What type of wine is the most common in Georgia
30 November, 2018
What type of wine is the most common in Georgia
Georgia is known as a cradle of wine. There are around 530 vine species in Georgia, but the most common are Rkatsiteli, Saperavi, Mtsvane, Khikhvi, Kisi, Chinuri, Tsolikouri, Tsitska, Krakhuna, Aleksandrouli, Ojaleshi, Chkhaveri and Aladasturi.

Each of these species differ from one another with taste, color, flavor and aroma. Sometimes they mix two of the species with each other, for example Tsolikouri and Tsitska or Saperavi and Chinuri. The aim is to get wine with richer aroma and taste.

In this
article we explore features of some of these species that are the most common in Georgia.


Rkatsiteli is used to make white wine. This type of vine originates in Georgia. Here clay vessels were found with seeds of Rkatsiteli grapes which date back to 3000 BC. Due to its popularity in the Soviet Union Rkatsiteli was at one point responsible for more the 18% of all Soviet wine production. It was used to make everything from table wine to liqueurs to Sherry-like fortified wine. Prior to President Gorbachev's vine pull scheme, it was possibly the world's most widely planted white wine grape.

There were many attempts to create a sparkling wine from the grape but its naturally high alcohol levels prevented it from being much of a success.

Read more: Aladasturi – wine gifted from the god

Apart from Georgia, Rkatsiteli is planted in some of the Eastern European countries like Russia, Bulgaria, Moldova, Romania, Macedonia, Azerbaijan and Ukraine.

Due to high acidity of Rkatsiteli, winemakers try to pick the grapes as late as possible in order to maximize the sugar balance to offset the acidity.
Rkatsiteli. Photo courtesy: winery-khareba.com


Saperavi is a native vine type in Georgia and it is used to make many of the region's most well-known wines, like Kindzmarauli, Mukuzani, Akhasheni and others. It is known to have been in production since 1886. Saperavi grapes produce very deep red wines that are suitable for extended aging. Saperavi is a hardy variety, known for its ability to handle extremely cold weather. It is grown in high altitude and inland regions such as Kakheti.
Saperavi. Photo courtesy: plantgrape.plantnet-project.org

Read more: Georgian Cuisine Festival held in Hamburg, Germany

Saperavi originated in the Kakheti region, Eastern Georgia. Archeological research shows evidence of cultivation of Saperavi dating back to 5000 BC.


Khikhvi is common in Kakheti, but there are vines with similar name almost all over Georgia. It is believed that this type of vine was originated in 3-4 century. Khikhvi is known for its high consistency of sugar and make white wine from that. It is possible to make Classic European or Kakhetian wines (Qvevri wine) from Khikhvi.

They used to make dessert wine from Khikhvi for decades. It is possible to mix Khikhvi wine with other species that make Khikhvi even more delicious.

Georgian Qvevri. A wine vessel made from clay. Photo courtesy: allwine.ge


Tsolikouri is grown mainly in western Imereti, district of Georgia to make white wine. Out of 400 different types of grapes in the country, Tsolikouri is among the most widespread varieties. Nearly 90 percent of vineyards in western Georgia grow Tsolikauri. It has been used for production of premium dry, semi-sweet and semi-dry wines. Vyacheslav Molotov, former Soviet statesman used to say that Tsolikouri was one of favorite wines of Joseph Stalin.


Aleksandrouli is a Georgian red grape variety. It is used in Georgia to produce a semi-sweet red wine known as Khvanchkara (Joseph Stalin's another favourite wine) or as a medium bodied, semi-dry Mujuretuli.
Georgian Marani or wine cellar. Photo courtesy: allwine.ge
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