Vineyards In Georgia (Europe) & Georgia Wineries Map: Georgian wine is some of the most unique in the world with a focus on traditional production techniques. In this artiguiacle, we round up our top Vineyard choices from our extensive testing of wine at cellar doors around the country. It’s a tough life!
From tiny home wineries to a 7KM (4 miles) underground wine tunnel. We show you where to go for the most interesting experiences, wine tastings and… places where they speak English.
With more than one year in Georgia (Sakartvelo) already, and now we live here, find our ever growing Georgia Wineries Map & Wine Regions Map at the bottom of this article. Also, check out our Free downloadable Georgian Wine PDF guide & Wine Itineraries so you can plan your own trip to unique, artisan home wineries and more.
UPDATE FEB 2020: Major Update to Wineries list, Itineraries and more.
Best Vineyards In Georgia (Europe) Table Of Contents
Recommended Wine Tour Itinerary Options – Free itineraries, or:
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Georgian Wine Guide (Crash Course PDF) – Learn The Essentials Of Georgian Wine & Wine History
Wine Hotels – Stay In Wine Country (Opens In New Tab)
Georgian Traditional Food Guide (Opens in new tab)
Things To Do In Kutaisi & Imereti Region, other than wine! (Opens in new tab)
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Georgia has the oldest archeological evidence of winemaking in the world – dating back to about 6000 BC. Unlike other countries around the world, Georgia still makes many wines in the same way they would have been made 8000 years ago – by fermenting the grapes in clay pots (called Qvevri) buried underground to stabilize their temperatures.
The traditional method involves pressing the grapes for juice, but also including skins and stalks in the mix that is placed inside the qvevri. This is left to ferment for 3 to 6 months on average. Traditionally no additional maturation in oak is performed, though today some oak aged wines do exist.
Be aware that as well as these traditional qvevri wines, there are plenty of wines in Georgia using local grape varieties (there are estimated to be over 500 grape varietal endemic to Georgia) that are being made in the modern European style. So always ask if you are getting a qvevri wine or not.
Top Vineyards In Georgia
We chose to mainly feature vineyards in Georgia which had at least 1 English speaking staff member during our visit. Some have food options (if booked in advance) some have a full restaurant. Every single option has its own unique reason to visit. Will you visit them all?
I’ve split our top 20 into 3 regions. Kakheti (East), Kartli (Central), Imerieti (West). Kakheti & Kartli are best accessed via Tbilisi airport. Imereti, via Kutaisi airport.
Vineyards in Georgia: Kakheti (East)
Kakheti is by far the biggest wine producing region of Georgia. To learn more about the story of Georgian wine and the types of grapes, in 10 minutes or less, grab a free copy of our Georgian Wine Crash Course PDF.
Here are some of our top picks for Kakheti Wineries. In no particular order.
A small family owned winery that has managed to hold onto a huge amount of land in the centre of the Alazani valley (the main wine producing valley of Kakheti) with stunning, unobstructed views of the Caucasus mountains from their tasting room. But it’s not just about the views, their wines are expertly made and very representative of the local style. They also make a tasty aged Chacha (Georgian grappa). Advanced bookings essential, some English spoken if booked.
At only 75 minutes drive from Tbilisi centre, Guianni is one of the best independent wineries that is closer to Tbilisi. Everything else on this list is 2 or more hours from the city. Guianni is a medium sized winery, built on the same piece of land as the owner’s house. So although it is a full operation with staff, an a la carte restaurant and cooking class options, it still retains the welcome of a family winery.
Giuaani winery have an extensive selection of wines, including those that reflect the Manavi microzone where they are located. Microzone wines can only be made from grapes grown in that specific zone, and to a designated set of specifications. The service is always good here, as is the food & wine. And with such a wide range, they can introduce you to the easier drinking traditional wines, before you visit some of the tiny bio producers later in your trip, where you’ll discover the real farmer wine. Giuaani is a good preparation for your palette to explore a whole new world of wines. Walk ins possible, but better to book in high season.
Mosmieri is a medium size winery that is focused on the German tourism market. They make a wide selection of both Georgian style wines, and European style wines from Georgian grapes. It’s a well organised operation with an excellent a la carte restaurant with views of the mountains. As well as the wine and restaurant complex, they now have a high end hotel behind the winery. Wake up in the countryside to mountain views and, of course, wine if you like! Mosmieri on Booking.com. Walk ins possible, but better to book in high season.
Kardenakhi Wine Factory #1, Kardenakhi
With 700 Qvevris (the traditional wine making clay vessels of Georgia), Kardenakhi Wine Factory #1 has the largest capacity for making Qvevri wine in Georgia. But don’t let the name “factory” fool you. This is very much a traditional operation, not like some of the major corporation style mass production wineries (Badagoni, Tbilvino etc.). Their most important wine is the Tsarapi, which can only be made in their Kardenakhi microzone.
With a history dating back to the 19th century, KWF1 is a unique winery unlike any other on this list. Reservations essential. Book a tour and tasting, or also book traditional local cuisine to eat in the dining room, overlooking the huge factory floor of qvevris.
Miloravas Family Winery & Guesthouse, Telavi
A very small family winery just a few minutes from the centre of Telavi – the largest town in Kakheti. Budget accommodation is available, with the option to eat dinner with some of the family. But the real selling point is the wine. It’s rare to find a selection of international grapes, grown in Georgia. Especially at a small winery of this scale. Montepulciano, Shiraz as well as local Georgian varieties. Reservations for wine tasting essential. Book a room at Milarovas: Booking.com
Cradle of Wine, Signagi
From Wednesday to Sunday, owner Paul (American born Georgian) brings his passion and charisma to wine cellar & bar/restaurant, Cradle of Wine in Signagi. An experimental winemaker, you’ll discover unmarked bottles of incredible variations on classic Georgian wines. In a 1+ hour wine tasting session, you’ll learn about the traditions of both wine making, and wine drinking in Georgia. This is much more than a wine tasting, it’s an interactive cultural education. Sessions run 1pm, 3pm, 5pm Daily. Paul hosts Wed-Sun, with his staff hosting Mon/Tues. Reservations Recommended.
Sanavardo Estate, Napareuli
Sanavardo estate is one of the largest grape producers in the Alazani valley. As you drive through the vines, towards the central complex, with the road lined by poplar trees, you almost feel like you are entering a Tuscan wine estate. However, Sanavardo sells most of their grapes to other producers, rather than making only their own wines.
But, they do still make plenty of wine. Good wine. From all the vineyards I’ve visited in Georgia, I’d give Sanavardo the award for the most representative wines of Georgia. The purest of all the wines. By this I mean, when you taste a saperavi here, it exemplifies the style. Same for the rkatsiteli, the napareuli and many others. If you want to really taste Georgia, all in one range of wines, Sanavardo is the place.
That said, English is not always available, and the location is not as tourist accessible, yet, as it needs to be to make it easy. Tasting is by appointment only. If you want to visit Sanavardo, we offer that as an option as part of our wine tours. Contact [email protected] for more info.
Arge Hotel & Wines, Ikalto
Another perfect location in the north of the Alazani valley, with views of the mountains. Though they primarily characterise themselves as a hotel, their winemaker really surprised us with an exemplary selection of local wines. Enjoy in the garden, the cellar, or the air conditioned conservatory (pictured). What impressed me most about the wine tasting experience here was all the details – the decor is well thought out, the local cheese selection was super interesting and, well, can you see the size of the wine “samples” to try? Might be one of the biggest pours I’ve had for a wine tasting, ever.
We can’t guarantee they’ll always be that generous, but either way, the wine and service were excellent. The hotel rooms, while seemingly pitched as being mid range (in terms of price) feel cheaply put together. But, every room has a balcony and a view either of the mountains to the north, or hills to the south. At only a 10 minute drive to Telavi, everything but the furniture in the rooms make this an excellent choice for a wine tasting stop, or an overnight stay. They even have a pool. Hotel Arge: Booking.com | Agoda
Shilda Wines, Shilda
The shining star of Shilda wines is certainly the glass walled restaurant & tasting room, looking south across their vines. It’s a perfect sunset spot. Shilda is a medium to large size commercial winery making a big selection and exporting a large amount of it. Don’t let that put you off, they don’t produce too many bulk (ie. cheap) wines, so actually they do have an excellent range at a middle price point.
The standard tasting is good, enhanced partly by the setting. But the best thing, is if you can get a special invitation to meet the winemaker, and get the opportunity to drink straight from the fermentation tanks in the factory. Especially if you come late Autumn. This is not something they offer as standard, so you have to know the right people… Which we now do. If you are interested in a meet the winemaker tasting experience at a larger winery, contacts us [email protected] to book a private custom tour. We don’t offer this experience on our standard tours.
Only a few minutes north of Shilda wines, Chubini is a very small home style producer, though they don’t live at the wine cellar. They focus on traditional Georgian wines, 100%, but with a little bit of experimentation as Chubin is run by a young couple. They are making great wines, in limited quantity and were recently featured in an article by CNN (2019). On site, you’ll also meet local dogs and cats. Reservations Essential.
Khareba Wine Tunnel, Kvareli
Khareba is one of the biggest wine producers in Georgia. Although they don’t offer the personal experience you get with the small family wineries, they do have a lot of reasons to visit the main Wine Tunnel site in Kvareli.
First, the 7KM wine tunnel itself. You don’t get to look around the whole 7KM, but you do get to walk through some of the tunnels to the massive wine tasting tunnel (pictured).
They also offer bonus experiences like making traditional Georgian shoti bread (tones Puri) and churchkhela (sweets). Plus, you can see their Chacha room in action – where they make Georgian grappa. The full service restaurant above the vineyard has an amazing view of the valley and great food with wine priced from… $1 per litre. They do have many more premium wines too though!
That said, this is a very touristy stop that is featured on all the big bus tours, and a lot of the smaller ones. I still think its an interesting stop, but if you want non-touristy, avoid Khareba.
Twins Wine Cellar, Napareuli
The owner at Twins always has his eye on a business opportunity, so Twins is a mix of mid sized commercial and family style. Good news if you want to get to do some fun wine activities like stomp grapes yourself with your feet! Unlike other vineyards which mostly only offer this stomping briefly at harvest time (or, for most places, it’s not available at all), Twins have some early harvest grapes so you can start picking in late August and then stomp the grapes you picked.
Their focus is more on home style wines, than premium wines, but for a bulk style producer, they are doing some tasty stuff. Since our first visit in 2016, they’ve expanded a lot. They also now have mid range accommodation with a pool: Booking.com | Agoda
Numisi Cellar Museum, Mukuzani
We loved Numisi wine cellar for their quirky museum. Tours are mostly in Georgian but tours in English are sometimes available if someone is around that day who happens to speak English (Or you can book in advance). The wine is also pretty good (home bulk style), we didn’t get premium wine. Rather than a “tasting” it’s pretty common in Georgian wineries with home wine, rather than bottled premium wine, that you get a jug of wine rather than a sip of wine! Between 3 people we got a 1/2 litre jug of both red and white. That’s a serious “tasting”.
Shumi is quite a large producer and they make some really good mid price wines. The star of their vineyard though is the very old Qvevri in their museum (3000BC) and their grape garden – featuring some 100 or so different grape varieties all in one little plot. The wines vary from mass produced, to a few better wines. Walk ins are possible. They also have a restaurant.
Our Secret Wineries of Kakheti…
Above we offer quite a selection, but we are holding back some of our favourite options and the best wines, just for email subscribers and guests of our Food & Wine Tours. Subscribe below for more info and get our wine route itineraries where we reveal some of our secret picks we don’t want all the tourists to know about… Or, learn more about booking a wine tour with us.
Vineyards in Georgia: Kartli (Central)
Kartli is the large central region that surrounds the capital of Tbilisi. They cultivate different grapes from Kakheti, making for some completely different wine. Although production scale is smaller than kakheti, if you are based in Tbilisi and only have a short amount of time in Georgia, the visiting Kartli is a shorter day trip than Kakheti’s Alazani valley.
To learn more about the story of Georgian wine and the types of grapes, in 10 minutes or less, grab a free copy of our Georgian Wine Crash Course PDF.
High quality versions of the most typical types of grape varieties from Kartli region. Taste wines in the family cellar, or the garden. Take a cooking class with the family and learn about how they make their wines. Excellent English spoken.
Gogi Dvalishvili Wine Cellar (Near Gori)
Giogi’s place is a real home winery. You enter through his house, and down to his personal cellar where we tasted a really interesting selection of premium wines – including a rose. As well as being a former member of the Georgian national dance team, Giogi has become an expert winemaker, taking over the business from his father and expanding. Reservations essential. His father also hosts guests, but does not speak English.
Vineyards in Georgia: Imereti (West)
Imereti region is famous for it’s food and wine, especially white wines. If you’ll be arriving to Georgia via Kutaisi or Batumi airport, the Imereti region will be far more convenient to visit than Kartli or Kakheti.
To learn more about the story of Georgian wine and the types of grapes, in 10 minutes or less, grab a free copy of our Georgian Wine Crash Course PDF.
Baia’s Winery (Near Kutaisi)
Baia is one of Georgia’s top Female entrepreneurs with a focus on bespoke small batch qvevri wines – especially white wines with a magical hint of honey aftertaste. Baia’s winery focuses on 100% organic processes, but due to the prohibitive cost of international certification, it’s almost impossible for independent Georgian wineries to afford to get certified.
When you visit you’ll discover how they follow organic methodology as well as having the option for some fantastic home cooked food!
There are many vineyards near Kutaisi (State of Imereti) out in rural areas, surrounded by rolling hills. It’s possible to visit a few in one day trip, and of course, you won’t want to drive. Driver/guides are very affordable in Georgia. So we just hired an english speaking driver for the day and told him which wineries to take us to. He called ahead and organised wine tastings and food. Baia’s is well known by local guides.
If you can’t find the guide you want, contact us below and we can set you up with some trusted local guides.
Vine Bridge – ვაზის ხიდი – (Near Kutaisi)
Vine Bridge is a brand new facility with big plans to become the must visit vineyard near Kutaisi Airport. They are building a wine hotel. They are also focusing on Georgia’s most successful wine variety – Saperavi (Red) – even though Saperavi does not grow well near Kutaisi. Instead, they are transporting grapes from east Georgia in order to make the Saperavi on site. The Saperavi was excellent!
This one is not well listed online yet. Search “Vine Bridge” on our Georgia Wineries Map below for the location.
If you’ll be flying into Kutaisi airport, or visiting that region (Imereti), Also check out our Things To Do In Kutaisi & Imereti Guide for attractions, restaurants and more.
Secret Home Winery & Bottle Museum (Near Kutaisi)
We visited a few very homely vineyards. Most families in the countryside make their own wine. It’s just a part of life. Some make extra wine to sell or send to family in the city. Some are listed on the national wine route (brown road signs), but when you turn up at their door, they don’t speak any English. Which can make things tricky. On our map below I list a few of the home wineries that are very much just someone’s house selling off some excess wine.
However, there are some places that are not on the wine routes, which you need a local guide to visit. Essentially, you are just getting invited to someone’s home for a drink. The most interesting of these we did was in a small village near Kutaisi. The homeowner actually broke the seal on one of his qvevris and served us the first new glass of Georgian amber wine (pictured). This was a pretty unique experience. In addition, he has a private museum of old Soviet and Georgian bottles and memorabilia.
The only way to visit is with a local guide, you can’t turn up by yourself and it’s not listed anywhere – it’s just a private residential home. If too many people go, the guy will likely start turning people away, so even with a guide, there is no guarantee.
To have a chance for this sort of experience, or to get shown around the other vineyards and nature of the Kutaisi area, we can book you in with one of our local guides. Contact us [email protected]
Recommended Georgia Wine Tour Itinerary Options
We are travel bloggers based in Tbilisi (Originally from UK/Australia) and we’ve been lucky enough to make some great contacts with guides and drivers, as well as explore a lot of Georgian Vineyards. To plan the best wine trip possible, subscribe to our Georgian Wine Mailing list below for all our insider tips.
Wine Trips From Tbilisi (To Kakheti Wine Region)
Almost all the generic “Wine Tours” from Tbilisi that are being hawked to tourists at a low price (less than $50 per person) consist of a long drive to the Kakheti region (east Georgia – 2 hours each way) with tourist stops for scenery, a tourist attraction (church/convent etc) a visit perhaps to 1 or 2 large commercial wineries and a stop for lunch (at own expense).
Very few of the tours described as “wine tours” really provide any sort of artisan or meet the winemaker experience. They are a very brief intro to the landscape and a couple of short, generic tastings. For real wine lovers who may want to visit at least 3 wineries during a full day trip, to explore the unique differences between the wine, the basic wine tours will likely disappoint.
To visit Kakheti region, although a fast and long 1 day trip is possible, I highly recommend an overnight trip. Then you can have a full day in the region the second day and head back to Tbilisi on the second evening. If you don’t have time for a 2 day trip, then a 1 day trip to Mtskheta & Shida Kartli region, north of Tbilisi, involves way less hours driving, so a shorter day, still with some incredible wineries and attractions to visit – more time doing/tasting, less time driving.
To help you plan the perfect trip, we’ve put together a primer (a crash course guide) to Georgian wine – because, seriously, unless you are already an expert in natural wines and 8000 year old traditional winemaking, everything you think you know about wine production is going to change once you learn about Georgia.
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Wine Trips From Kutaisi (West Georgia)
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How To Visit Georgian Wineries
Be aware, a wine tasting at an independent Georgian winery is nothing like a wine tasting elsewhere in the world. They don’t offer you a sip of a couple of wines with the intention to sell you a bottle. Instead, they offer full servings (75-150ml. 3 to 6oz) of each wine – maybe 2 to 6 wines. Plus shots of the local chacha (Georgian grappa). Once you finish the tasting, they often offer you bonus wine and shots.
You pay a fee for the wine tastings. Very few places do a free wine tasting. While different from what you may be used to, once you have this level of hospitality, you will realise why Georgia is one of the most fun wine destinations out there.
