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Day 12 in Georgia (Sakartvelo): Birthplace of Wine

Ramaz Nikoladze at his vineyard in Georgia (Sakartvelo)

We are sad that our stay in Georgia (Sakartvelo) is coming to an end soon. On Saturday we visited two wineries and then traveled on to Batumi on the coast of the Black Sea. Despite the cloudy weather and occasional light rain we were able to see the Black Sea – a sight I never thought I would see. It’s immense. Hopefully Sunday will be clear and we’ll see more of the sea.

Today’s first winery visit was to Ramaz Nikoladze’s Wine Cellar. Ramaz and his crew, who included an American living in Georgia, were harvesting grapes so we visited the vineyard. Currently Ramaz has 0.7 hectares (1.7 acres) of grapes that include Tsitsko and Tsolikouri. These vines are between 27 and over 100 years old. He exports his wines to Japan, France, Italy and the United Kingdom.

In Ramaz’s vineyard we tasted the Tsitska 2012. This wine was fermented without skin contact and spent 10 months in qvevri.  We also tasted Tsolikouri 2012 that was a gold color. This wine had skin contact for two months and was aged for 10 months in qvevri.

Next we visited Simon Chkhedze who is producing wine from his own vineyards. His vineyard varietals consist of Tsitska, Tsolikouri, Krakhuma and Otskhanuri Sapere. We tasted his 2012 Otskhanuri Sapere and discovered that Simon’s wine has a very good future. While he is not selling his wine yet, he wants it to improve; he plans to begin bottling and selling his wine in 2014. Otskhanuri Sapere is a unique grape variety. Producers are just beginning to learn the potential of this grape.

Today we will visit two more wineries and take time to explore Batumi on the coast of the Black Sea.


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