The World's First Wine - Vintage Georgia
By Huw Owen
So you thought you knew all about wine, right? Tried everything? You've ticked off all the classics, and you've occasionally been daring and gone for a Portuguese rosé, a Greek red, indeed an English "sparkling white". You know your way around the wine section of the supermarket, you know more or less what wine goes with what food. You've even done a wine-tasting before - though you can't remember much about it. But I bet you didn't know that wine is from Georgia (not the US state, but the diminutive ex-Soviet republic).
The Georgians are rightly proud of this, and of course being brilliant winemakers seems to go hand in hand with wonderful cuisine (Khachapuri - traditional suluguni cheese served inside flat bread - is the world's least known, most delicious, comfort food for example). For first timers to this wonderful tradition, here's a quick primer.
Let's try some grape names - Saperavi (makes big, deep reds that age well), Rkatsiteli (makes spicy whites and dessert wine), Alexandrouli (makes the distinctive semi-sweet red wines of Khvanchkara - our favourite).
Or some wines - Kindzmarauli (superb semi-sweet reds made from the Saperavi grape), Alazani (award winning semi-sweet whites) and Mukuzani (one of the most famous red wines in Georgia - multi award winning).
Or indeed some vineyards - Khareba (for the Kindzmarauli), Napareuli (Saperavi reds) and Pheasant's Tears (Saperavi reds) in the gorgeous hilltop town of Sighnaghi.
What unites all these marvellously unpronounceable names? You can encounter them all by travelling with TravelLocal. It's not all wine, wine, wine (er, though we can do that too...) - Georgia has stunning views from almost every elevated spot, a long history that has become intertwined with myth (more on that another time) and a very pleasant policy on tourist visas - for many countries there isn't one!
Bottoms up! Or as they say in Georgia - "gaumarjos!".
Make it happen
Check out our Georgia and Armenia country pages for inspiration on what to see. Our experts can create tailor-made holidays catering to your wishes and needs. If you would like to speak to someone in the TravelLocal office, please call +44 (0) 117 325 7898.