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Kakheti Viticultural Region

1 January, 2012

Kakheti is the most important and oldest region of Georgian viticulture. Varieties of Kakheti include: Rkatsiteli, MtsvaneKakhuri, Kisi and Saperavi. These provide the best wine production. Wines from thisregion using traditional Kakhetian techniques in kvevri, large clay vessels, compete with the world’s best brands, and the amber wines are becoming increasingly popular.

Sixty-five percent of Georgian vineyards are located in Kakheti. The Kakhetiviticultural region may be divided into 4 sub zones:

1. The right side of the Alazani River, from Akhmeta to Kardenakhi, inclusive;

2. Kiziki – the right side of the Alazanireiver from Anaga to Dedoplistskaro, inclusive;

3. The Left side of the Alazani River, from Pankisi to Lagodekhi;

4. GareKakheti, from Sartichala to Chalaubani.

Similar grape varieties, mostly Rkatsiteli, harvested in the region produce wines of various bouquets and colors. Rkatsiteli blended with KakhuriMtsvane produces good results as well.

The climate in Kakheti is mild, transient to subtropical, with hot summers and temperate cold winters. Winds are not too frequent. In winter, northwestern winds cause drastic drops in temperature and in summer, rain and hail. Southern winds cause foggy and rainy weather during winter and summer droughts. The vineyards are located at 250-800 m above sea level (mostly between 400 and 600 m). Soils include: brown forest soils, humus-carbonate, alluvial-carbonate, alluvial forest, and silty soils.

Wines made using traditional Kakhetianmethods have an 8,000year-old tradition and are unrivalled around the world. Therefore, UNESCO has included this method inthe list of world’s intangible treasures. The best grapes for Kakhetian traditional wines are produced in the microregion from Bakurtsikhe to Anaga. Tsarapi (wine from non-irrigated grapes) of Kardenakhi is known all over the world.

Tsinandali is the best of classicKakhetian white wineas well asManavi, Gurjaani, Vazisubani, White Napareuli, Mtsvane, Kisi, etc.

Saperavi is the main red grape variety; the past and future of Georgian winemaking is associated with this wine. Currentlyin Georgia, there is a real Saperaviboom. On one hand, new technologies were included inthe bottling processes, but on the other, traditional methods were restored. Saperavi made in kvevri is among the world’s best wines. Among the wines made from red grapes, Mukuzanihas been the leader for over a century. This variety has received many international awards. There are also wines well-known for their designations, like Akhasheni, Kindzmarauli, Napareuli, etc.