Eastern Georgia Wine Tour

3
Days
Tbilisi, Sighnaghi, Gurjaani, Tsinandali, Kvareli, Napareuli, Telavi, Ikalto

Kakheti Region of eastern Georgia is a wine connoisseur’s dream. Hundreds of grape varieties and dozens of unique wines, each produced using ancient methods and family secrets, have made Kakheti’s name synonymous with Georgian winemaking. With vineyards sure to satisfy the palate of anyone fortunate enough to taste their heavenly potions and gorgeous country vistas perfected by medieval bell towers and turrets, a trip to Kakheti is sure to satisfy.
The Eastern Georgia Wine Tour is an unforgettable three day getaway to the winemaking capital of Georgia for wine tasting in Tsinindali and Ikalto, castle and monastery tours in Telavi, Sighnaghi and Gurjaani, museum visits in Napareuli and Kvareli and winery tours all along the way! Come prepared to enjoy rich local flavors, heighten your appreciation for Georgian history and be refreshed in the peaceful environs of Kakheti’s vineyards and valleys.

In the morning your guide and driver will pick you up from your Tbilisi hotel. Depart the capital and drive through picturesque landscapes to Kakheti Region (95km, 1hr 30min), the regional wine capital located in Eastern Georgia:

  • On the way visit Chailuri Fortress (16th century), a forlorn military outpost whose origins remain a mystery.
  • Continue to Sighnaghi, a small Silk Road town in east Kakheti surrounded by defensive walls and 23 towers. Walk the narrow cobblestone streets of this outpost known locally as The City of Love.
  • Explore the Bodbe Monastery Complex (9th century). Also known as St. George’s Monastery, it’s one of Georgia’s most significant religious sites, for St. Nino, credited with converting Georgia to Christianity in the 4th century, is believed to be buried here.
  • Visit Gurjaani Kvelatsminda Church (9-17thcenturies), a unique monument of medieval Georgian architecture and the only church in Georgia bearing two cupolas.
  • Drive to Tsinandali to enjoy lunch and wine tasting at Shumi Georgian Winery and Museum, an ancient winery that produces exclusive wines and boasts of a unique collection of Georgian and European varieties. All wines are made according to traditional qvevri winemaking methods in centuries-old qvevri vessels.
  • Tour the adjacent Tsinandali Estate, a historical complex which includes a lovely garden and the House Museum of Prince Alexander Chavchavadze, the 19th century poet and stateman who developed the manor.
Check in to the hotel. Overnight in Tsinandali.
Meals Provided: lunch, wine tasting

After breakfast, continue your tour of Kakheti:

  • Drive to Kindzmarauli Corporation Wine Factory for a tour of their facilities, which use a blend of traditional and modern techniques.
  • Continue to the Kvareli State Museum, which includes living quarters and a house museum of the 19th century nobleman Ilia Chavchavadze, a winery and an exposition hall.
  • Relax at nearby Ilia Lake, whose calming blue waters are accentuated by the Caucasus peaks that surround it.
  • Continue to Khareba Winery, where wine tasting and a master class on how to prepare the national sweet churchkhela await you. A unique wine cellar located in a rock tunnel, it was originally built for military purposes but today is used to store Khareba’s finest wines.
  • Drive on to Nekresi (6th century), an archaeological site in the foothills of the Greater Caucasus Mountains and an active monastery even today.
  • Discover Gremi Archangel Complex (16th century), center of the Kakhetian Kingdom in the 16th- 17th centuries and one of the most visited tourist points in Georgia. Explore what remains of the old city and climb to the top of the castle to enjoy the panoramic view.
  • Travel to the village of Napareuli to tour the Qvevri Wine Museum, where you’ll learn how local qvevri wine is made. See the adjoining Twins Wine Cellar, a private winery with vineyards and exclusive wines.
End the day with a drive through picturesque valleys to Telavi, capital of Kakheti Region. Upon arrival, check in to the hotel. Overnight in Telavi.
Meals Provided: breakfast, lunch, wine tasting

After breakfast, continue your wine tour:

  • Take a short walking tour through Telavi’s charming streets, stopping for photos with the 900-year-old Giant Plane Tree and a monument of Irakli II, king of Kakheti in the 18th century.
  • Visit Batonis Tsikhe Castle (17th-18th centuries), one of Georgia’s most well-preserved examples of medieval architecture that includes fortress walls, a castle, tunnel, bathhouse and churches.
  • Tour Ikalto Monastery (6th century) an ancient academy famous for the fact that Shota Rustaveli, the outstanding Georgian poet of the 12th century, used to study here.
  • Drive to Lekso’s Marani Winery, a private winery where you’ll tour a traditional Georgian wine cellar and taste various wines produced according to the traditional qvevri method of burying wine in clay vessels.
  • Head to Alaverdi Monastery (11th century), located at the foot of the Caucasus Mountains and founded by the Assyrian monk Joseph Alaverdi.
  • Tour Akhali Shuamta Monastery Complex (5th-16th centuries), site of two monasteries built at separate times in history and reflecting two distinct architectural styles. The newer monastery, which includes a bell tower, now serves as an active nunnery.
Drive to Tbilisi via the Gombori Pass (95km, 1hr 30min), enjoying fantastic views of the countryside. Before arriving to the capital, you will see one last sight: Ujarma Fortress (3rd century), which King Vakhtang Gorgasali once used for his private living quarters.
Arrive in Tbilisi. End of Eastern Georgia Wine Tour.
Meals Provided: breakfast, lunch, wine tasting

Price includes:

  • Private, local guide;
  • Entrance fees to the sights and wineries as per itinerary;
  • Wine tasting at Shumi Winery, Khareba Winery and Lekso’s Marani Winery;
  • Accommodation in a double/twin room in 3-star hotels with breakfast (2 nights);
  • Mineral water (1 liter per person per day);
  • Transportation throughout the tour.

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