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:
Guria is a small, very independently minded, region at the south-western edge of Georgia, its land sloping down to the coast. The Lesser Caucasus Mountains form its south-eastern barrier and the Black Sea that in the west. Samegrelo (Georgian: samegrelo) is a historic province in the western part of Georgia. In English it has also been historically known as Mingrelia. Samegrelo is bordered by the secessionist region of Apkhazeti to the north-west, Svaneti to the Guria-Samegrelo north, Imereti to the east, Guria to the south and the Black Sea to the west.
Guria is humid across its subtropical seashore as well as in the mountainous east of the region. The lowlands of Guria, where the elevation is 200m above sea level, is also humid. Winter in Guria is mild, while the summer is hot. This region is also characterized by high winds. The climate in Samegrelo is generally humid, being subtropical, the slopes approaching the foothills, of the Upper Caucasus offer good growing areas for wines. Here the height sea level, lower rainfall and dry eastern winds reduce the humidity.
In Mingrelia’s most important viticulture and wine-making areas, the soil is either largely chalky limestone (upper reaches of the Tekhura and Abasha river valleys), rich in marl, mostly alluvial in the lowlands, mixed with stones washed down by rivers, rich in sand, clayey or clayey and sandy mixed with stones, as well as carbonaceous. The soil in the mountain foothills is mostly carbonaceous atop a bed of marl and quite gravelly, with exposed limestone and marl
VITICULTURE & Winemaking
Within Georgia, the Guria-Samegrelo region supposedly represents the most archaic seat of winemaking. The first references we have from historical sources are on Kolkheti. The current winemaking history of these two districts is linked with two foreigners: Scottish Jacob Mar in Guria, and French Achille Murat in Samegrelo. In the 20s of the 19th century Jacob Mar settled in Bukistsikhe (Chokhatauri district) and made wines cultivated in high vineyards Jani, Skhilatubani and Mtevandidi. Achille Murat was one of the first who organized in Georgia a European-style enterprise. Ojaleshi made by Achille Murat and Krakhuna grape variety brought Imereti and cultivated was famous. Something that distinguishes these places from the rest of the country is the culture of vine cultivation, which was almost fully dependent on Maghlari up to the 19th C, which is to say that grapes here grew climbing threes. Harvest in these regions historically started quite late-in November and sometimes lasted till the end of January.
The Key Grape Varieties of the Region: