the wine cellars : even in the Georgian wine region Kakheti
there is no tradition of visiting the wine cellars, to try a glass or
two and buy a couple of bottles. Often are the wine cellars of the industrial
type that looks like a factory with pipelines all over the place that
as well could be for petroleum. At the smaller wine cellars you have
the chance to be taken in as guest and then there will not be any bottles
sold then bottles will get emptied! The wine harvest season in Georgia
(called rtveli in Georgian language) is from 10 september to the beginning
of october. Outside that time you can also visit the wine cellars but
there will not be much activity. I visited the following wine houses
in Kvareli :
Wine house Kindzmarauli Joint Stock Company : gray port on the back side of the castle football field in the centre of Kvareli. This is more a storage factory for wine, the wine bottling happens logically only in september. Closed on saturdays and sundays. Irma (phone +995-93322899) speaks english, but doesn't have very much to tell; open 10-18.
Wine house Vina Gruzie : take the way to the Kindzmarauli tunnel
in the mountain side; about 5km east of Kvareli. At the end of the road is a board indicated with "Kindzmarauli" if you continue straight you arrive at Vina Gruzie. If you continue the road to the right at the two entrances of the famous tunnel you arrive at a modern wine storage place, they have no bottling, the wine barrels get transported by tanker to Russia. The laboratory is very modern and they produce good wine. Open 9-16, sat/sun closed, phone
899-901447, Mr. Emzale speaks only Russian, when he speaks! He wasn't very talkative during my visit.
Tunnel cave for wine storage :
this legendary tunnel, 5 km east of Kvareli
(40 minute walk) you reach by turning right at Vina Gruzie, the first entrance to the cave in the mountain side is always closed; 500 meter further is the main entrance, recognizable on the wine pipes that lead the wine into the cave. The 8km long tunnel in the mountain contain 13 side paths where in each a different wine farmer store his wine at the constant temperature of 7°C.
The guard would not let me in so I waited until a wine farmer came around, who immediately invited me to be his guest.
It was the sympathetic Levon Gigineishvili
from Green House, who showed me around in the dark cave full of wine barrels. He also opened a few of the barrels to allow me a taste and invited me to his village where I got served a huge delicious Georgian lunch.
After eating and a bit of rest Levon brought me out on the fields to see the wine stocks, after a few hours on the fields it was time for the dinner, a real feast including a lot of singing with his whole family and friends! Finally, very late, I stumbled happy and full of good food and wine into the cozy guest bed of my new friends house.
Restaurants in Kvareli : upon entering Kvareli
is there on the right hand side along the main road a red house about 1km before the centre where they serve very tasty shashlik and fried gigantic oyster mushrooms served as beef.
Gremi monastery : 10 km before Kvareli along the big road to Telavi
you find Gremi monastery - and church complex, you can not miss it.
Kochiaoba Feast : a yearly celebration on the 21st of may in a small village situated in between Telavi-Kvareli. They do a sort of fun fair around an uninteresting church, traditional wrestling competitions between young farmers accompanied by typical Georgian feast music.
Travel by public transport : Mini busses Telavi - Kvareli, 45 minutes
riding, the tickets cost 1.5 lari, about 5 busses per day.