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About Georgian Winemaking Regions

GEORGIAN WINEMAKING REGIONS georgia-engi2n0

Kakhetia

 

Kakhetia - the historical area of Georgia located in upper reaches of the rivers Iori and Alzani (inflows of the river Kurah). Before VIII century it was part of Kartli. Since the 2nd part of VIII century Kakhetia was allocated in an independent feudal princedom. In 1104 David Stroitel' occupied Kakhetia with the support of local noblemen and included it into the incorporated Georgian state. In the second half of XV century Kakhetia formed a separate kingdom. XVI - XVIII centuries for Kakhetia were connected with continuous fight for independence against Iran and Turkey. In 1762 Kartli and Kakhetia consolidated into a kingdom and in 1801 they joined Russia.

This is the region where Kakhetian wines of good fat content, original bouquet and taste are produced. It is mainly production engineering that accounts for these unique qualities of wine. The peculiarity of production technique of Kakhetian wines consists in: must fermentation takes place in jugs ("kvevri" in Georgian) on hard particles of grape; the period of seasoning after fermentation on seeds and skin makes up 3-4 months.

Primary high-quality wine taps of Kakhetia are produced at wineries having a centennial history, so they may be referred to as wines controlled by origin.

Imeretia

The former name of the historical area of western Georgia Imeretia was Imeretian kingdom. Having been established at the end of XV century, Imeretian kingdom, together with Kartli and Kakhetia, were three independent feudal kingdoms of Georgia. The history of Imeretian kingdom was rich in feudal distempers and slave trade. Internecine dissensions came to a head at the end of XVII century. Only Tsar Solomon I (1752-84) managed to assert the power of tsar. In 1804 Russia took Tsar Solomon II under its aegis. In 1811 Imeretian kingdom was turned into Imeretian region of Russia.

Imeretia is situated in the eastern part of Western Georgia, the basins and gorges of the rivers Rioni, Kwirila. Being one of the main regions of winemaking and wine growing, the region has various raw material resources.

Imeretian original production engineering of table wines taking into account centuries-old traditions and local grape peculiarities was worked out. Must is fermented in clay jugs, the pressed skins added amounting to 4-6% of original mass of must. Wine material on skin (soft inner layer of grape-skin) is seasoned for 1,5-2 months.                                                   Fine balanced, delicate, flavouring table wine with good taste is produced from Tsitska.   This sort serves as the main wine material for sparkling wines produced in the region.

Red wines produced from Oihanuri, Sapere and Saperavi (in the microareas Argveta and Sakarsk) are characterized by high quality.

Kartli

Kartli is the historical area of Eastern Georgia. The other name mentioned in ancient and Byzantine sources is Iberia. With hegemoni of Kartli in IV-V centuries BC there appeared western Georgian state, the centre of which being Mtskheta.

Christianization of Kartli (in 337) contributed to the establishment of feudal relationships.      Since the end of X century Kartli has been the centre of Georgian state.

Kartli having dissolved in the second half of the 15th century, a separate Kartli kingdom appeared. In 1762 it consolidated with Kakhetia. In 1801 it joined Russia.

Kartli occupies the vast territory of the basin of Kurah River, covers the Goriiskaya (750 m above the sea level) and Mukhranskaya (560-600 m above the sea level) valleys.

The region is characterized by temperate warm climate, hot dry summer. The yearly amount of atmospheric precipitates is 350-500 mm.

Irrigation of vineyards is required.

Classical table wines and wine materials for sparkling wines are produced here.

It goes without saying, that France is the leader of winemaking. But Georgian ancient traditions of sparkling winemaking are also worth noticing. For example, Shua Kartli in Atensk gorge has been famous for the production of natural sparkling wine Atenuri from grape Chinuri and Goruli Mivane since ancient times.

Racha-Lechkhumi

Racha-Lechkhumi is the most ancient favourable for wine growing and winemaking Georgian area. Being situated to the North of Imeretia on the banks of the rivers Rioni and Nkhensitsikali, Racha-Lechkhumi looks like a bolson edged with mountain chains.

The sufficient amount of heat and atmospheric precipitates (annual average is 1000-1200 mm) ensures high quantity of sugar in wine (30%). Local wines and various types of production engineering testify to the old traditions of winemaking in this region.

High quality vintage red and white naturally semi-sweet and table wines are made from Alexandrouly, Tsolicouri, Tsulukidzis Tetra, Usahelouri, Odjaleshi, Mudjuretuli, Orbelury, etc.

The wines produced in Racha-Lechkhumi belong to the highest quality wine taps of western Georgia. These are dry table and sparkling wines. The tiny region Khvanchkara famous for its semisweet wine Khvanchkara (about 50 thousand bottles a year) is situated in this region. Khvanchkara has an original taste and amazing colour.

Adzharia, Huria, Mingrelia, Abkhazia, Samegrelo

These areas are situated in subtropical region at a hight of 500 m above sea level.        Special farms have been built in unique microregions and areas to preserve local wines under the conditions of excess humidity.

According to some historic data, Samegrelo has always been famous for the high level of wine growing traditions and winemaking culture. Among Mingrelian wines Odjaleshi with its best qualities is of special importance. It is competitive with burgundy wines.

In Abkhazia winemakers use Avasirkhava, Kachichi and Chkhaveri to produce natural semisweet wines of respective names.

Excess humidity in Huria causes fewer amounts of winemaking farms producing high-quality wine. Ordinary table wines are mainly produced here, the most famous being Chkhaveri.