This wonderful region is located in East part of Georgia where snowy mountains of Caucasus and wonderful fields and valleys stand side by side. The diverse natural landscape is organically joined with the unique samples of Georgian architecture. British publication (The Telegraph) published the following rating: “10 extraordinary places of the world about which you have never heard,” where fifth place is occupied by Kakheti. And you, when being full with emotions seeing nature of Kakheti, find yourself at Kakhetian trapeze, taste Kakhetian wine and listen to Kakhetian folk songs, will once again assured that you are at wonderful place.
Kakhetian wine – Kakheti is one of the oldest hearths of vine- and wine-growing. Archaeologists certify that vine was cultivated here 8 thousand years ago. Since then during centuries the native type of table wine was created and established, which is rather different from the existing types of wine. Here at about 80 species of vine are spread over. The diversity of wine in Kakheti will make you astonished: here every village, every city has its own receipts. Such well-knowns wines are traditionally produced in Kakheti like: Tsinandali, Napareuli, Teliani, Akhasheni, Mukuzani, Kindzmarauli, Gurjaani, Karnedakhuli, Tibaani, Manavi Green, Khashmi Saperavi and other.
Kakheti is the unlimited treasure of Kakhetian folk music folklore. One of the distinguished classic, quire, polyphonic song is Chakrulo. The record of Georgian “Chakrulo” together with the sounds of earth and other selected examples of our civilization was sent to space by NASA in 1977. In 2001 Georgian polyphony was acknowledged by UNESCO as the masterpiece of verbal and non material inheritance of mankind; “Chakrulo” is included in the list of no material world inheritance monuments of UNESCO.
There is lotg of interesting things to visit in Kakheti
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In 30ies of XIX century Alexander Chavchavadze made wine storage, where he used to collect unique European wines together with its own produced. Nowadays, the wine storage keeps about 16 500 bottles. Collection also keeps the wine “Saperavi” first bottled by Alexander himself in 1841.
David Gareja (VI century) – Complex of Monastery Caves. Complex was created in I half of VI century by one of Asureli Father David. He went to the desert of Gareji together with his follower Lukiane and settled in small, natural grotto. So the Monastery was laid ground which in further centuries became known as David’s Lavra. David’s Lavra was the center for monastery life with the complex of cave monasteries.
Nekresi (IV century) – monastery complex unites several monuments from which one of them – small sized basilica of II half of IV century – is the oldest in Georgia among the churches survived till now.
Ikalto monastery – (VI century) – Monastery complex was created by one of Asureli fathers Zenon. According to legend, there the Academy of Ikalto was founded. The handwritten document of that time reached our era, which are dated back to later period and includes no data about the Academy.
Pirosmani museum (village of Mirzaani) – Niko Pirosmanashvili (1862-1918) was well-known Georgian primitivism follower artist born in the village of Mirzaani and the Museum carrying his name is located in his native village. Creative work of Pirosmani is the greatest treasure for Georgian culture.
Museum represents the memorial complex of artist, which encompasses the residential house of artist and exhibition hall constructed in 1979. 14 original pictures are exhibited in the hall, also personal belongings of the painter and works of XX century Georgian artists.
Sighnaghi – City of Love like it is named by Georgians is really wonderful form architectural point of view as well as for its natural condition. City is surrounded by 4 km gate which gives ancient charm to the city. Wonderful view opens from the city across the Alzani Valley and Mountains of Caucasus. In 2007 certain restoration works were made in the city, hotels and restaurants were opened. Signagi hosts Georgian and foreign guests with great pleasure. More than ten hotels function in the city.
Recent archaeological excavations established that Georgia is the cradle of wine-making, dating back some 8,000 years. The peasant has always had a family-like relationship with vineyards, since the plant of the vine is apparently blessed by the Lord, thus sacred.
Georgia is the guardian of the ancient wine-making tradition. Remains of the oldest wine were found in the debris of a clay vessel, believed to be the Qvevri – a unique Georgian method of wine-making. The wine fermented in Qvevri is rich in tannin and is believed to have curative properties. The majority of Kakhetian Wineries specialize in the Qvevri method, not only guarding the ancient tradition but raising its awareness in international markets.
The oldest remains of the wine were found in Kvemo Kartli, south of Tbilisi. Throughout the centuries, the center of wine-making shifted east to Kakheti. One of the six official wine-making zones in Georgia, Kakheti is the easternmost region and at the forefront of vine cultivation, with its peaty, black and silty soils.
Traditional Kakhetian wine varieties include Saperavi, Rkatsiteli and Mukuzani, while one may also find the originally-French Cabernet Sauvignon, which has perfectly adapted to the regional microclimate.
Kakheti is home to various vineyards and wineries that you can visit, tour and taste their products.
Khareba Winery is a few kilometres from Kvareli, on a hill in between two lakes. Apart from the picturesque landscapes, the winery is known for its unique Wine Tunnel, excavated in the 1960s. In the 8km-long tunnel, the same natural conditions (12-14 C, and 70% humidity) are preserved throughout the year, thus ensuring the high quality of wine-aging.
Shumi Winery hosts ethnographic tours. Visitors will be told the wine history of the country, learn the ancient techniques of wine-making and chacha (high spirit drink made out of grape shells and seeds) distillation, and even bake bread in a traditional bakery ‘tone’.
Schuchmann Wine Chateau offers a professional approach towards an ancient tradition. Even though the high-class wine resort was built just a few years ago, it is greatly admired by visitors. Akhasheni Wine Resort is a unique Wine Spa. Apart from traditional massage and sauna, guests can enjoy wine spa therapies including grapeseed scrubs, mud baths and hot wine baths. During the procedures, the grapeseed oil produced at the chateau is used.
Pheasant’s Tears Winery in Sighnaghi – Founded in 2007, Pheasant’s Tears produces artisanal natural wines with ancient Georgian techniques, growing rare endemic grape varieties and harvesting with organic processes. Their name comes from a Georgian tale in which the hero claims that only a wine beyond measure could make a pheasant cry tears of joy, and with family winemakers that have been making wine for 8 generations as well as Georgia’s rich soil, Pheasant’s Tears strives to meet this standard.
Twins Old Cellar in Napareuli – In 1994, Brothers Gia and Gela opened the first modern Georgian winery to bottle a qvevri wine. Twins Wine Cellar in Napareuli opened in a previously built winery. The winery has many qvevris, handmade clay pots inserted in the ground where wines are fermented and aged. A large room has 48 qvevris while another room has 15 qvevris of various sizes. Altogether the winery has 107 qvevris.
Besides being home to various wineries and vineyards, Kakheti is home to some of the most beautiful and luxurious resorts for you to relax and enjoy time in nature. Royal Batoni, Lopota Lake Resort and Spa, Kvareli Lake, and Chateau Mere are just a few to explore.
Best Time to Visit Kakhetian Wineries: September – Late October. This is the period of rtveli – grape harvesting.