Georgian Wines represent history, religion & mythology

By Spiritz Desk
New Update
Georgian Wines represent history, religion & mythology

Award-winning Georgian vintner, Alexandre Japaridze, a second- generation winemaker from Kakheti, Georgia is the Chief Vintner at Tsereteli Wine & Spirits. The Georgian region’s wine culture goes back
8000 years and it is replete with rich history, mythology and passion. The wines from here have won several international awards and are making their presence felt world over. Alexandre Japaridze in this exclusive interview with Neeta Lal shares the uniqueness of Kakheti region in wine cultivation, the Georgian wine culture, what makes Tsereteli Wine & Spirits stand out in the competition and many other interesting issues.


Please elaborate on the Georgian wine culture.

In Georgia, wine is not just a drink or a business. It is an intrinsic part of our culture, national identity and heritage. Our folklore is full of literature dedicated to the grapevine and wine. In every Georgian family, especially in the villages, people make their own wine for consumption as well as celebration. Good winemakers are accorded a higher social status in Georgia. Our family feast `supra’ involves a lot of wine toasting and eating.


Traditional winemaking in Georgia has always been a familial affair, intertwined with history, religion and mythology. Legend has it that our soldiers wove a piece of grapevine on their chests, so that if they died in battle, a vine could sprout from their hearts! This is how much we love our wines.

What makes the Kakheti region unique for wine cultivation?

Kakheti is famous for its history of wine production and its terroir is excellent for the cultivation of several
unique grape species. Our vineyards are cultivated at an altitude of 250-800 meters above sea level which also bestows them with a raft of micro climates as well as humid subtropical and continental climates, pivotal for producing good quality wines. Our signature wines are from Rkatsiteli and Saperavi grapes, both of which have become the face of this winemaking region.

How are you harnessing old and new production methods to make wines which appeal to all types of palates?

Interestingly, despite Georgia’s famous artisanal wines which have a formidable pedigree, there is increasingly more investment in modern winemaking technologies from our large and vibrant community of quality winemakers. For instance, Tsereteli Wines produces a diverse portfolio of international award-winning wines including the Mkhargrdzeli, Ghvinis Tetri, Khikhvi and Rkatsiteli Rosé.
The company’s two customised lines: Zurab Tsereteli and Marani Tsereteli have been well received domestically as well as across Europe, the UK, USA, Azerbaijan and China.


Please tell us about the qvevri wine production method that Georgia is so famous for.

A qvevri is a large, urn-like clay vessel with a specific shape. In Georgian language, qvevri means ‘buried in the ground,’ which also refers to the essence of this special wine making technique. The qvevri is buried in the ground but with the top exposed above the ground to facilitate the vinification process. It is sealed with a wooden or stone cover which is wrapped in a layer of clay that acts as a sealant.

The opening of a qvevri after six months usually takes place in spring and is a joyous occasion, similar to harvest festivals across the world. It is accompanied by feasting and celebrations. It is a great time for visitors to come here to partake in the revelry and try our delicious juicy wines.

What makes Georgian wines different?

Georgia has 525 endemic grape varieties, many of which grow (or once grew) in the fertile Kakheti region. The Kakheti region cultivates around 70 percent of the country’s grape harvest. Essentially, it is the polyphenols (molecules that form in the plants from sugar) contained in the grape skin that gives Georgian wines its beautiful taste, fragrance and unique flavour.

The Georgian wine’s colour may range from dark yellow to blood orange colour while its heady fragrance emanates from qvevris. Qvevri wines are highly tannic, due to contact with the grape skins. They have a nuttiness, with top notes of apricot and peach, and an earthy aroma.


In a market crowded with quality winemakers, how does Tsereteli Wine distinguish itself?

We are proud to produce the finest quality Georgian natural wine and spirits and hope to expand our repertoire in the local and international markets. Our encouraging trajectory and excellent feedback from wine lovers and experts gives us a lot of encouragement. We have also been the proud recipients of several international awards, prominent among which is the Mundus vini 2022 – Marani Tsereteli, SaperaviQvevri – Gold Medal, Decanter 2022.