Best wineries and vineyards in Georgia (country) — our complete guide

tbilisi georgia country

While it may not be the most popular destination, you might be surprised by how much Georgia has to offer. Very high on that list are the country’s truly sublime wines and delicious cuisine.

If you clicked here to figure out your next wine and dine outing somewhere in Atlanta, Georgia, confusing the two places — do not click away! We’re sure that after reading our article you will have your next transatlantic flight all ready to go: Georgian wine is one hundred percent worth the travel miles! So, get your pen and paper ready, as you are about to get a taste of the best wineries in Georgia (the country)!

Article contents

  1. Georgia’s famous wine regions
  2. 7 best wineries & vineyards in Georgia
    2.1. Chubini Winery & Cabins
    2.2. Château Mukhrani
    2.3. Vineria Kakheti
    2.4. Kakhetian House Vakirelebi
    2.5. Nika Vacheishvili’s Guest House and Marani
    2.6. Hotel and Wine Cellar ARGE
    2.7. Toma’s Wine Cellar
  3. Our list of 10 coolest winery hotels in Georgia
  4. Our tips for traveling to Georgia country

Georgia’s wine regions

alazani valley

Georgia’s wine-making traditions date back thousands of years. It’s the oldest wine-producing country in Europe and arguably in the entire world. What makes Georgian wines special is the ancient wine-making method that uses Qvevri, egg-shaped terracotta vessels, to produce, age, and store wine. Georgia boasts plenty of distinct wine zones, but the main nine regions are usually the focus of everybody’s attention:

  • Kakheti
  • Kartli
  • Mtskheta-Mtianeti
  • Meskheti
  • Imereti
  • Racha-Lechkhumi
  • Guria
  • Ajara
  • and Samegrelo

Kakheti and Kartli are the closest to Tbilisi, making them the most accessible to tourists. The Kakheti region is Georgia’s most prolific wine region: It accounts for 70% of national wine production and prides itself on having some of the best wineries in Georgia. That is why most of the wineries we recommend in this guide are located in Kakheti. Kakheti is also home to the famous Alazani Valley — not just a legendary wine brand, but also a spectacular natural site.

For a wine-tasting experience with breathtaking views of the valley, book a room at Hotel & Wine Cellar ARGE, Shaloshvili’s Cellar Hotel, or Hotel Tela & Mareli Winery, — all amazing choices if you don’t want to dig deeper into the topic.

How to get to Georgia’s wine regions?

Mountains in Georgia Georgia’s wine

If you fly into Tbilisi and have a tight sightseeing schedule, your best choices for a wine tasting experience would be Kakheti and Kartli due to their proximity to the capital. The other wine regions are within a few hours’ drive from Tbilisi, but that shouldn’t be a deal-breaker for true wine enthusiasts.

Possibly the most affordable way to get to the best wineries in Georgia is public transport. Marshrutka vans shuttle between Tbilisi’s major stations and the country’s most popular wine-tasting destinations.

Seasoned travelers will probably want to rent a car, and that’s easily arranged via services like LocalRent and Discover Cars. For those who like to explore on their own, the Georgian National Tourism Administration has put together the Wine Route Guidebook (available for download here) and placed WINE ROUTE brown signs along roads and highways to help you find your way around. Note that the guidebook was published way back in 2019, so make sure you stick to our up-to-date tips and tricks when navigating the Georgian outback in search of your next in vino veritas fix!

However, since wine tourism and driving don’t really mix, you might want to consider renting a car with a private driver. GoTrip service gives you a chance to visit all of the wineries you want without a worry in the world — you can create your own itinerary and make unlimited stops on the way. I’m not even mentioning the affordable rates they have for these kinds of services. That is probably the easiest way to get from Tbilisi to Kakheti and other wine regions.

Or, for the most effortless experience, book a tour of the best vineyards in Georgia. A wide variety of organized tours for any taste and budget are available on GetYourGuide and Viator.

