Wine Routes of Kakheti and How To Use Them
While traveling around Georgia, you’ll be sure to see the brown road signs with WINE ROUTE written on them. Welcome to our ongoing project! We also have a map detailing the best wine-related places to see which you can pick up from your nearest information center. There IS a huge amount of choice for places to drink wine in Georgia, so we’ve listed and signposted the options for you. Note: you may need a car to get to some of the wineries on our list, or at least be willing to grab a minibus.
So, where to start your wine trip? We suggest either Kvareli or Telavi (Kakheti region) as they also offer nice places to overnight, as does Sighnaghi, famous as the ‘City of Love’, which is set back (and above) the main roads, and so it is less easy to include as part of a day trip.In Telavi numerous wine cellars await: just a few kilometers away is Alaverdi Monastery and Ikalto village. Alaverdi has a long history and was once a big educational and cultural center of the ancient Kakhetian kingdom and Georgia as a whole. Near the well-preserved monastery building you can find a winery where tasting is possible.
On the way to Alaverdi, you pass through the village of Ikalto. Shota Rustaveli, the most significant XII century Georgian poet, is thought to have studied here, in the academy of the local monastery. The taste of history is really intense in this area! Wine in the cellars of Ikalto also tastes amazingly good. Following the Wine Route signs to find the other wine treasures we picked out for you nearby. Passing by Ikalto, on the way to the Zemo Alvani village, you’ll spot the cellar and restaurant of Papa Zurabo. This is the last stop on the way to the highlands of Tusheti. On the way from Telavi to Kvareli you should pop into the wine cellar of Shaloshvili in Shilda and the vineyards of Chelti. Kvareli town is famous not just for its beautiful lakes, but also for two big wine factories: Kindzmarauli and Khareba. Kindzmarauli offers a free excursion, and Khareba offers paid tours of its huge wine tunnel and a tasting inside.
While in Kakheti, be sure not to miss the beautiful mansion of Alexander Chavchavadze, noble XIX century poet, in Tsinandali. The drive from Kvareli to Tsinandali takes 40 minutes, from Telavi – 20 minutes. Chavchavadze’s mansion is the main sightseeing point of the settlement: an exquisite exterior, well-kept garden and delicious wines in the cellar… Well worth a visit! 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 the Chavchavadze mansion and this cozy home, which keeps a lot of qvevri wine and plenty of winemaking-related items inside. Of course, it all depends on your time and budget. The only thing we can recommend is to follow your heart and the brown Wine Route signs while traveling to Kakheti. Handpicked wine treasures from our hearts to yours!