Georgia was officially recognized as the cradle of wine after archaeological artifacts discovered on Georgian territory proved that wine has been cultivated in the land for at least 8000 years. Georgian wines have since evolved into a central element of the culture and one of the main symbols of the country.
Ancient Georgians invented a unique winemaking method which involves fermenting and storing wine in a huge clay vessel called a qvevri, a method that is now included in UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage List. From the rarest, most expensive Georgian wine down to more common varieties, the distinct flavor gleaned from the Georgian vine has been well-preserved up to this day.
Georgia has an ideal climate and landscape for producing premium wines. In various micro zones of the country, unique and unusual varieties of grapes are grown. Quite often, two branches from the same grape vine, planted on opposite slopes of the same hill, will yield different types of wine. This diversity has led to more than 500 wine sorts that are uniquely indigenous to Georgia. The majority of these 500+ varieties are grown in limited amounts, however, and only a few of them are used for commercial purposes.
Rkatsiteli is one of the oldest and most widespread varieties of Georgian grape. Originating in the Kakheti Region of Georgia, a white wine of noticeable acidity is produced from Rkatsiteli. In combination with other grapes, Rkatsiteli forms the basis for famous wine brands such as Tibaani, Tsinandali and Alazani Valley. Rkatsiteli is also the most popular homemade wine in Georgia, and locals particularly love drinking Rkatsiteli during a traditional supra feast. Less commonly, Rkatsiteli forms the basis for a Georgian orange wine.
Saperavi is one of the most popular bases for red Georgian wine. Saperavi grapes yield a wine with an intense, dark red color and a harmonious taste. Kindzmarauli, Akhasheni and Mukuzani wine are all famous brands manufactured from the Saperavi grape.
Khvanchkara is one of the most unique Georgian wines, produced by blending two varieties of grapes, Alexandrouli and Mujuretuli. These types grow only in the tiny village of Khvanchkara, located in Georgia’s Racha-Lechkhumi Region, from which the wine also derived its name. Khvanchkara is a semi-sweet, ruby red wine that has a distinctive taste and flavor.
Tsolikouri is representative of West Georgian viticulture. From the Tsolikouri grape variety, premium-class, semi-dry and semi-sweet white wines are produced. The most famous of these are Tvishi, Kolkheti and Sviri.