7 best wineries & vineyards in Georgia

Georgia’s wine bottles

Before we look into some of the best wineries and vineyards to visit in Georgia, here’s Georgian wine 101. There is a reason why Georgia holds the title of possibly the oldest wine-producing nation in the world. It is home to over 500 indigenous grape varieties (of the existing 3,000). More than half of the country’s vineyards are planted with white wine grapes, and the rest is reserved for red. The most prominent Georgian grape varieties are Rkatsiteli (white) and Saperavi (red). Rarer kinds include Goruli Mtsvane, and Chinuri (whites), Shavkapito and Tavkveri (reds), to name a few. If you want to witness the renowned process of grape picking (rtveli) when in Georgia, keep in mind that the grape harvest begins in September, and plan your trip accordingly.

Let’s get this wine-tasting party started! For ease of navigation, we’ve tagged each winery with its location, distance from Tbilisi, and availability of accommodation on site. You will find that most wineries in this guide are small family-owned businesses that don’t offer accommodation. For more recommendations of hotels for a one or two-day wine getaway in Georgia, please see the dedicated section at the end of the article.

Chubini Winery & Cabins

Chubini Winery & Cabins Chubini Winery & Cabins 2

Location: Shilda, Kakheti
Drive from Tbilisi: 2–3 hours
Accommodation on site: yes (from $70 per night)

Experience the true spirit of Georgian wine-making in a place where tradition meets modernity. This small, family-owned winery will envelop you in the atmosphere of authentic Georgian hospitality thanks to a lovely main cottage with a fireplace, great wine and cheese, and a heart-warming chat with the owners. The story of Chubini’s wine cellar is a story of a man who moved to the countryside to escape the hustle and bustle of the capital. There, he started his own winery at the foot of the Caucasus Mountains.

Chubini’s wines are limited edition, as the producer focuses on superb quality rather than quantity (with the whole production operation being quite small). The winery offers three Qvevri wine varieties: Saperavi dry red, Rkatsiteli dry amber, and Rkatsiteli Chinuri dry amber. The owners seem to put their heart into everything they do, from making wine to welcoming guests. A typical visit includes a tour of the winery, a tasting session of authentic Qvevri wines, and dinner (optional). If you decide to stay the night, there are a few quaint cabins on the property, — waking up here after a successful supra (the traditional Georgian wine feast) to a stunning view of the mountain range is a once-in-a-lifetime experience!

The hosts at Chubini speak perfect English. Pets are welcome at both the winery and the hotel at no extra cost (there are very friendly dogs and cats on the property already, for pet-less visitors who appreciate the four-legged friends!). If you are looking for the best winery in Kakheti, this may be it!

Château Mukhrani

Chateau Mukhrani

Location: Mukhrani, Mtskheta-Mtianeti
Drive from Tbilisi: 1 hour
Accommodation on site: no; 3* Hameau Mukhrani Hotel (rooms start from $70 a night) is a 2-minute drive away

Built by a Georgian prince in the late 19th century, this estate is home to one of the oldest and best wineries in Georgia. Soviet rule left the château and its vineyards in a deplorable state, but today, most of its former splendor has been restored, to the delight of thousands of visitors from all over the world. Château Mukhrani’s vineyards occupy over 100 hectares of land and feature both international grape varieties, like Cabernet, Chardonnay, and Sauvignon Blanc, and local ones, like Saperavi and Rkatsiteli. The winery’s greatest pride, however, are their rare varieties: Goruli Mtsvane (white), Shavkapito (red), and Tavkveri (red).

Many tourists come here to take a good look at the château’s luxurious interiors, savor some of the best wines in Georgia, and enjoy Georgian cuisine. This is a very busy place during the high season (August and September), which makes advanced bookings essential for a visit. The minimum price for a tour is 20 GEL ($7.50) per person; this includes a tour of the estate and winery, a stroll through the vineyards, and a discount at the shop. The same tour with a tasting session will cost you at least 40 GEL/$15 (the prices rise in accordance to the number of wines you’re planning to taste). Additional options include classes on food and wine pairings and on chacha distillation.

Reservations can be made through the Château’s official website. Please remember that the site offers no accommodation, so make arrangements before coming all the way down here.

