Georgia is considered to be one of the oldest homelands of viticulture in the world. It is proved that wine-making in Georgia has been practiced since the 5th millennium BC. From 4000 BC Georgians were cultivating grapes and burying clay vessels, “kvevri”, in which to store their wine ready for serving at perfect ground temperature. Vine growing is one of the ancient branches of economic activities of people in Georgia. Although there are nearly 400 to choose from, only 38 varieties are officially grown for commercial viticulture in Georgia Traditional Georgian grape varieties are little known in the West. Now that the wines of Eastern and Central Europe are coming to international awareness, grapes from this region are becoming better known. When it comes to wine in Georgia, no place is more representative of Georgian wine culture than Kakheti. Tucked at the feet of the great Caucasus Mountains and with wide, sun-drenched plains, Kakheti is a wine growers dream. It is here that the Georgian wine renaissance has found its stride and where a handful of boutique wineries and some larger ones, as well, are putting Georgia back on the global wine map.
DAY 1. TBILISI
Arrival at the Tbilisi International Airport. Transfer to the hotel. Time at leisure. We will visit the Old Tbilisi. Established more than 1500 years ago it is known that the first settlers arrived much earlier. The course of its history has been hard and never smooth.
Tbilisi is a multicultural city. It is the home for more than 100 different ethnic groups. The architecture in the city is a mixture of local (Georgian), with strong influences of Byzantine, European/Russian (neo-classical), and Middle Eastern architectural styles. Tbilisi has a great number of important landmarks and sightseeing locations: churches, museums, and parks.
You will visit the oldest and the most important temple in Tbilisi. Metekhi Church is erected on the cliff, overlooking the Mtkvari River. There is a statue of King Vakhtang Gorgaslani, founder of Tbilisi, in front of the church.
Ascending by cable car to the Narikala Fortress – the heart and soul of Tbilisi. The fortress was established in the 4th century. An old odd masonry of its walls, observation towers and winding narrow paths, all tells about the antiquity of the building.
After our walk we’ll have a traditional Georgian dinner at one of Tbilisi’s best restaurants.
Overnight in Tbilisi.
DAY 2. Tbilisi – Bodbe – Sighnaghi
After breakfast and check-out, we’ll head to Kakheti, Georgia’s eastern-most province. Kakheti is the heartland of Georgia’s traditional wine culture, where most families keep a wine cellar where they make their own wine using the traditional in-ground, wax-lined, clay jar or qvevri.
Thereafter, we’ll head to Sighnaghi and one of Georgia’s most acclaimed new boutique wineries – Pheasant’s Tears. Here we’ll try 4 different varieties of their organic wine sand a special sort of chacha with bread and cheese. While at Pheasant’s Tears we’ll have master classes in preparing whatever is their traditional Georgian dish of the day, which will be followed by lunch in their beautiful restaurant.
After lunch we’ll continue on to Bodbeand The Church of St. George, which houses the remains of Nino of Cappadocia–the 4th century evangelist who introduced Christianity to Georgia. Next we’ll head back to Sighnaghi, where we’ll tour this incredibly romantic city which overlooks theAlazani Valley and the Kvareli Mountains. Along the way we’ll visit an ethnographic museum with unique medieval artifacts and 16 paintings from the famous Georgian artist NikoPirosmani (Pirosmanishvili). This will be followed by a visit to The Carpet Housewhere guests will see the ancient Georgian weaving traditions oftheTusheti region.
After a brief rest, we’ll head out for a traditional dinner at one of the best restaurants of Sighnaghi.
Overnight in Sighnaghi.
DAY 3. Sighnaghi - Tsinandali -Napareuli - Telavi
After breakfast and check-out, we’ll drive to the micro-zone of Tsinandali, perhaps the epicenter of Kakheti’s wine culture.Here we’ll visit the estate of Alexander Chavchavadze.Chavchavadze built a winery where he combined European and Georgian winemaking techniques. The estate includes a beautiful garden and wine cellar, where we’ll taste 5 different premium wines including a dry white wine from the Rkatsiteli grape.
Thereafter we head in the village of Napareouli, where we will have dinner and savour the wine of the cellar «an Old Basement of the Twins», who restored the hereditary cellar in Kakhetii, in the village of Napareouli. They raised once again the vine stock and restored forgotten tradition, creation by «Bio of wine» in containers in the loam. Best кахетинские white and red wines are made in this cellar. Will take part in preparing churchkhela, will bake bread by yourself in bakery with Georgian traditions and will fry delicious Kakhetian Barbeku.
Then our way will be in Telavi – the centre of the region of Kakheti. On the way we will visit the monastic cellar in the cathedral of Alaverdi (the 11th century) – the object of the worldwide Heritage of the UNESCO. Notably here still at the beginning of the 8th century the monks produced the wine.
After a rest, we’ll have dinner and more wine tasting at Chateau Mere,one of the best restaurants and boutique wineries in Shuamta. With its stunning views, bohemian atmosphere, and incredible Saperavi wines that are winning world-wide acclaim, the evening Chateau Mere will be truly memorable.
Overnight in Telavi
DAY 4. Telavi – Kvareli – Tbilisi
After breakfast and check-out we’ll drive to the Kvareli micro-zone, located in the Alazani Valley. The famous Georgian wine “Kindzmarauli” is produced in Kvareli. Therewe will visit the winery warehouse “Khareba”, which resides in a tunnel carved into the rock. In the beginning, the tunnel had a military purpose. It was built in the late 1950s, but the rapid development of military technologies weakened defensive functions of the tunnel and its use in military affairs has lost all meaning. In consequence, the tunnel became a unique storage of the best wines of Kakheti. Here is located wine Warehouse, where are stored 25000 bottles of the best wines. Here will take place degustation of wine and chacha of 7 varieties which will be followed by lunch in beautiful restaurant.
Transfer to Tbilisi. We’ll have a traditional Georgian dinner at one of Tbilisi’s best restaurants.
Day 5. Departure.
Breakfast at the hotel. Purchase of souvenirs. Transfer to the airport.
The price per person $ US Dollars
Price Includes: Transfers, Transport throughout all round, Accommodation in Tbilisi (2 nights), Telavi (1), Sighnaghi (1). Breakfast (4), Insurance, Services of the guide.
Not included: Air Tickets. Meals and Drinks not mentioned in the program.