Georgian Wine and Dine: When you’ve been doing something for 8,000 years, it’s a good bet you know your stuff. And Georgia definitely knows its stuff when it comes to wine. Learn about the ancient qvevri wine-making method, dine on delicious barbecue and bread, and spend the day chatting with locals who know the best experiences are had with a glass in-hand.
Fun fact: Georgia has been producing wine for 8,000 years, and boasts more than 500 species of vines. Seriously. So, obviously, you can’t leave Tbilisi without tasting some of that sweet, nectar.
Your wine tour will take you to Eastern Georgia, a region famous for its wine production — and therefore the perfect place to sample some local wines! Your drive will take you through the Gombori Pass, boasting charming, curling hills and beautiful views, then on to visit a farmer who will teach you how qvevri, the clay vessel for fermenting and storing wine under the ground, are made. The qvevri wine-making method is on UNESCO’s intangible cultural heritage list, and a distinct part of Georgian culture that can’t be missed. We’ll then leave the village and head out to explore the Royal Citadel and Church of Archangels in the fairy tale-like Gremi Architectural Complex. Gremi was a Silk Road town and the capital of Kakheti (Eastern Georgia) in the 16th and 17th centuries.
No doubt hungry after exploring, we’ll head to a nearby village for lunch. We’ll be dining at another farmer’s house, where you will see how traditional bread is baked and the famous Georgian mtsvadi is made. This delicious lunch will be accompanied by homemade wine and brandy, and honey will be served as dessert. Be warned, though, that you’ll need to put your public speaking skills on display. Georgians love to make toasts, and we’re going to get acquainted with the Georgian tradition as our toastmaster (Tamada) leads us through the rounds. After lunch, we’ll visit an old winery where you’ll drink typical Georgian wine straight from the jar (really, the only way to drink, we say!), and learn how Georgian wine-making methods vary from the European techniques.
We’ll finish it all up with a stroll through the romantic fortified town of Sighnaghi. We’ll walk along its beautiful cobbled streets, and take in stunning views of the surrounding Caucasus Mountains before returning to Tbilisi.
Learn about traditional Georgian wine-making and find out how qvevri are made
Visit a 300-year-old winery and sample wines that have been stored underground
Dive into a delicious Georgian mtsvadi (barbecue) and participate in a traditional bread-baking ceremony
Taste homemade wine and brandy
Explore historic sites like the Gremi Architectural Royal Complex and the romantic town of Sighnaghi
Meeting/pick-up point: Tourism Information center in Pushkini Park, at Freedom Square.
Duration: 11 hours.
Start/opening time: At 8:30am.
Others: A safe bet is to opt for a long dress or pants and covered shoulders. Women may want to carry a scarf in case they’d like to cover their hair.