Vineria Kakheti

usakhelouri wine

Location: Tokhliauri, Kakheti
Drive from Tbilisi: 1 hour
Accommodation on site: no; nearest hotels and guesthouses are in Sagarejo, a 10-minute drive away

Vineria Kakheti, a wine cellar located not far from Tbilisi, is owned by the Dugladze Wine Company, one of Georgia’s most famous family-owned wineries. Prepare for a true feast: At Vineria Kakheti, the wine flows, laughter rings through the room, and the delicious aroma of shashlik (skewered assortment of meats) tickles your nose. As you approach, you will be welcomed by a cheerful host with a shot of chacha in the front yard. As the chacha wipes away any and all of your travel anxieties, you can proceed to the Qvevri-packed wine cellar, where you can sample a selection of exquisite whites from a traditional Georgian khantsi drinking horn. Your next stop is an assortment of sublime reds.

And the best part? The wine tasting sessions here are highly informative and wildly entertaining! There are three package options: You can either taste seven, ten, or fifteen of their very best wines (chacha is included in all of them, by the way). The prices vary depending on the option chosen as well as the number of people in the group — shoot for anywhere from 15 GEL to 100 GEL ($5–$40) per person. It’s all worth it though!

No matter what option you choose, you’re guaranteed to love the wine so much that you certainly won’t be able to resist buying a bottle or two — or five! Dugladze factory shop offers over 150 varieties of Georgian wine and spirits, with prices starting at around 20 GEL ($7.50). To add a personal touch, ask the owner to sign your bottles. The winery also has a lovely botanical garden where you can feed and pet rabbits, goats, and ducks before you drop by the restaurant for a delicious meal in the traditional Georgian style.

If you’re not strapped for time, you can also dive deeper into the intricacies of Georgian cuisine — just sign up for one of the provided cooking classes and learn how to make khinkali, churchkhela, khachapuri, or traditional Georgian bread. Note that the classes, as well as participation in harvest (rtveli), chacha distillation, and the crown jewel activity of the wine tasting at Vineria Kakheti are all very popular with visitors, so make sure to book your timeslots in advance.

The winery is perfect to visit on a tour; but keep in mind that the site offers no accommodation!

Side note: Vineria Kakheti’s owner claims they have a product designed jointly with the French brand Chanel (Muscat Dessert Wine). Marketing trick or not, none of the girls in my tour group could resist getting a bottle of the Chanel wine. It’s delicious, too, especially if you are into sweet wines.

Kakhetian House Vakirelebi

georgian wine horn

Location: Vakiri, Kakheti
Drive from Tbilisi: 2 hours
Accommodation on site: no; 4* Kabadoni Boutique Hotel (from $70 a night) is a 13-minute drive away

As the name suggests, Kakhetian House Vakirelebi is the ultimate Georgian home experience. This family home with a stunning view of the valley is surrounded by vineyards and orchards. The owners have been cultivating grapes for four generations, and currently produce three organic wine varieties — Rkatsiteli amber dry, Saperavi red dry, and Vakirula red dry (and chacha).

The hosts treat their guests to traditional Kakhetian home-made meals and heart-warming wine-tasting sessions in their wine cellar, all to the hypnotizing rhythms of folk music. Much like the previous entrant on our list of Georgia’s best wineries and vineyards, Vakirelebi Winery also offers cooking classes, where visitors can make their own khinkali or churchkhela. Those who come in September will get a chance to actually harvest and press the grapes, too! If you book in advance, you can order vegetarian options for your meal (all ingredients here are farm-to-table, by the way). The family speaks very little English, but all of them are proficient in the language of overpowering Georgian hospitality, which makes the experience all the more authentic.

A typical visit will cost you around 150 GEL/$56 (250 GEL/$93 if you decide to go all out with tastings, harvesting, and cooking classes). Please, keep in mind that the family doesn’t have any guest rooms, so you might have to look for a place to stay in Sighnaghi (about six miles away).

Side note: If you don’t have a car, there’s a great tour that covers all the major sights of Kakheti and Sighnaghi. Wine tasting is, of course, a valuable part of the itinerary, but it’s not the sole focus. The tour is definitely a pretty exciting option if you would like to get to know this wine region better in both the cultural and historical sense.

