Georgia, famed in Greek mythology, is the oldest wine-producing region in the world. Residues of the world's oldest wine - a vintage produced in the Stone Age 8,000 years ago - were found in the village of Shulaveri. In addition to the ancient traditions of viticulture, Georgia boasts a rich culture which is evident it the wealth of architectural and ethnographic marvels.
Georgia is also one of the earliest states that adopted Christianity and today is a revered place for all Georgians and pilgrims all over the world.
The most famous Georgian appellation is Kakheti, nicknamed the “Wine Country”, has 18 microzones each with their own unique combination of soil composition and microclimate.
Georgia is beautiful all year round. In winter, enjoy the slopes of Gudauri for skiing and snowboarding. Summer is best spent along the Georgian Black Sea coast. For a more active holiday, spring and summer is the time for trekking in the mountainous regions of Svaneti and Tusheti. The autumn is a special time as it marks the season of rtveli (grape harvest) which commences in Kakheti and lasts until October. Spend about 3 days in Kakheti to enjoy the wide spectrum of unique wines.
For all wine aficionados travelling to Georgia, Kakheti province is the place to go! Only 2 hour drive from the capital Tbilisi, it's a treat for the eyes and soul.
Only 5 kilometres west of Telavi is Tsinandali, the former summer residence of one of the most famous Georgian nobility, Prince Alexander Chavchavadze, which also houses the winery by the same name. This beautiful estate is spread across a stunning landscape.
Visit Alaverdy monastery. At a height of over 55 meters, Alaverdi Cathedral is the tallest oldest religious building in Georgia. While there taste the monastic wine, but do make a reservation ahead of time as demand is high.
On the way to Khareba winery, stop by the Gremi Castle (16th century), where you can climb through the narrow, winding passages and peer through the hidden windows and openings inside this medieval citadel.
The culinary lesson at the Twins’ Cellar in Napareuli is a must! Let the warm and welcoming staff teach you how to make the famous Georgian khinkali (oversized meat tortellini with fragrant herbs) by hand, take part in the baking of Mother’s Bread in a clay oven and make your own churchkhela (dessert nuts dipped into grape juice thickened with flour.
Go inside a 7-km wine tunnel at the winery Khareba, then from there take the elevator to the top of the restaurant and enjoy the best view of Alazani Valley.
From September to October, all over Kakheti people hold rtveli festivals followed by wine stomping, which culminates in a supra (feast) often accompanied by polyphonic singing (dates for 2014 rtveli to be announced).
In mid-May annual New Wine Festival in Tbilisi is held at an open-air Museum of Ethnography. Over two dozen wine companies and producers bring wines from different parts of Georgia.Read less