Uncorking the Secrets of Georgian Wine: Between the Past and Present


Georgia, a country with a rich history and culture, is also renowned worldwide as the cradle of winemaking. Wines have been produced here since ancient times. The picturesque lands of this country, nestled between the Caucasus Mountains and the Black Sea, foster the cultivation of grapes from which some of the world’s most famous and valuable wines are made. One of the most intriguing features of Georgian wine is the traditional method of production in clay amphorae, known as qvevri. Qvevri wines are included in UNESCO’s list of intangible cultural heritage of humanity.

While the traditional method forms the basis of Georgian winemaking, modern producers also adopt new technologies and approaches. Wineries experiment with a variety of flavors and aromas, reviving old grape varieties and creating wines from foreign varieties, adding diversity and appeal to the international market. Thanks to its uniqueness and quality, Georgian wine holds a prestigious place in the international market and often receives awards at international competitions.

Georgian wine is not just a beverage; it is a part of the history and culture of this great country. Its tradition and innovation woven together create a unique product. For centuries, Georgian wine has remained a symbol of hospitality and tradition, attracting wine lovers from around the world. Therefore, it is quite natural that the brightest representatives of Georgian winemaking have joined the Wine Travel Awards and have already become winners in past seasons. Currently, the following vibrant representatives of Georgian winemaking await the votes of fans: SHUMI Winery, Askaneli Winery & Distillery, Gocha’s Collection – Askaneli Winery & Distillery, Château Mukhrani, Imereti, The Imeretian Wine Association, Winery Khareba, and Kabis Toni Winery. Let’s take a closer look at each of these bright representatives of Georgian winemaking.

SHUMI Winery, the winner of the previous year’s Wine Travel Awards, is represented in five categories this season: Art & History Object, Progressive Approach, Brand – the Visiting Card of the Country, Must Visit, Cultural Mission. And in each of them, this legendary winery can achieve victory.


SHUMI Winery began its operations in 1997, acquiring historical terroirs with millennia-old traditions of viticulture-winemaking in various microzones of Georgia. Since 2001, they have been producing their own wines, and in 2002, the company opened its tourist complex, becoming the first in Georgia to offer visitors tourist and gastronomic services. To share its unique experience and achievements in winemaking, the Wine School exists, offering numerous masterclasses and tastings. Additionally, SHUMI Winery is a venue for vibrant festivals and celebrations.


SHUMI Winery utilizes centuries-old experience in the cultivation and care of its own vineyards. The best example of this is the “Salome” vineyard with the Georgian variety Saperavi, cultivated in the Napareuli microzone since 1997, where biodynamic methods are employed. The company has exclusive limited production of the wine SALOME – only in the best harvest years.

In February 2024, the wine SALOME 2020 was included in the list of “The Choice of the Best Sommeliers in the World” (WBSS). The selection process for WBSS 2024 is meticulously conducted by President Josep Roca and 30 renowned international sommeliers, according to the 50 Best Restaurants in the World. SALOME 2020 is the only Georgian wine included in this selection.


Last year’s leader in public voting, Askaneli Winery & Distillery, is represented in the Progressive Approach category. This is one of Georgia’s largest wineries, ranking among the top three in wine production and viticulture. Last year, the company celebrated its 25th anniversary, but its history traces back to the 19th century when Antimoz Chkhaidze dug a cellar for his own wine in the village of Askan. Many years later, when his descendants opened it, they saw the year 1880 inscribed on one of the qvevri that had survived. Gocha Chkhaidze, the owner of Askaneli, continues the winemaking history of his family: the brand name refers to the village of Askan, where it all began, and the emblem with a pheasant indicates the year of creation of the oldest family qvevri.

Askaneli Winery & Distillery

Askaneli Winery & Distillery treats its heritage with great love and care. The company is committed to developing smart solutions and has almost fully transitioned to organic production.

Askaneli beverages are known in 23 countries worldwide. They are praised by industry professionals, with wines regularly receiving high ratings from critics at prestigious international competitions such as the Sommeliers Choice Awards, while the brandies, fruit distillates, and chacha impress experts at the London Spirits Competition and USA Spirits Ratings.

Gocha’s Collection – Askaneli Winery & Distillery, the winner of WTA 2022-2023, is presented in the category Brand – the visiting card of the country. In 2023, the winery received exceptional ratings from one of the world’s most influential wine critics, James Suckling. Achieving an impressive rating of 90 is a great recognition of Gocha’s Collection exceptional wines.

Askaneli Winery & Distillery

Château Mukhrani, the winner of Wine Travel Awards 2021-2022, is competing for votes in the Must Visit and Event of the year (Harvest Celebration at Chateau Mukhrani) categories this year.

Château Mukhrani is located in the South Caucasus region, where archaeologists have found the oldest evidence of winemaking in human history – over 8000 years ago. The château boasts one of the oldest wine lines in Georgia today, and it is the only estate in the country that combines history with its own vineyard, winery, and castle. Besides the magnificent castle, the estate has always been known for its parks and gardens. Mukhrani translates from Georgian as adorned with oaks, and this place lives up to its name. The incredible 19th-century castle, cellars, gardens, and vineyards are open to visitors and easily accessible from the capital. This magnificent estate with its unspoiled surroundings and incredible heritage is a must-visit for any wine lover traveling in Georgia.

Château Mukhrani

Chateau Mukhrani wines are highly regarded by world experts. Just last week, they were presented at the Georgian Investment Forum held in London, organized by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD). As part of the event, a diplomatic tasting was also organized.

Every year, Chateau Mukhrani invites guests to the Harvest Celebration at Chateau Mukhrani, where they can enjoy tasting unique wines from Georgia, Italy, and Turkey, participate in wine seminars, culinary masterclasses, and other exciting events. This year, the festival will take place on June 2nd.

Château Mukhrani

Imereti, presented in the Region of the Year category, is one of the most diverse winemaking regions in Georgia. Its climatic conditions and soil composition vary significantly, resulting in wines that are unique and contrasting. It’s a place where the beauty of nature competes for a place in the hearts of tourists with the hospitality of locals, the charm of ancient architectural structures, and the unparalleled taste of cuisine and wine.


In 2022, with the support and initiative of DMO Imereti (Imeretin Destination Management Organization), the Imeretian Wine Association was established, nominated for the Wine Travel Awards in the Creative Strategy category. The main goal of this association was to introduce the world to the unique corner of Georgia – the lesser-known region of Imereti. In its very first year, the Imeretian Wine Association achieved something remarkable – quickly and brilliantly asserting the prominence of Imeretian wines within the professional global community.


The Imeretian Wine Association showcased the region’s wines at WINEXPO AMERICA 2023 in New York. According to the association’s director, Imeretian wine made its international debut in such diversity, sparking significant interest. As a result, negotiations regarding exports are underway.

At the beginning of October in Georgia, a competition dedicated to Imereti wines took place at the Sairme Hotels & Resorts mountain resort, involving international wine experts from Decanter, Nundus Vini, and Concours Mondial de Bruxelles. The winning wines will be presented at various international exhibitions in the USA, Germany, China, and other countries in 2024.



Winery Khareba is nominated in the Must Visit category. The winery produces high-quality beverages while preserving unique grape varieties and traditional winemaking culture. Currently, the company’s wine varieties include up to 10 premium wines, 7 appellations of origin, 10 Qvevri wines, over 15 grape varieties, and 5 types of base wines. The unique wine cellar and tourist complex “Kvareli Wine Cave” is an incredible place that attracts tourists and evokes unforgettable emotions. Carved into the rock massif of the Caucasus Mountains, the cave’s length is 7.7 km. One of the two cave entrances is used for tourism, while the other entrances are used for storage and aging of wines kept in metal and oak containers.

Winery Khareba

Kabis Toni Winery, nominated for the WTA in the Brand – the Visiting Card of the Country category, is a relatively young winery with an interesting history. It all started with the establishment of the Kabiston Wine School in 2015 to educate wine enthusiasts and individuals working in tourism, culture, and wine history, as well as in viticulture and winemaking. In 2016, alongside the school, the new winemaking company Kabis Toni Winery was founded, focusing on craft wine production. The main and only direction of the winery’s work is creating high-quality wines from very rare endemic Georgian grape varieties using local traditional winemaking technologies, which involve fermentation and aging in qvevri. The company produces wine in limited quantities – 500-1000 bottles per variety.