Wine Tour of Georgia 2013
Join us for an exploration of this hidden gem of a wine country this year! Depart any time, with a minimum of 2 people.
The bouquet of wine, the toasts of the Tamada, the beautiful Georgian songs, the romantic atmosphere and as we say in Georgia – “Bread, cheese and a kind Heart… What else do we need?”
According to Georgian legend, when God was distributing land among the peoples of the world, the Georgians were so busy eating and drinking that they lost their place in the queue and there was no land left for them. But when they invited God to join the party, he enjoyed himself so immensely he gave them all the choicest bits of land he had been saving for himself.
Visit the real birthplace of wine with an abundance of endemic species. Meet local wine producers and learn about archaic wine making techniques, still practiced today, and first mentioned in pre-Christian Greek and Roman historical annals. Local winemakers will share their experience in wine making. Have a look at “Marani” – a special house for making wine and visit churches lavishly decorated with vine tree ornaments.
The rich land, hot sun and hard work have developed about 500 varieties of vines in Georgia. The history, culture and lifestyle of Georgians are embodied in Georgian wine. This wine tour gives you an opportunity to experience such a lifestyle.
Day 1: Arrival in Tbilisi
Arrival in Tbilisi. Transfer to the hotel for overnight.
Day 2: Sightseeing tour of Tbilisi
In the more than 1500 years since becoming the capital of Georgia, the city has been destroyed and rebuilt on nearly 30 different occasions following a long history of fighting off Persian, Arab, Turkmen, Mongol, Turk and, finally, Russian invaders. The city has rebounded in recent years to become one of the most lively and cosmopolitan cities in the Caucasus. Visit: Metekhi Church of the Virgin, sulfur bathhouses, bakery, Open air Ethnographical museum; Treasury of the State Museum. Lunch and dinner at local restaurants. Overnight in Tbilisi. (B/L/D)
Day 3: Tbilisi – Signagi – Gurjaani- Telavi
Drive along the “Wine Route”, trough the beautiful landscape of vineyards and wine-producing villages. Explore the Kakheti region of Georgia which is synonymous with wine. First site to visit is Signagi –a royal town with silk road sites surrounded by defensive walls with 23 towers. After visiting Signagi proceed to Gurjaani, where you will visit a small, local family owned wine cellar, and visit a centuries old Marani – a special house for the storage wine. In this cellar wine is made according Georgian traditions in huge wine pitchers buried under the ground. Lunch and wine tasting. Proceed to Telavi and enjoy wine tasting at GWS Winery. In the evening visit Alaverdi Cathedral of 11th cc. At a local guesthouse enjoy cheese of the Tusheti region. Dinner and overnight at a local guesthouse. (B/L/D)
*Optional wine tasting at Badagoni Wine Cellar on this day is available at additional cost
Day 4: Telavi – Tbilisi
After breakfast visit Nadkora – a cemetery of wine pitchers from the pre – Christian period. Then drive to visit Tsinandali Museum and Residence of the 18th century Kakhetian prince, A. Chachavadze. Poet as well as a prince, he turned the residence into a center for Georgian intellectual life. The lovely grounds boast a beautiful English-style park filled with roses and exotic plants. It also houses one of the oldest wine cellars in Georgia with wine dating from 1814. Wine tasting at Teliani Valley wine cellar. Return to Tbilisi. Dinner is on your own at one of the many delightful restaurants in the city. Overnight in Tbilisi. (B/L)
* Optional additional wine tasting at Shumi Wine Cellar is available at additional cost.
Day 5: Tbilisi – Mtskheta – Gori – Aspinza
Our first stop of the day will be in sacred Mtskheta, the ancient capital of eastern Georgia, at the southern end of the highway. Georgia’s conversion to Christianity occurred in Mtskheta in 337 AD and it is considered one of Georgia’s most important religious centers. We will visit the Church of Jvari (UNESCO site) perched on a cliff overlooking the city and Sveti-Tskhoveli Cathedral (a UNESCO site). Near the town of Gori, visit Uplistsikhe, a cave town dating back to the 1st millennium BC. Among the dwelling complexes, theaters, pagan temples and other ruins of public buildings, we will visit the ancient wine presses cut in stone, discovered in Georgia. In the evening we will reach the Samtskhe – Javakheti Region. Wine originated from here, but because of climate changes only few vineyards are left. Here at a local family home guests will enjoy a tasting of local Meskh cheese. Dinner and overnight at a local family guesthouse. (B/L/D)
Day 6: Aspindza-Vardzia- Kutaisi
After breakfast drive to visit Varzia, another cave town. En route we will have a short stop to visit the Tsunda Basilica. Around the church the ancient terraces for vineyards are still seen. Then proceed to Kutaisi. In the evening enjoy a short walking tour in Kutaisi Old town. At a local guesthouse, a specially organized Imereti cheese tasting will be waiting for you. Dinner and overnight at a local guesthouse. (B/L/D)
Day 7: Kutaisi – Zugdidi – Batumi
After breakfast visit Gelati academy complex (UNESCO site) and drive to Samegrelo Region, known for its cheese “Sulguni”. At a local family home see how this cheese is made and enjoy cheese tasting. Lunch en route to Batumi. In the evening enjoy a short walking tour in Batumi’s old town. Dinner with traditional Ajara dishes mostly made of cheese. Overnight in Batumi. (B/L/D)
Day 8: Batumi– Koreti -Tbilisi
After breakfast drive to Tbilisi via Sachkhere. En route visit Mgvimevi Monastery complex which comprises two nave basilica, hall church cut into the rock and bell tower. In the village of Koreti be a guest of the Sharvadzeebi family and visit the traditional wine cellars of Sharvedzeebi Families. Here you can compare Marani of the Imereti region to Marani of the Kakheti region. Enjoy wine tasting of local homemade wine. Return to Tbilisi for overnight. (B/L)
Day 9: Departure
Transfer to the airport. Or consider adding on a tour of neighboring Armenia, where you can further investigate the cuisine of the Caucasus, taste Armenian pomegranate wine and Armenian brandy, while seeing more spectacular natural beauty and learning of the rich history of the Armenian people. (B)
- Wine tasting will take place at leading wineries as well as at small wineries and family cellars.
- All cheese tasting will take place at guesthouses or with local families where homemade cheese typical of the region (made by different families and accordingly having different taste,) will be offered. In Samegrelo, the process of cheese making at a local family farm will be also observed. (please kindly note that this are not the places of large cheese production)
- Tour dates can be any time but routing may change based on availability/capacity of places to be visited
- Prices for 2 persons: $2595 per person in double
- Prices for 4 persons: $2140 per person in double
- Prices for 6 persons: $2005 per person in double
- Single room supplement: $295 per person
- Add $180 per person to upgrade to 4* hotels in Tbilisi and Batumi
- All transfers & transportation by sedan (minivan, minibus) type car
- 4 x overnights at 3* hotel in Tbilisi
- 1 x overnight at the guesthouse in Telavi
- 1 x overnight at the guesthouse in Aspindza
- 1 x overnight at the guesthouse in Kutaisi
- 1 x overnight in 3* hotel in Batumi
- All breakfasts at the hotels and guesthouses
- Meals as per program
- Entrance fees to the museums and historical sites as per program
- English speaking guide
- A bottle of mineral water per person per day
- Wine tasting & cheese tasting as per program
- Travel insurance
- Single room supplement
- 2 x dinners in Tbilisi
- Services except those described
- Tips for guide and driver