Georgian Wine Types
Georgia’s winemaking history began several millennia ago, and today Georgian wine types are popular around the world. The secret lies in the use of high-quality endemic grape varieties and Georgian qvevri winemaking methods which have been passed down for generations.
To date, Georgian viticulturists have bred over 500 grape varieties. It should come as no surprise then that Georgia produces an astounding number of wines, including red, white, rose and amber varieties and even some champagne. Georgian wines are known for their subtle aromas and hints of freshly harvested grapes. It is even recommended that Mtsvane wine, a green-tinted wine produced from a high-quality grape, should be drunk immediately so as to fully appreciate the grape’s distinct flavor.
The uniqueness of many Georgian wines is directly tied to the area in which they are produced. Every region of Georgia grows its own grape varieties, leading to wines with diverse tastes. Atenuri is a Georgian sparkling wine made from the Chinuri and Gorouli Mivane grape varieties, which have been harvested from ancient times in Ateni Gorge in Kartli Region. Kakheti Region, where more than 75 percent of Georgia’s grapes are cultivated, is famous as Georgia’s winemaking capital. It is best known for its red wines made from Saperavi and Cabernet grapes and for its white wines produced from Rkatsiteli and Khikhvi grapes.
The western regions of Imereti, Mingrelia, Guria, Adjara and Racha-Lechkhumi are famous for their vintage wines made from the Alexandrouli, Tsolikouri, Tsulukidzis Tetra, Usakhelouri, Odjaleshi, Mudjuretuli and Orbeluri Ojaleshi grapes. Racha-Lechkhumi makes a quality semisweet wine called Saterne, as well as table and sparkling wines. From the small village of Khvanchkara comes one of the most famous Georgian wines of the same name. Another world-famous variety is Ojaleshi, which is native to Megrelia and on par with the finest French wines.
Thanks to the well-established history of wine in Georgia, winemaking is now a culture all its own. It is not produced merely to sell, and many Georgian families make homemade wine whose taste could compete with the best-known brands. Homemade wine is usually kept in qvevri, huge earthenware jugs which are buried for fermentation to produce Georgia’s famous qvevri wine. Wine corkage and tasting are typically major family events accompanied by much festivity.
Famous Georgian Wines
These famous Georgian wine types are popular both domestically and internationally:
This special white wine is a source of pride for Georgian winemakers. It bears a light straw color, a fine fruity bouquet and a soft delicate taste. Tsinandali has been produced in Georgia since 1886.
Composition: 80% Rkatsiteli and 20% Mtsvane grapes
Alcohol content: 10-12%
A premium red semisweet wine with a bold, fragrant bouquet and dark pomegranate hue, it flaunts hints of chocolate. Akhasheni has been produced in Georgia since 1958.
Composition: Saperavi grapes
Alcohol content: 11-12%
One of the most famous wines of Kakheti, Kindzmarauli is a high-quality, red semisweet wine with the intense color of overripe cherries. Its special bouquet delivers a mild velvety taste..
Alcohol content: 10 -12%
Perhaps the most acclaimed Georgian wine among international sommeliers, Saperavi is a dry red variety with an opaque incarnadine hue. It has been produced in Georgia since 1886.
Alcohol content: 10.5- 13%
A semidry white wine with a light straw color, Tbilisiuri boasts a sweet-and-sour disposition with the subdued aroma of immature grapes.
Composition: various grapes from Kartli Region
Alcohol content: 10 -11.5%
Produced in Rioni Valley in the western region of Racha, this semisweet wine is light amber in color with a fruity bouquet and a soft palate.
Composition: Tsololikouri grapes
Alcohol content: 10-12%
A rare amber variety counted among Georgia’s top 5 wines, it is made exclusively from Kisi grapes grown in vineyards at least 50 years old. The wine is aged in skins and conveys peculiar smoked pork tones seasoned with wood spice.
Alcohol content: 12.5%
This is a natural dry amber wine which has been produced in Georgia since 1948. Kakheti wine possesses a golden color, full body and distinctive fruity nose.
Alcohol content: 10.5%
Alazani Valley (white)
The Alazani Valley white variety yields a semisweet wine characterized by its maize hue, aromatic bouquet and mild fruity palate.
Composition: Khatsiteli grapes
Alcohol content: 11.5%
Alazani Valley (red)
The Alazani Valley red variety yields a semisweet, ruby-tinted wine with innuendos of wild berry. Both red and white varieties have been produced in Georgia since 1977.
Alcohol content: 12%
This dry amber wine has a harmonious bouquet with soft fruity tones and is typically made according to European methods. It is created from Khatsiteli grapes grown on the left bank of the Alazani River, where the mild climate produces grapes with a softer yet complex flavor.
Alcohol content: 10-12.5%
This singular varietal white wine from western Georgia has a characteristic light barley hue. Produced in Imereti according to European methods, it typically ferments for at least two years in oak casks.
Alcohol content: 10.5-12.5%
Made from Alexandrouli and Jushuretuli grapes grown on the southern slopes of the Greater Caucasus, this semisweet wine is known for its distinctive ruby color and well-developed bouquet.
Alcohol content: 10.5-13%