli, Akhasheni, Kvareli. Among Georgian wines Kakhetian wine expresses soil properties most of all.
Mukizani – is a dry red wine. It is characterized by a dark pomegranate color, full bodied taste, harmonious, velvety, delicate, well-expressed variety specific aromas and bouquet, and high-extract flavors. It is made Saperavi grape variety. The micro-zone is located in Shida Kakheti, Gurjaani district, on the right bank of the Alazani River gorge.
Napareuli – are dry white and dry red wines. The white wine is made of Rkatsiteli and the wine is light straw-colored, with a well-defined bouquet and wild flower tone. The red wine is made of Saperavi and distinguished by dark red color, varietal specific aroma, velvety with well-developed bouquet. The micro-zone is located in the upper part of the Alazani River, on the left bank.
Kindzmarauli – is a naturally semi-sweet red wine. The wine is characterized by a dark garnet red color, harmonious taste with full, velvety, delicate, pleasant sweetness, fruit tones and varietal aroma. The wine is made of Saperavi grape variety. The micro-zone is located in Shida Kakheti, Kvareli region.
Kvareli – is a Dry Red Wine. It is characterized by dark red color, varietal aromas, balance and a distinctive bouquet. It is made of Saperavi grape variety, with complete fermentation with the must. The micro-zone is located in Kakheti, Kvareli region, on the left bank of the Alazani River.
The Key Grape Varieties of the Region:
Mtsvane (Kakhetian Green)