In vino veritas

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Georgia

Georgia: 8,000 years of winemaking

Georgians have long claimed that their history of winemaking dates back to prehistoric times, and it seems they were right all along. A study published in early November 2017 in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences shows that the roots of Georgian wine-making go back as far as 6,000 years B.C.! So ancient pottery with traces of wine was discovered near Tbilisi. In the traditional Georgian method, fruit is fermented and aged in clay jugs called kvevri, which are buried in the ground up to the neck. The same jug can be used for generations of the family. The discovery of grape wine in this region was crucial to the subsequent history of winemaking in Europe and the rest of the world. Thanks to seafarers, the culture of winemaking spread throughout the Mediterranean.

Itinerary

Tbilisi → Mtskheta → Kazbegi → Akhmeta → Telavi → Tsinandali → Gremi → Khareb Tunnels → Sighnaghi → Manavi → Tbilisi

Day 1: Arrival at Tbilisi

Day 1: Arrival at Tbilisi

The capital of Georgia is unique. It stands on several mountain hills, on which the ancient city blocks "crawl" in tiers. Tbilisi is the beautiful Kura River with its picturesque rocky banks, which flows through the city. Tbilisi is one of the few places in the world where an Orthodox church, a Catholic cathedral, a synagogue and a mosque peacefully coexist side by side in the Old City. Visit the Metekh Church (5th century), the Cathedral of the Holy Trinity of the temple complex Tsminda Sameba - the main cathedral of the Georgian Orthodox Church. Walking tour of the city. Old Town - the historic center of Tbilisi, located at the foot of Mount Mtatsminda (Holy Mountain). Almost all buildings in Tbilisi Old City are historical or cultural monuments, the place is bustling with life round the clock, tourists walk alone or in groups, lovers meet at the Clock Tower.

Day 1: Arrival at Tbilisi | Part 2

Day 1: Arrival at Tbilisi | Part 2

Enjoy the aroma of magical old Tbilisi and the taste of excellent Georgian wine in the old wine cellar of Prince Karalashvili. Here you can taste the most famous Georgian wines – “Kindzmarauli”, “Mukuzani”, “Tsinandali”, “Saperavi” (tasting included). Then we will go up the newest elevator to the fortress Narikala (IV century). While rising we’ll see the city from the bird's eye view. We will walk along Shota Rustaveli Avenue where each house is a story. Dinner in a national restaurant and a concert program (national singing and dancing).

Day 2: Georgian Military Road, Mtskheta

Day 2: Georgian Military Road, Mtskheta

Breakfast at the hotel . We leave Tbilisi for a fascinating journey along the Georgian military road. Visiting the ancient temple-monastery Jvari (VI century). On top of the mountain where the temple is located, a fantastic view of the confluence of two rivers - the Kura and the Aragvi. There as on the palm of your hand is a beautiful view of the ancient capital of Georgia - Mtskheta. Excursion to the ancient capital of Georgia Mtskheta - a museum city, listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. A visit to the Cathedral of Svetitskhoveli (1010-1029), in the base of which is buried one of the main shrines of Christianity, as well as the burial place of many kings of Georgia. The guide will recommend a colorful tavern for lunch with excellent local wine.

Day 2: Georgian Military Road, Mtskheta | Part 2

Day 2: Georgian Military Road, Mtskheta | Part 2

On the way we will visit the picturesque fortress of Ananuri (XVI century) above the Aragvi River and the stunning beauty of Jinval Reservoir. Quick coffee break and further to mountains towards Stepantsminda (Kazbegi). Passing ski resort Gudauri (2200m), stunning ride along the river Tergi, over the cross pass (2400m) brings us to Stepantsminda (Kazbegi). Accommodation in Kazbegi Rooms Hotel. Rest. Dinner at the hotel (ordering food and wine à la carte and self-pay).

Day 3: Kazbegi, Daryal Gorge

Day 3: Kazbegi, Daryal Gorge

Breakfast at the hotel. Tour of Kazbegi: Church of the Holy Trinity Gergeti (2170m above sea level). Ascent to Gergeti by jeeps. When the weather is clear there is a stunning, phantasmagoric view of one of the most majestic peaks of Georgia - Mount Kazbek (5147m). Visit an authentic local cafe / tavern where we watch and taste how real mountain dwellers prepare the famous "khinkali". "Khinkali", of course, is accompanied by wine tasting. Drive to Daryal Gorge. Since ancient times there was nearly the only way from South Caucasus to the north of Russia going through the gorge. The length of the gorge is about 12 km. In the most remote place there was a monastery and an unassailable fortress, blocking the way to the enemies. Overnight stay in Kazbegi Rooms Hotel. Rest. Dinner at the hotel (ordering food and wine à la carte and self-pay).