Nika Vacheishvili’s Guest House and Marani

Nika Vacheishvili's Guest House and Marani

Location: Didi Ateni, Kartli
Drive from Tbilisi: 2 hours
Accommodation on site: yes (from $70 per night)

If you are looking for a two-in-one deal and are ready for a wine-tasting adventure in the comfort of a full-fledged hotel, look no further! Priding itself on the breathtaking views of the vineyard terraces, the mountains, and the river Tana, this family-owned property can accommodate up to 26 guests in the beautifully furnished rooms scattered around the two floors. Downstairs, you’ll also find a traditional marani — wine cellar — a place to enjoy organically made wines (including Tsarchinebuli Atenuri, Takveri, Scris Chinuri, and Mkhiaruli Xidistavuri) and have a nice chat with the host. Who, by the way, is fluent in English and will be happy to give you a walking tour or arrange a wide selection of other activities, including cooking classes and workshops, hiking, and even a live performance of traditional polyphonic singers at dinner time. And did I mention the mouthwatering home-made meals?

This guest house is very family-friendly and admits pets at no extra charge. The pros don’t stop here: A bottle of locally made wine will cost you around 40 GEL ($15), which is a total steal for the sheer grape quality and insurmountable amount of effort the owners put into the production.

Hotel and Wine Cellar ARGE

Alazani Valley 2

Location: Ruispiri, Kakheti
Drive from Tbilisi: 2 hours
Accommodation on site: yes (from $90 per night)

Love being in the lap of nature, yet hate roughing it? I know exactly how you feel. This relatively new 3-star hotel is ideal for a relaxing and uncompromisingly enjoyable vacation. Here, you get a full-on Georgian experience, even if you don’t feel like leaving the property. The spacious rooms overlooking the Alazani Valley and the hotel’s private vineyards and orchards invite you to enjoy a glass of wine while contemplating the spectacular scenery. The premises offer a modern swimming pool and a BBQ area.

To enjoy traditional Georgian food and a selection of delicious wines grown and produced on-site, head to the restaurant, or better yet — make it a picnic! If you do decide to explore, there’s a multitude of unique sites within walking distance, including Ikalto Monastery, King Erekle II Palace, and the Giant Plane Tree (the largest tree in all of Georgia, a worthy stop if you’re ever in the area). The hotel offers a range of tours and activities, like horse-riding and fishing (off-site). For maximum peace of mind, non-drivers can order airport pick up and drop off.

Toma’s Wine Cellar

Location: Kutaisi, Imereti
Drive from Tbilisi: 3 hours
Accommodation on site: no; Hostel Mandaria (from $10 a night) is a 5-minute walk away

If you pick Kutaisi as your starting point in Georgia, this is the place where you want to go to experience true Georgian hospitality. This small family-owned winery/restaurant is run by a mother and her son, — the former is the chef and the keeper of family recipes, while the latter is the welcoming host and knowledgeable tour guide.

I’m not sure how Georgians do it, but the second you step through the door, you feel like you are dropping by a dear old friend’s house rather than eating out. The food is prepared with the utmost consideration for your preferences, and to call their servings big would be an understatement — I can almost guarantee you’ll take the leftovers to go. Not to mention the homemade wine (white and red) and chacha! Totally worth the 50 GEL ($20) price per person (this amount covers wine, appetizers, main dishes, and a glass of chacha). Their home-made wine starts at 20 GEL ($7.50) per bottle.

The hosts don’t offer accommodation, but finding a hotel in a big city like Kutaisi should be a piece of cake (or, in this case, a piece of khachapuri, — let’s keep it local!).

Our list of 10 coolest winery hotels in Georgia regions (sorted by price)

wine region

If you are looking for a place to stay near Georgia’s best wineries (or a hotel that doubles as a winery), offers a wide variety of options for practically any budget, from homestays and unassuming bed and breakfasts to luxury resorts. The choice is yours!

