Travel to Georgia Part 2: Kakheti The Cradle of Wine Making

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Georgians are famous for their hospitality, feasts called "supra", and memorizing views. Kakheti is one of the Georgian regions; located on the eastern side of Tbilisi - between the Caucasus Mountains to the north and Azerbaijan to the south.

It's about 2 hour drive from Tbilisi depending on traffic. The locals consider Kakheti as the cradle of Georgian wine making. It's a special feature of the local culture where the residents are engaged in wine productions in factories or their homes. They love doing it!

Kakheti is an amazing region to see. If you are looking for a place full of mountains, hills, meadows, lakes, ancient wineries and caves - you have found it. Kakheti name originated from "kakh"- the name of the ethnic subgroup of Georgians and "et" - is the territory they belonged to. This place is the wine producing heaven. Everywhere you go, you'll be asked to drink a glass of wine and eat some food.

Check out Travel to Georgia Part 1.

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  • The Climate - Kakheti is very pleasant place to travel all year round but the Autumn season is the best time because of the grape harvest season.
  • Travel - The easiest way to travel to Kakheti is by car. If you don't hire a private guide, the best option would be getting a taxi. It would cost you about $30.
  • What to bring - Bring a jacket because in some mountain parts of Kakheti, it tends to get breezy and chilly. Also wear comfortable shoes.
  • Where to stay - if you want to stay in Kakheti, Kabadoni Hotel is perfect place an Asiatic styled interior. In Georgian it means horizon, since it gives you the best view of the Valley and the Caucasus Mountains.
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Sighnaghi

Sighnaghi also know as the city of love! The most attractive town that is full of cobblestone streets and vineyards. This charming town was built in the 18th century during the reign of King Erekle. It overlooks the Caucasus Mountains and the Alazani Valley. It is surrounded by a fortress that defended the area from Dagestan tribes. There are small areas that they allow you to walk the fortress which gives you the best view.

Bobde St. Nino Monastery

St. Nino is the essential figure in Georgia. I am even named after her because she is the one who brought Christianity to Georgia in the 4th century. Kind Miriam built this monastery over her grave but it has been rebuilt several times since then. Its the most important pilgrimage place in Georgia. Nunns are the only ones that live there now. They surrounded the place with beautiful gardens and trees.

Who's Saint Nino?!

St. Nino was born in a small town in Cappadocia. Nino was brought up by a nun. Once she was older she traveled to Rome with the help of her uncle to preach the Christian gospel. One night Nino got a vision of Mary, the mother of Jesus, giving her the crucifix, made out of the grapevines, telling her to bring Christianity to Georgia.

She awoke from the dream with the cross in her hand. She tied the cross with her hair and began her mission. Back then Georgia was influenced by a Persian Empire which dominated the Caucasus. The King Mirian III and his ill wife worshiped gods called Armazi and Zaden. However the Queen heard about the Christianity but never converted until Nino restored the Queens health, earning her the respect.

Winery

Georgian wine making itself is one of the oldest in the world. Some researchers say that the first wine makers appeared in Kakheti 8,000 years ago. I've mention earlier that the local also partake in wine making. It is passed down by their families, friends or neighbors who join as a community to harvest the grapes.

Kakheti natives follow the ancient wine making technology using special jugs called "Qvevri". After the grapes have been picked and pressed, the juice, grapes skin and stalks are poured into the "Qvevri"; which gets sealed and buried underground for 6-7 months. Wine plays a vital role in the celebrations, religious events or the holidays. Wine cellars are still considered the holiest place in a family home.

1.Patarzeuli Winery

This wine factory is a big one. They produce large amounts of traditional Georgian red and white wines. Not only wines but also Cha Cha and Brandy. They tour includes seeing how the wines are made in a factory.

2. Gvirabi Winery

Wine lovers, this is the perfect winery for you to check out. Gvirebi (means tunner) is located in Kvareli and is considered the center of the Kakhetian wine producing region. It is also a home to a "Khareba Winery" cave. We had a guide who already purchased the tickets but my understanding is that you can either pay for just the tour of the winery ( 20min) or you can add the wine tasting to the tour - which would be the best choice. There are also cooking classes you can add to your package. Everything is prepared so all you have to do is follow the instructions. Afterwards you get to eat your own food.

58 meters above the cave is a wonderful restaurant that's connected by the elevator. Delicious food and breathtaking view.

  • Longest wine cellar in the world - totaling out to 7.7 km.
  • The tunner is cut out in the Caucasian mountain range.
  • The constant temperature is 53-55 F with 70% humidity year round. It's an ideal and natural conditions for the wine aging.
  • They only use ancient wine aging techniques.

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