While traveling around Georgia, you might see the light-brown shield with WINE ROUTE signage on them. Well, that was made by us, and the project is still going on. We have a map with decent wine-related placed put on it, so you might take it in an info center and travel by yourself. At the same time we understand, how irritating it may sound for you: here are dozens of wineries, go choose some and get drunk with the legendary qvevri wine! So now we try to pick some places from our list to make it easier for you. Anyways you might need a car or be quite careful waking up early and trying to catch a minibus from A to B…
First you need to decide, where to start your wine trip. We advise you to go either to Kvareli or to Telavi. Those are good starting points, plus there are decent overnight places in there. Sighnaghi, famous for its status of City of Love, is located quite aside of the main roads, so it is not easy to include it to a day trip, for example.
So, if you decided to stay in Telavi and wine cellars of the town are boring for you, in several kilometers from it there are Alaverdi Monastery and Ikalto village. Alaverdi has a long history and was once a big educational and cultural center of ancient Kakhetian kingdom and the whole Georgia. Near the well-preserved monastery building there are vintages, and tasting is also possible there.
On the way to Alaverdi you pass through the village Ikalto. Shota Rustaveli, the most significant Georgian poet, who lived in the XII century, was supposed to have studied here, in the academy of local monastery. Taste of history is really intense in this area! Wine in the cellars of Ikalto also tastes good. Following the wine signage is a good idea: currently we picked just several places over there.
Passing by Ikalto, on the way to the village Zemo Alvani there is a cellar and a restaurant of Papa Zurabo. This is the last stop on the way to highlands of Tusheti, by the way.
On the way from Telavi to Kvareli you can visit wine cellar of Shaloshvili in Shilda and vineyards of Chelti. The town Kvareli is famous not just by its beautiful lakes, but also by two big wine factories, Kindzmarauli and Khareba. Kindzmarauli offers a free excursion, and Khareba takes some money for visiting its wine tunnel and a tasting inside of it.
Talking about Kakheti, we can’t avoid mentioning the beautiful mansion of Alexander Chavchavadze, noble poet of XIX century, which is situated in Tsinandali. The road from Kvareli to Tsinandali takes 40 minutes, from Telavi – 20 minutes. The Chavchavadze’s mansion is the main sightseeing point of the settlement – exquisite exterior, well-kept garden and still amazing wines in the cellar… Worth visiting, as you are in this area!
Another super interesting winery and museum of winemaking, Numisi, is located in Velistsikhe, on one of the roads from Kvareli to Telavi. If you take this road, you can combine visiting both Chavchavadze mansion and this cozy home, which keeps a lot of qvevri wine and plenty of winemaking-related items inside.
Of course, it is all up to your time and budget. The only thing we can recommend – follow your heart and the brown shields, while traveling to Kakheti. We were picking those places for you!