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:
The region of Racha-Lechkhumi also officially includes Kvemo (lower) Svaneti. This north-western region is the most sparsely populated in Georgia, situated in the midst of the awe-inspiring Caucasus. This region borders Russian territory to the north and the Georgian regions of Samegrelo and Imereti to the west and south. It lies in the soaring mountains, high meadows and green valleys of the Greater Caucasus, its elevation ranging between 400-5000m asl.
Racha / Lechkhumi
Winters in Racha-Lechkhumi are typically cold and long with permanent ice and snow in the high mountains. The average temperature in January around the settlements of Oni and Ambrolauri drop to between -2°C and -1°C while the average temperature in July typically reaches between 19 °C and 21°C. Tvishi micro-zone climate provides high sugar content and acidity in Imeretian grape variety Tsolikouri, and exactly this micro-zone Tsolikouri is made naturally semi-sweet white wine Tvishi
The main types of soil in Racha-Lechkhumi are carbonaceous humus, clay soils, lime soils, clay mixed with flint and sandy clay.
VITICULTURE & Winemaking
This most beautiful region of Georgia is also distinguished by its unique wines. Compared to Kakheti, vineyards are grown here on quite a small territory (approximately 1600 ha), however Racha-Lechkhumi differs from all other regions with its high quality grapes and extremely deep, interesting wines. Racha – Lechkhumi is distinguished other regions by scarcity of vineyards and rare grape varieties. The vineyards here are grown mostly on the slopes of River Rioni gorge. The lower Racha is renowned for Khvanchkara micro-zone. Main micro-zones of Lechkhumi district are: Tsageri, Orbeli, Alpana- Tvishi, Zubi-Okureshi. Among the most notable wines from Racha – Lechkhumi are Khvanchkara and Usakhelouri.
PDO Wines / PDO Khvanchkara:
The naturally semisweet wine Khvanchkara is particularly famous and has been produced with this name since 1932, but in 19th century it was called Kipiani’s Wine. Today Khvanchkara is produced from a blend of two varieties – Aleksandrouli and Mujuretuli.
PDO Wines / PDO Tvishi:
The Imeretian variety Tsolikouri produces special results in Tvishi village, in the Tsageri District of Lechkhumi. The semi-sweet white wine made of it shines with gold and has extremely refined flavors of peach and melon. In spite of the fact that Tvishi became an appellation wine quite late (bottling of it started in 1952), it is very popular in Georgia and beyond.
The Key Grape Varieties of the Region: