The richest wine-growing and wine-making region of Georgia, populated with hospitable, openhearted and straightforward people, who live surrounded by mountain chains, old castles, beautiful churches and drink wine as early as mother’s milk – Kakheti province is a “must do”. Visit Kakheti and you will have an unforgettable experience, uniting food and wine (together Supra) along with stunning landscapes, history, lifestyle and diverse cultural heritage. Kakheti is a region along the eastern boundary of Georgia. It is bordered by the Russian Federation from the North and Azerbaijan from the East and South. The whole area makes 12.2 thousand km2, the region makes up 17.5% of the entire territory of the country with 407.2 thousand people that is 8.3% of total Georgian population. Kakheti consists of 8 administartive distiricts: Akhmeta, Telavi, Kvareli, Gurjaani, Lagodekhi, Sagarejo, Sighnagi and Dedoplistskaro.
Kakheti is one of the most beautiful and diverse lands in Georgia. Its stunning landscapes include the snow-covered mountains of main range of the Caucasus, with peaks reaching up to 3300 m and 4500 and curving passes; side by side with fertile lowland – valleys and fields and even semi-desert areas of Dedoplistskaro and Sagarejo Districts. Kakhetian Caucasus strikes with its magnificence; it slopes steeply down to Alazani Valley making the landscape as gorgeous as it can be. Abano Pass – one of the several on the Caucasus Range connects Kakheti to Tusheti. Landscape in this unspeakably spectacular Georgian province is characterized with very special geographic features. Whoever has traveled to Kakheti even once in his life will always associate this province with good wine and welcoming hospitality – Kakheti is a land famous for viticulture and winemaking. Farmers grow many kinds of grapes here and are skilled at producing a wide variety of high-quality wines.
The Georgian historical tradition ascribes origination of Kakheti province to Kakhos – one of the several sons of Kartlos who is believed to have been the forefather of all Georgians. Kakhos was given the land between the Caucasus and Kakheti Mountain, from Aragvi River to Tketba. His brother Kukhos assisted Kakhos in laying the foundations of the province and also owned land from the Aragvi to Hereti province. Until the 3rd-4th centuries AD administrative and political center of Kakheti was located in Ber-Cheleti (Jaleti), until King Asphagur had Ujarma built, the latter to become the center of united Kakhet-Kukheti land in the reign of King Mirian by the early 4th century. In the 11th century the center was transferred to Telavi Town. The 8th century witnessed creation of Early Feudal Kakhetian Principality. In the 9th century Kakheti also included a certain part of Shida (Inner) Kartli up to Ksani River. The principality included Khevi or Tsanareti, Tusheti, Pkhoeti (Pshav-Khevsureti), and Dzurdzuketi and Ghlighveti. During the 9-10th centuries Kaheti was actively involved in the struggle for unification of Georgia. In the United Georgian Kingdom Kakheti was a strong and important administrative unit. Establishment of Kakheti Kingdom followed disintegration of Georgia in the 15th century. By this time its political and cultural center was transferred to Gremi – a recently built picturesque town. However, the invasions initiated by Shah Abbas of Persia within 1614-1617 Gremi was completely destroyed and Telavi once again undertook the role of political and administrative management of the kingdom that continued its existence until the 19th century.
Geography in Kakheti being relatively diverse, the landscape is alternating mountains, valleys and semidesserts. The climate in Alazani Valley is characterized by moderately humid subtropical features. Average winter temperature is around 0 C; in summer it reaches up to +23-25 on the average. Annual precipitation ranges from 600 to 1000 mm in the valley.
Telavi is the largest town in Kakheti with about 30 000 inhabitants. The first records of town trace back to the Common Era. It served as capital of Kakheti in the 10-11th and later in 17-18th centuries. The town is famous for its picturesque sights, a museum of local history, university, drama theatre, art gallery and other cultural and educational centers.
Signaghi fortified town:
Sighnaghi originated in the current form of a town on the ruins of a previously existing fortress in the second half of the 18th century during the reign of King Erekle II. It occupies nearly 40 ha of land and circumference of the wall is 2.5 km. The fortress has 23 towers and 5 entrances. In the past each tower had a separate name. The embrasures are arranged in a way that the garrison soldiers could aim at the attacking enemy located at any point both outside and inside the wall. The neighborhoods remaining from the 19th century still retain remarkable examples of house architecture.
Arkhiloskalo: Located in Dedoplistskaro District Arkhiloskalo is a climatic health resort. The climate here is dry and subtropical. The resort is excellent for neurological patients.
Akhtala: Located in Gurjaani District Akhtala is a resort famous for its mud-baths. This glen of about 4-5 ha has 9 main mud springs. The mud in Akhtala is inorganic. The resort serves adults with diseases related to musculoskeletal system, peripheral nervous system and gynecology, as well as pediatric patients with residuals of cerebral palsy and poliomyelitis.
Ujarma: Located in Sagarejo District Ujarma is a balneotherapeutic and climatic health resort. It is located on Iori mountain plateau at the elevation of 900 m. The resort is famous for its thermal mineral waters with multiple biologically active microcomponents.
Kvareli: The resort is located in Kvareli District, in about 8 km from the district center in Alazani River valley at 450 m from the sea level. Essential natural medical factors include two types of mineral water used in bathing procedures to cure diseases related to musculoskeletal system, peripheral nervous system, as well as skin diseases and disruptions of metabolism.
Main grape varieties:
Rkatsiteli: Indigenous white grape varietiy; growing mainly in Kakheti region; in the microzone of Kakheti almost all types of high-quality wines are made from Rkatsiteli.
Khikhvi: Indigenous white grape variety; growing in Gurjaani and Telavi districts, Kakheti; used to make high quality liquer type dry wines.
Saperavi: Indigenous red grape variety – a worthy representative of the world’s red-berried vines; yields the best vines; yields the best wines of all types in a definite microzone of Kakheti.
Kakhuri Mtsvane: Indigenous white grape variety; growing in Kakheti region; yields high quality mild and aromatic dry wines. Kakhuri Mtsvane is used both independently and to improve the quality of wines blended with other white white variety grapes.