  • Elizbar Talakvadze Winery (from $20 a night) — a medieval castle-esque getaway that comes clad with one of the best Georgian wining and dining experiences! Neat and cozy rooms are a given, but you won’t spend much time cooped up inside: A gorgeous terrace with unbeatable sunset views is where all the fun is happening!
  • 2* Bucha’s Guest House and Wine Cellar (Kakheti, from $30 a night) — this small guest house in Telavi, Kakheti features a shared lounge, a kitchen, and a BBQ area. To make your stay truly unforgettable, make sure to try their homemade wine called Kalmakheli — Bucha’s Winery’s exclusive!
  • 3* Château Eniseli (Kakheti, from $30 a night) — if you are wondering where to stay in Kakheti, definitely consider this charming and reasonably priced château. It is located in the middle of the Kakhetian countryside and has elegantly styled rooms. The property offers tours of its historical vineyards and winery at no extra charge. The garden with a furnished terrace is a perfect place to enjoy a home-made meal or a glass of wine.
  • 3* Milorava’s Guest House & Wine Cellar (from $40 a night) — a space that doesn’t concede to the modern pace of reinvention and constant change: It’s almost patinaed with history, homey atmosphere, and more than welcoming owners. A quaint garden in front of the guesthouse is a cherry on top of the overall experience; this is the exact setting you need to really appreciate local wine.
  • Zaali’s Wine Cellar (Imereti, from $55 a night) — this affordable riverside bed and breakfast is just a 40-minute drive from Kutaisi, Imereti region. Each room has a fully equipped kitchen with a stove and a coffee maker. Wine-tasting sessions and tours are offered at an extra charge.
  • 3* Shaloshvili’s Cellar Hotel (Kakheti, from $70 a night) — live out your La Piscine (1969) shenanigans at this wine hotel (just drop the murder part, why don’t you)! After all, it is such a treat to be able to dip in for a swim at an outdoor swimming pool after a particularly joyous wine tasting experience! The surrounding greenery adds a certain je ne sais quoi feeling to the mix — all the classic resort features are here, but you’re not beachside; on the contrary, you’re knee deep into the classic Georgian countryside that mainly consists of rows and rows of grapevines.
  • Hotel Tela and Mareli Winery (Kakheti, from $75 a night) — nicely situated in the heart of Telavi with major sights just around the corner, this charming boutique hotel features spacious rooms and a terrace with a mountain view — an ideal spot to savor a glass of wine.
  • 4* Twins Wine House (Kakheti, from $90 a night) — boasting spectacular views of the Alazani Valley and the Caucasus Mountains, this four-star hotel in Napareuli features a private vineyard and a small but impressive wine museum. The property is located not far from Kakheti’s capital, Telavi, in the picturesque Georgian countryside that is perfect for hikes.
  • 3* Château Mosmieri Hotel & Winery (Kakheti, from $100 a night) — a beautifully lined cobblestone pathway leads you to a quaint chateau… but wait, look around! Surrounded by rolling hills and enamoring mountain panoramas on all sides, this space looks like something straight out of a Rohmer film! The laissez-faire attitude is a must here, granted the locally produced wines and picturesque scenery manage to ease your stress levels — after all, where else can you feel more relaxed and convivial than at a chateau near the foot of a grandiose mountain range?
  • 3* Schuchmann Wines Château, Villa & SPA (Kakheti, from $120 a night) — if you are considering some premium Kakheti hotels, this may be just what you are looking for. Each room comes with a fireplace and a balcony. The property has its own vineyard and winery and offers complimentary tours and wine tasting sessions. There’s even a wine SPA — you can’t miss out on that!

Our tips for traveling to Georgia country

Georgia flag traveling to Georgia country

Georgia is truly an enigma of a country, with traditions, rituals, and laws that can confuse even the most prepared traveler. While the topic of things to know before visiting Georgia deserves its own separate guide, we’re here to give you the rundown of the most common (particularly wine-related) tips:

— To make the most of your time, get an organized tour on GetYourGuide or a private transfer. That way, you can continue on to some sightseeing (and there’s plenty to do and see in Georgia!) after you’ve enjoyed a few drinks.

— If you are wondering what wines to bring home from Georgia, consider household names, like Tsinandali, Rkatsiteli, or Kindzmarauli. The easiest option is to swing by a factory store (like Khareba, Shumi, or Dugladze), or a supermarket, like Carrefour. However, given the nature of the article, we truly recommend going out of your way and exploring a couple of the amazing wineries in Georgia to purchase the wine from (that is, if you have the necessary time and resources).

— Those who like their drinks strong should definitely pick up a bottle of chacha (Georgian vodka).

— Important: Travelers are allowed to take only sealed bottles of wine out of the country. No restrictions apply to the number of bottles, but before you shop, make sure to check how much alcohol you are allowed to bring home.

