Kakheti: semi desert and underground wineries

Kakheti: semi desert and underground wineries

Kakheti: semi desert and underground wineries

 Only those who read this blog carefully can remember that sometimes there pops up a superhero called Saperaviman, strong, energizing and intoxicating, who fights against evil powers, drinks saperavi and never feels hangover.

I mean, of course that’s me. And this weekend I decided to fight against sadness in my mum’s head, and brought her to Kakheti with help of my friend Levan, who usually organizes more extreme and challenging trips. But who said that fighting against sadness is not challenging? So, we went to Kakheti, Eastern Georgian rural region famous for its wines. The landscapes there is totally different from what you saw in my blog before.

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If you got used to high mountains covered with green forest or snow, forget it here. Semi-desert! Red bold stone hills! Vineyards! Lakes with white salty banks!

Devastation and poverty. Sometimes. Shepherds who will bring their flocks to Tusheti highlands, as spring comes. Wet newborn lambs and huge aggressive dogs near them.image

David Gareji, one of the starting points for spreading Christianity in Georgia: an ancient monastery where old channels for gathering water and brand new solar batteries are being used.imageimage

Small villages on the main road to Sighnaghi: each of them is locally famous for something. Manavi for churchkhela, Kachreti for meat (people say that mtsvadi / shashlik there is great), Mzisguli for buffalo matsoni. I ate two big churchkhelas, and I could eat more, if I would not need some place for a clay pot of fresh tender matsoni.image

Sighnaghi, so called city of love, is cute. I do like the view over Alazani valley and small wineries (as a Saperaviman I paid a visit not just to famous “Pheasant’s Tears”, but to random ones). But I would stayed overnight there just in case I would be a newlywed person, if you know what I mean. Visiting museum or Ethnographic park, eating a good lunch with wine and chacha, walking a bit and taking a ride to Bodbe monastery can be done in one day.image

Next stop was Kvareli and its famous Khareba winery with underground tunnel. Before it was an air-raid shelter. Generally, there are so many ex-military objects in Kakheti, that it makes me sad.

We took a tour + wine probe for 12 lari/person: in this case you get two glasses of wine on your choice + some cheese, fruits, bread and grape pit oil made at the same factory. If you take more expensive variant, you get 4 wines, churchkhela and chacha 🙂 As you might know, wine in Georgia is made in two ways: “European” (in wooden barrels) and “Georgian” (in buried clay pots). We enjoyed some Georgian sorts: saperavi and krakhuna.

imageimageThis huge iron barrel is my homie: it was made in Ukraine in 60s 🙂image

The park of winery is also nice. Was quite surprised, as I saw Svan tower there, in the heart of Eastern Georgian region. Of course, a very new one, but still 🙂image

Considered to take a surname Rapuntseliani after. Yes, my hair is too short for throwing it down to a candidate, but who said that it must be that easy? 🙂
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imageComeback to city was not easy too: with all my love to Tbilisi, it would be great to stay outside a bit longer, try a bit more kvevri wine, walk in Gareji a bit longer… But yeah, there is always time for Kakheti, as you live in Georgia. Always!

About Dariko

Born in Ukraine, now Tbilisi-based. Love seeing new places.