As Kathy and I travel to wineries and vineyards throughout the world and hear about their story and wine journey, we take notes. These help us to write articles. When it comes to grapes grown in vineyards or varieties in wines, we have personal abbreviations for the international grapes. It helps us to take notes faster. Our first trip to Georgia, however, was different. Other than Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay and Muscat, we did not run into other international grapes.
We were familiar with the Georgian varietal grapes Rkatsiteli and Saperavi. Both varieties are grown in the United States. There is a Georgia, United States connection. Dr. Frank managed vineyards in the country Georgia prior to coming to the United States and eventually planted vineyards and made wine along Keuka Lake in New York’s Finger Lakes wine region. One of the grapes he planted in New York was Rkatsiteli. We experienced Saperavi at another Keuka Lake winery.
Kathy and I were not familiar with the other varietal grapes we encountered in Georgia. White grapes had names such as: Chinuri, Goruli Mtsvane, Khikhvi, Kisi, Krakhuna, Kudurauli, Mtsvane, Tsitska and Tsolikouri. Of that group we did have a Georgian Kisi at the 2013 International Wine Tourism Conference in Zagreb, Croatia. Kisi is the easiest Georgian grape to pronounce and spell. Red grapes are often referred to as black grapes and have names: Aladasturi, Aleksandrouli, Budeshuri, Dzelshavi, Kapistoni, Mujurentuli, Otskhanuri Sapere, Shavkapito, Tavkveri and Usakhelouri. These are just a few of the more than 500 grape varieties in Georgia. They are the ones that most of the wines are made from.
IWINETC Media FAM Group
We discovered that taking notes while on a winery tour was a challenge. I created a crib sheet for our media group that will attend the 2014 IWINETC in Tbilisi. You can carry the small laminated sheet with you and reference the spellings of the more common varietal grapes we will encounter while on tour. I numbered each grape so you could just use numbers if you want to speed up note taking. I’ll also post a pdf version of the crib sheet for all attendees going to the International Wine Tourism Conference in Tbilisi, Georgia. The conference will afford a great opportunity to taste wines other than those made with international varieties. For those writers, the conference will give you practice writing words that you are not familiar hearing or spelling.
To see photos we took of most of the varieties mentioned, check out our Georgian varieties page.