— A tip for all the foodies out there: As you roam around in search of the best wineries in Georgia, don’t miss out on wine-flavored ice cream. It tastes just like grapes, which is super weird and exciting at the same time. What a novelty! Wine-flavored gelato stands can be found at souvenir bazaars and in public spaces, with prices starting at 10 GEL ($4) per cone.

— If you do decide to rent a car in Georgia (Localrent to the rescue), keep in mind that driving here can be as adrenaline-inducing as bungee jumping. The locals are very aggressive in their driving, so we suggest you let them overtake you to avoid being tailgated and screamed at. And please, please, do not ever drink and drive (again, putting it out there, since we are focusing on imbibing in local wines in this article).

— Embrace the slower pace of life that is so prevalent here: Notice more, worry less, — a glass of wine will help you ease into the relaxing mode! Plus, try and reciprocate the attitude that the locals bring when welcoming strangers into their homes. A smile goes a long way in Georgia!

What to eat in Georgia?

Food in Georgia country

It’s safe to say that a bottle of local wine and a good traditional Georgian meal go together like bread and butter, fish and chips, iced coffee and a hot day, etc. Bottomline is, you CAN have one without the other, but SHOULD you? We think not!

Georgia is one of our favorite gastronomic destinations in the world, and we do not give out that title lightly! A good week-long stay in Georgia will have you buying jeans in a size up, your cute muffin tops a testament to how good you have been eating. While it’s easy to get completely lost in all the intricacies of a foreign cuisine, we’re here to help! These are the things you absolutely must try when in Georgia (we would include an appropriate wine pairing, but our knowledge on the topic is that of a sommelier school dropouts, so you will have to do without):

  • Khinkali — a traditionally Georgian take on a classic dumpling (basically a dish of meat covered in dough, every culture has one of those): It’s soupy, it’s doughy, and just the right amount of meaty. The beautiful presentation of a small purse-shape with a knot on top is guaranteed to impress even the harshest of critics. Eating instructions though vary a little: You pick up each dumpling by the knot and then bite the hole in the middle to slurp the juices out. After absolutely demolishing the center, most would discard the knot itself, but mama didn’t raise no quitter — if you think that people who don’t eat pizza crusts are weaklings, then dip that knot in some sauce and leave the plate absolutely barren (as it’s supposed to look like after a yummy dish like this one).
  • Khachapuri — commonly known as the national dish in Georgia, khachapuri will follow you wherever you go: Each remote village, each hole-in-the-wall eatery serves their own take on this bread-cheese-egg concoction. The classic look of the dish is an open canoe-shaped bread with a mixture of gooey cheese in the middle, crowned with a single egg yolk. You eat the dish with your hands, tearing off pieces of bread and dipping them in the center. The secret of khachapuri’s fame and success well beyond the Georgian borders is its simplicity: You get the best quality ingredients, mix them together, and in pure Gaga-fashion, A Star is Born! If it were up to me, I would have this dish for breakfast, lunch, and as a pre-dinner snack when in Georgia, it is THAT good!
  • Nigvziani badrijani — a fan-favorite Georgian appetizer that consists of fried eggplant stuffed with a walnut and garlic paste. To tell you the truth, we can’t tell you the number of times we’ve filled up on these rolls alone well before the main dish was served (a very delicious mistake on our part that we absolutely do not regret making). Locals love to make nigvziani badrijani for when the guests come to visit, since these snack-like things can be made well in advance (they keep well in the fridge). The taste is like nothing we’ve ever tried before, so the sheer novelty of the experience is a reason enough to order them next time you’re out for dinner in Georgia.
  • Pkhali — another dish on the appetizer front that is so prominent in traditional Georgian feasts. Pkhali is usually served in ball form, mostly green in color (however multiple color combinations might happen from time to time). It consists of a multitude of chopped vegetables mixed with walnuts and various aromatics. Pkhali is best eaten smeared on a piece of warm bread — trust us, you don’t want to miss out on this taste journey of a lifetime!
Food in Georgia country 2 Food in Georgia country 3
  • Mtsvadi — the absolute star of the show when it comes to the main course. Also referred to as shashlik, mtsvadi is essentially skewered BBQ meat. The meat is usually served in heaps on a giant plate, the juicy and delicious pieces able to satisfy the hunger of a small fleet of men. While the meat can be different depending on the hosts’ preferences, in Georgia, mtsvadi is most often made with pork.
  • Ajapsandali — in Georgia, something that could easily be described as a boring vegetable stew, bursts through the preconceived limitations with a flavor profile of a gastronomic marvel. How does ajapsandali achieve such a thing? By bringing together the usual ratatouille components (eat your heart out, Remy the rat), chopping them up and cooking them with all the seasonings the Georgian cuisine is so famous for.
  • Lobio — our main source of protein when in Georgia. Sure, BBQ is great and all, but you can only eat so much of it before breaking out the meat sweats. Lobio, however, is a unique dish that you can never get tired of: It can be served either cold or hot, with other additions or plain. It is a hearty bean stew, usually cooked with earthy herbs like cilantro and sometimes fattened up with some walnuts. You can eat it by spoonfuls, but we prefer to eat lobio with warm freshly baked bread.
  • Churchkhela — a traditional Georgian dessert that consists of walnuts (or some other sizeable nuts) covered in grape must (grape juice that includes all the other grape components, such as skins and stems, that are left after making wine). A wine country that uses up all of its grape parts is something we can get behind — plus, the dessert is so unique (the nuts are strung together by a cord, with the grape must enveloping the entirety of the construction) and fun to eat (remember there’s an actual piece of string in there) that you cannot possibly miss having this experience when in Georgia.

