Georgia – “The Cradle of Wine”, Where East meets West
Tuesday 17th to Sunday 22nd October 2023
There is a great deal of talk surrounding Georgian wines at the moment and they have now taken an important place in the world of wine with exports opening up in recent times.
Georgia is the place where Asia and Europe meet up! With the Western boundary at the Black Sea, Russia to the North and Azerbaijan, Armenia and Turkey to the East and South the climate is highly varied. It ranges from high alpine to subtropical or semi desert and about 80% of the country is mountainous. The Greater Caucasus mountain range constitutes the northern border which protects Georgia from extreme cold. With warm moist air from the Black sea coming from the West, summer temperatures averaging 20C to 24C and winter temperatures 2C to -5C the climatic conditions are ideal for viticulture.
Ancient winemaking methods
According to Andrew Jefford, Georgia is the only country in the world where the winemaking methods developed up to 8000 years ago have not been abandoned and currently remain, in many ways, best practice.
More recent investments have given rise to the production of world class wines, some still made in Qvevri vessels as in ancient times. Such is the demand, these manufacturers of modern Qvevri vessels are struggling to keep up! The only way to find out more is to join us on this ground breaking trip which starts and finishes in the cosmopolitan capital Tbilisi. We will visit in particular the Kartli region, Kakheti and Telavi, tasting at seven of the best wineries in the country and at the same time get a feel for the history of the country and its winemaking. You will be highly impressed by the great hospitality from the Georgians and the food is good too.
Although there are limited direct flights to Tbilisi with Georgian Airlines it is generally felt that the best entry is via Istanbul using the extensive network of Turkish Airlines (they fly to more cities in the world than any other airline) and it is possible to fly through the day with them rather than overnight journeys. We will stay in the very well situated Iota Hotel in Tbilisi and the Chateau Mere in Kakheti.
The proposed itinerary is as follows:
Please note details may me subject to change in these uncertain times.
Tuesday 17th October 2023
Own arrival in Tbilisi for the first overnight stay at Hotel Iota
Wednesday 18th October 2023
Breakfast in the hotel can be taken late and the morning is free to relax and recover from the journey. The formal program will start at around 14:00 with a walking tour of Tbilisi. This will include a visit to the National Museum which has some of the oldest wine making vessels in the world. On our first evening there will be a guided wine tasting of Georgian wines from different regions, grapes and styles with a wine matching dinner.
Overnight stay at Hotel Iota
Thursday 19th October 2023
We depart Tbilisi for the short drive to the Kartli area. Our first visit and lunch are at the Iago winery. Our second visit will be to the Ori Marani winery (a French and Georgian winery where both classic method wines and Qvevri wines are made). We will pay a brief visit to Jvari (for the view) before the drive to Kakheti where we will check in at our second hotel “Chateau Mere” where we will have dinner.
Friday 20th October 2023
Today we will visit the Telavi area taking in the Alaverdi Monestary, the oldest Georgian medieval complex with some parts dating back to the 6th Century. Our first visit and tasting will be at the Orgo winery after which we will travel to the Schuchmann Wine Chateau for lunch and a tasting of their Qvevri made wines. One of our highlights will then be a visit to Zaza, the Qvevri maker where we will taste more wine and some Chacha (a Georgian Pomace Brandy).
We will then return to our hotel for some relaxation time before a traditional Georgian dinner with Simon Ruadze as Tamada (a Georgian toastmaster!).
Overnight stay at Chateau Mere
Saturday 21st October 2023
We will start with a visit to the Mosimieri winery for a tasting after which we will travel to Sighnaghi for a lunch and tasting at the renowned Pheasant’s Tears Winery.
We will visit Signaghi and then make our way back to Tbilisi for another stay at Hotel Iota.
We have left our last evening free. There are plenty of restaurants in Tbilisi to choose from but as we will already have had a great deal of food on this trip some people might prefer to take it easy!
Sunday 22nd October 2023
After an early breakfast we leave our hotel for the transfer to Tbilisi Airport.
Changes to the itinerary: Please note that, on rare occasions, we may have to make changes to the itinerary.
£1599 (guide price) per person sharing a twin or double-bedded room (excluding flights).
There is a supplement for single occupancy of £375 per person.
- Telephone calls and other items of personal expenditure
- Drinks not included in the itinerary
- Gartuities for our local tour guide and driver.
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