Find out if we’ve got your favourite pastime covered in our dedicated special interest vacations travel guide or just search for a few more ideas to help you have a really worthwhile week away rather than just a boring break at the beach. This page is all about what special interest vacations entail and how you can choose between small group and tailor made options to ensure you get the most out of your vacation.
Wine tasting vacations in Georgia
Georgia has a long, proud history of wine production – in fact it’s thought to be one of the earliest countries to cultivate the grape. People were growing grapes here and storing the wine in jars underground from at least 6000BC, but archaeological finds indicate that wine making in Georgia may date as far back as the Stone Age – potentially before the invention of the wheel. Well, it’s important to prioritise.
Today, Georgia continues to benefit from a moderate climate and breezes from the Black Sea and produces around 100 different kinds of wine. And the makers are prolific, whether professionals or hobbyists. Bump into any farmer in Georgia and chances are they’ll have a bottle of something or other they’ve knocked up themselves.
Many of Georgia’s ancient monasteries produce excellent wines too, and to prove that the old ways are often still the best, you will still see kvevri being used everywhere. These are large clay jars, lined with beeswax and used to ferment and store Georgian wine underground. This method is actually so unique it’s a UNESCO listed part of Georgia’s cultural heritage.
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Wine tasting in Georgia
Wine focused tours in Georgia take you around Kakheti, which is the most popular tourist destination in the country and also its best-known wine region. This eastern area is composed of several micro regions, and turns out some of the most celebrated wines in the Caucasus.
You’ll explore picturesque vineyards, before heading down into the cellars to discover the secrets and proud traditions of Kakhetian wine; visit a prestigious royal estate and chateau with a vast cellar that can hold up to 60,000 barrels in its temperature controlled environment; find out how wines are produced at the medieval Alaverdi Monastery, and visit another renowned winery that prefers to employ traditional methods matched with innovative modern-day technology.
Another highlight is sure to be tasting wines in a castle that was once residence to Kakhetian kings, including sampling a superb dry white unique to that specific village. Or you might tour the southern foothills of the Caucasus Mountains on a culinary and cultural small group tour led by a local Georgian expert in food and wine, to find out about regional recipes and flavours. Trips operate from May to October, to catch the best weather in Georgia, bearing in mind that from late August onwards the grape harvest gets underway so you might be able to witness production techniques in action at some wineries and vineyards.
Canoes and candlesOf course you can’t travel around Georgia sampling the country’s superb wines without also imbibing some of its fascinating culture. You’ll also learn about the rich religious history here, the influence of royalty on wine making, and enjoy a homecooked meal with a local family, led by a Georgian toastmaster.
There is also the potential to join in with a masterclass in baking, making the canoe-shaped shoti bread and churchkhela candy that resembles candles, both of which you’ll see all around Georgia, especially in the markets.
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Nune Tatunts from our supplier Arara Tour on why Georgia’s Kakheti region is so renowned:
“The endless green vineyards of the Kakheti region are some of the best places to try traditional Georgian wines, but on our wine tours we like to show the region from different perspectives, including local cuisine, historic objects and museums. The region boasts many outstanding historic landmarks including the House-Museum of the Chavchavadze dynasty in Tsinandali, the Sighnaghi Museum where you can see masterpieces by Niko Pirosmani, the Gremi museum, and the rock monastery-town David Gareji. Then, in local restaurants and wineries you can sample different types of wines produced with modern technologies as well as old recipes, and classic Kakhetian cuisine – you can even enjoy a cookery lesson.”
“Wine tours in Georgia are definitely attractive for wine connoisseurs looking to expand their tastes and easily send a few cases home, but also for anyone interested in Georgian history and customs. That’s because the process of making wine here is about so much more than simply producing a beverage – it’s a national symbol.”
More about Wine tasting
Packed with inspirational itineraries, expert advice and recommendations from previous travelers, our wine tasting vacations travel guide will prove far more useful than anything you’ll hear on the grapevine.
From the Old World to the New, our map and highlights page explores some of the finest wine-producing destinations including France, Italy, Georgia and South Africa, with some sterling advice from our suppliers too.
Wine tasting vacations in South Africa explore the prestigious Winelands just to the east of Cape Town, principally the historic towns of Stellenbosch, Franschhoek and Paarl.
Wine tasting vacations in Tuscany are idyllic, but the breadth of things you can do in the birthplace of the Italian Renaissance to compliment your tasting sessions may surprise you.
Spanish wine is basking in a well-deserved resurgence, with up-and-coming regions such as Andalucía especially in the spotlight.