After a brief encounter with Kakheti, Mtskheta and Imereti our wine route turns to the real West. Guria and Ajara are not famous for wines at all. They had a lot of historical sorts of grapes, some of which were almost at the edge of extinction. Now the process of their restoration is going on, so more and more start establishing or re-establishing wineries and offering their guests authentic wine sorts.
Guria is believed to be a region of wittiest Georgians, black tea, citrus tree and natural rose, made of grape sort Chkhaveri. Back to the wine routes topic (and our brown shields, which are guiding you around), we will mention several good places we picked. They are not as many, as in Kakheti, but as it was already mentioned, Western Georgia is on its way to multiplying the richness of its wine treasury.
Zurab Topuridze’s vineyards in the Gurian village Dablatsikhe impress you from the first sight. Located at the natural terraces, they are a birthplace of two kinds of rose: produced according to the European and Georgian technology (in churi or qvevri – big clay pots).
The other Gurian winemaker Andro Vashalomidze lives in Shemokmedi and grows 16 very rare sorts of grapes: not just famous Chkhaveri, but also another kind of rose, Badagi, and several smaller ones. His interest is in preserving the local sorts, and he is pretty successful in getting closer to the aim.
Teimuraz Sharashidze’s winery is located in the village Bukistsikhe, in 6 km from bigger settlement Chokhatauri. His vineyards boast with names, you might have never heard. Next to Ojaleshi and Tsolikouri there are also Skilatubani and Jani. Open-air wine cellar is welcoming guests for a tasting.
In order to get to Ajarian wine, you will have to pass Batumi and go deeper to the mountainous Ajara. For example, in Khelvachauri there is a beautiful Ajarian Wine House. Established in 2010, it attracted attention not just of the Georgian wine connoisseurs, but also of the international visitors, such as Hillary Clinton or Andriy Shevchenko. Come there to enjoy unique rose called Porto-Franco and the local blend of Tsolikouri and Rkatsiteli.
A cute home winery of Nodar Shervashidze is awaiting in Qeda at the 1st May street, in 35 km from Batumi. The family is growing grapes for several generations. The major sorts are Ojaleshi and Chkhaveri. You can taste them and learn the whole way of preparation, plus participate in a cooking master-class, if you contact the winery in advance!
Another good Ajarian winemaker is Lado Shavishvili – find him in the village Vaio, municipality Qeda, in 45 km drive from Batumi. He grows many local varieties: Chkhaveri, Aladasturi, Tsolikouri and Otskhanuri Sapere. Authentic rural atmosphere, an informative excursion with a tasting… You won’t regret, for sure!