Day 4: Akhmeta, Telavi, Tsinandali

Day 4: Akhmeta, Telavi, Tsinandali

Breakfast at the hotel. Drive through Akhmeta to Kakheti, the land of sun and grapes. Accommodation in 5* Tsinandali Estate Hotel. Rest. Coffee break. Excursion to Telavi - the main city and administrative center of Kakheti. Visit a museum-fortress of King Erekle II (XVIII century), who signed the Treaty of St. George with the Russian Empire. Then tour to the House Museum of Alexander Chavchavadze in Tsinandali where Prince Chavchavadze built an estate and often invited foreign guests. Here unfolded a love story of the Russian diplomat Alexander Griboyedov and the Georgian Princess Nino Chavchavadze. Wine sampling in the wine cellar of the House of Chavchavadze. In a special hall in the cellar of the house manor Chavchavadze you can taste "Tsinandali", "Kakhuri", "Saperavi", "Mukuzani", "Khvanchkara", "Kindzmarauli", "Iberiuli", "Alazani Valley" and other Georgian wines (tasting: wine samples of 5 types of wines). Dinner at the hotel (ordering food and wine from the menu and paying for it yourself). Overnight stay in Tsinandali.

Day 5: Tsinandali, Gremi, Khareb Tunnels, Sighnaghi, Manavi

Day 5: Tsinandali, Gremi, Khareb Tunnels, Sighnaghi, Manavi

Breakfast at the hotel. Excursion to the Royal Fortress of Gremi (XVI century). The complex is surrounded by a wall with towers and embrasures. Remains of the secret underground passage leading to the river. There is also a complex of Church of the Archangels (XVI-XVII century). The architectural ensemble of Gremi as it has survived to this day, was built in the 16th century, under King Levan of Kakheti. He also declared Gremi as the capital of Kakheti Kingdom. A stop at the Khareba winery - a wine cellar in a 7.7 km long tunnel with a wine library of vintage wines. The collection consists of red, white dry, semi-sweet wines distinguished by their exquisite execution. The peculiarity of Khareb's wines is their spicy notes. Tasting of Georgian wines at Khareba winery. Coffee break. Then transfer to the City of Love - Sighnaghi Walk around the ancient city of Sighnaghi, which is located at the top of a mountain range overlooking the Alazani Valley. It has now been completely recreated in its original form.

Day 5: Tsinandali, Gremi, Khareb Tunnels, Sighnaghi, Manavi | Part 2

Day 5: Tsinandali, Gremi, Khareb Tunnels, Sighnaghi, Manavi | Part 2

Arrival at the small family winery Château Fort de Manavi. Acquaintance with the oldest in the world technologies of Georgian winemaking that survived to this day. Wine tasting: 5 types of authentic wines and chacha. Dinner in a family atmosphere with the owner of the house (unlimited alcohol from the kvevri) under the accompaniment of Georgian live music. All dishes are prepared using local products based on ancient Georgian recipes. Accommodation and overnight stay in a small family winery Chateau Fort de Manavi.

Day 6: Manavi, Return to Tbilisi

Day 6: Manavi, Return to Tbilisi

Country breakfast. Master class - tourists do everything with their own hands - baking bread in a ton, cooking "churchkhela", baking "khachapuri" and cooking "khinkali". Help the owner in distilling "chacha". Lunch of the dishes we cooked ourselves (and not only) with unlimited wine and "chacha". In Georgia, lunch is slowly turning into dinner, tonight it will be a farewell dinner.

Day 7: Tbilisi

Day 7: Tbilisi

Transfer to the airport (50 km) in time for your departure flight.

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***** Ambasadori Tbilisi

***** Ambasadori Tbilisi

Executive room | 35 m² | Twin/King bed | Inner courtyard view | Rooftop pool | Air conditioning | Private Bathroom | Flat-screen TV | Soundproof | Minibar | Free WiFi | Upper floors accessible by elevator | Wardrobe or closet | Safe | Private entrance | Iron | Heating | Carpeted | Electric kettle | Dryer | Desk | Sitting area | Telephone | Satellite channels | Clothes rack | Wake-up service

**** Rooms Hotel Kazbegi

**** Rooms Hotel Kazbegi

Executive Room | 35 m² | Balcony | Mountain view | Upper floors accessible by elevator | Hardwood or parquet floors | Desk | Sitting area | Telephone | Balcony | Outdoor furniture | Socket near the bed | Wake-up service

***** Tsinandali Estate, A Radisson Collection Hotel

***** Tsinandali Estate, A Radisson Collection Hotel

Collection Premium Room | 23 m² | Garden view | Landmark view | Air conditioning | Upper floors accessible by elevator | Wardrobe or closet | Tea/Coffee maker | Minibar | Safe | Tile/Marble floor | Soundproof | Private entrance | Ironing facilities | Heating | Carpeted | Laptop safe | Coffee machine | Electric kettle | Cleaning products | Dryer | Desk | Sitting area | Dining area | TV | Telephone | Satellite channels | Radio | Cable channels | Socket near the bed | Clothes rack | Fold-up bed | Wake-up service |

**** Chateau Fort de Manavi

**** Chateau Fort de Manavi

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