As for the question of where to eat these dishes in Georgia, you can kill two birds with one stone and just venture out to one of the wineries and vineyards on our list — most of them offer traditional Georgian cuisine for you to have together with a wine tasting or after a tour of the premises. As the tale goes, most of the local wines go quite well with the dishes described; however, if you’re a person that loves to follow some strict guidelines when it comes to wine pairing, we have one advice: When in doubt, chacha it out! Chacha is quite a powerful drink that it makes all of the flavors that come after even more vibrant and palatable.

tbilisi georgia restaurants

Still, we can’t possibly leave you hanging without mentioning at least a few of local eateries in Tbilisi that will do a great job of fueling you up for your subsequent wineries pilgrimage:

  • Groovy Roasters — any day, no matter the itinerary, should start with coffee and a sweet treat; and this coffee shop has quite a good specialty coffee selection. Get a quick espresso (8 GEL/$3) and follow it up with a couple of syrnikis (cottage cheese pancakes served with sour cream and an assortment of fruits and jams), and here goes your energy for most of the day!
  • Zodiaqo — hands down, best khinkali we’ve ever tried! With the price less than 2 GEL ($0.75) a piece, it’s safe to say you can eat as many as you can possibly stomach. The restaurant has a wide variety of dishes, but the one thing people come back for again and again are their fried (!) khinkalis — they’re great for the mood, but especially bad for the waist, just keep that in mind!
  • Retro — khachapuri galore! With prices ranging from 15 GEL ($5.60) for a small one to 60 GEL/$22.40 (!) for something called the Titanic, every Retro visitor can get a delicious bread boat with cheese according to their hunger levels.
  • Cheri Pasta Bar — an Italian restaurant for when you want to take a breather from all the exciting Georgian dishes. Everything here feels yummy and familiar: A pesto pasta (19 GEL/$7), followed by a tiramisu (19 GEL/$7) and paired with an aperol spritz (19 GEL/$7) won’t let you down, that’s a guarantee! They have plenty of vegetarian options and all of their pasta is homemade, — all in all, an appropriate palate cleanser from the mind-blowing world of ajapsandalis and pkhalis!

Final thoughts

grape fields kvevri wine

With thousands of years of wine making under the belt, Georgian wineries and vineyards (get ready for it) have truly aged like fine wine (sorry, I had to)! The country’s riches are the vast grape-bearing plantations and passionate winery keepers who strive to keep the tradition going.

There are plenty more amazing wineries in Georgia than we’ve listed above (if we decided to describe ALL of them, this mammoth undertaking would take years and years to complete): Some better-known than others, but we all know that good wine needs no bush! If you want us to include one of your favorite places in Georgia that focuses on wine (however small it is), please, share your experiences in the comments down below. Any questions you might have about the wineries mentioned will also be answered there.

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