Only the very big commercial wineries have the facility to always accept walk ins, so for independent places, booking in advance is essential – or there may be no-one there to meet you, or if their is, they may not speak English.
Self Drive… Are You Crazy?
If you happen to have a designated driver, willing to stay sober, and familiar with the mad overtaking, pot holes and no rules driving style of Eastern Europe, then sure, self drive. We did that a couple of times on our first trip in 2016… Now we always hire a driver. Because it’s really affordable anyway, and means no spitting wine, and no spitting swear words at other drivers all day.
Driving conditions and google maps are both unreliable at this time in Georgia – yes, still, in 2020. Plus, once you do 1 Georgian wine tasting, you shouldn’t be driving (see above)… So we don’t recommend renting a car to do this trip. If you must self drive, Kayak has options for rental. If you want to go to areas away from main routes, consider getting a better vehicle, not the fiesta/micra size cars – roads marked as real are often tracks. If renting for a short period, From $35 per day minimum normally. For longer periods, $25 per day is possible on very small cars.
Hired Driver – Self Guided
Hiring a driver is surprisingly affordable in Georgia. With prices ranging from $100 to $150 USD per day, including fuel, for a vehicle with 4 to 7 passenger seats (+ Driver). A driver can save you all the hassle of having to drive yourself, so you whole group can enjoy those big wine tastings.
We can provide you with an affordable local driver, and we can send them the itinerary of your choice (Subscribe above to get those for free) so they can take you to the right places.
However – with the cheaper self-guided trip, You will be responsible for contacting the wineries yourself to make reservations for tastings, and book accommodation as needed. Most, not all, wineries will have an English speaking member of staff on site most days if booked. So it’s up to you to organise this.
Email [email protected] to request a driver. Let us know:
- How many guests
- Your Dates
- Region you want to go to / number of days
- Departing from (which city – Tbilisi, Telavi, Kutaisi?)
Full Guided Tour With Driver
Our partner company Eat This! Food & Wine Tours offer private, small group tours to artisan wineries, including meet the winemaker experiences, cooking classes in local villages and much more. We handle everything for you, to insure you have an amazing wine adventure. We do the logistics, and the driving, so you can focus on the wine, food and scenery and have a great trip without the stress.
Full online booking options will be available very soon. Until then, Email [email protected] with your dates and request. It’s well worth subscribing above to our mailing list too, so you can learn more about our itineraries.
Wine Tasting In Tbilisi
Can’t make it out to the countryside to visit a vineyard in Georgia? Taste Georgian wine in the capital, Tbilisi, instead.
The most fun wine tasting classes in Tbilisi are at 8000 vintages. Join a group, get to know new people and enjoy a really interactive experience with their expert sommelier. Contact 8000 vintages on Facebook in advance for dates and times of classes. They now have branches in Vake, Saburtalo and near to Opera (Rustaveli). So no matter where you are staying, you can find one close by. That said, I still think the original in Saburtalo has the best classes.
They blind taste every wine they stock, so quality is insured across the whole range of prices.
Wine Factory #1
Wine factory is a refurbished… Wine factory. They used to make lots of wine in central Tbilisi. This 100+ year old facility closed down a long while back, but it’s recently re-opened as a food and entertainment complex. It’s been tastefully done and, right in the centre of the site, you’ll find wine factory #1. They have a huge selection of bottles, you can pick them off the shelf, and just sit and drink. Everything from 6 lari ($2 USD) a bottle to 200+ lari ($75 USD). They have food too.
Located between Vera & Vake areas, just north of Rustaveli avenue.
Karalashvili Wine Cellar
Wine tasting, rather than a full class, is awesome at Karalashvili wine cellar in downtown Tbilisi. Try a well prepared selection of wines in an old wine cellar, free initial tasting then from 5 to 9 lari a glass. From traditional whites to aged reds. The service is great and the old cellar has been there for over 100 years (though I don’t know if it was always a wine bar!) We loved it so much we even got some of our wedding photos done there after we got married in Tbilisi.
All the wines are made by the family.
The only place in Tbilisi, at time of writing, that has nitrogen sealed wine dispensing. This means they can have a wide range of premium wines available by the glass, stored perfectly in sealed cabinets. Grab a charge card, and dispense wines you are interested in, with different size servings. Located behind the parliament building, a few minutes walk from freedom square.
Georgia Wineries Map
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To See What Each Colored Region Is Called, Open The Index Key Using The Button On The Top Left Of The Map Window – This will also reveal the names of wineries.
In order to search winery names from above, open the map in full screen using the top right icon.
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