The Toastmaster Table

Georgian Wine Tour

Saturate yourself in oenology on this enophiles odyssey to explore the ancient wine culture of Georgia. Meander through Tbilisi’s wine scene with leisurely visits to cellar doors, wine bar crawls and a visit to a winery in the old capital of Mtskheta. Journey to Telavi, Georgia’s premiere wine destination for long lunches, wanders through the vines and of course tastings a plenty! Visit some of Georgia’s lesser known sites (and lesser known wineries) including the Chiatura Cable Cars and Mgvimevi Convent, as well as a tour and tasting at the fabulous Prince Alexander Chavchavadze House Museum.

What better way to immerse yourself in the viticulture of Georgia but to stay at Chateaus, complete with vineyard and wine themed hotels with fully stocked cellars, offering you the opportunity to taste as often as possible on this unrivaled Georgian wine tour.


GEORGIAN WINE TOUR HIGHLIGHTS

  • Learn about the ancient art of Georgian oenology, view the process of winemaking in huge underground vessels called ‘Kvevri’ and then taste amongst Georgia’s beautiful scenery
  • Visit some of Georgia’s best wineries, from the world renowned ‘Pheasants Tears’ cellar door in Telavi to the small lesser known ‘Iago’s Winery’ (our owner’s personal favourite) near Ananuri
  • Explore some of Georgia’s lesser visited sights with a visit to the old capital of Mtskheta, the Joseph Stalin Museum in Gori and the cable cars of Chaitura
  • Let yourself ‘breathe’ with plenty of free time to explore the destinations on this trip and of course seek out your own enophile’s adventure
  • On this Georgian wine tour, stay in wine themed hotels (complete with wine cellars), guest houses and Chateaus

The Basics

Start: Tbilisi

Finish: Tbilisi

Trip style: Special Interest

Max group size: 15

16 Days

TBILISI – TBILISI

$7395 AUD*

Departure date: 10 June 2023

OR CONTACT US for more information

Trip code: TTTT *from

ITINERARY

Arrive in Tbilisi and make your own way to the trip hotel. Meet your trip leader and travel companions for a welcome meeting at 17.00 to discuss your Georgian wine tour. After the meeting, head out into Tbilisi to a local restaurant for your first glass of Georgian wine and a special dinner.

This morning we head out into Tbilisi to see the main sights of the city. Walk over the ‘Bridge of Peace’ which connects the Old Town with Rike Park over the Kura River, window shop at the Meidan Bazaar, see the Royal Baths and look upward to the ‘Mother of Georgia’ the statue that keeps watch over the city.

Visit the Metekkhi St. Virgin Church and view the crooked Clock Tower which sits outside the Tbilisi Puppet Theatre.

For lunch today we will have free time in the area of the Clock Tower, which is home to some of Tbilisi’s most eclectic restaurants.

After lunch we will visit the first of our wine producers at the Karalashvili Wine Cellar, a cosy nook in the city famous for their Saperavi. After our tasting we will ride the cable car up to the ‘Mother of Georgia’ for the best view of the city.

Tonight, we will head out for dinner at Tbilisi’s unique museum-restaurant Ethno-Tsiskvili to try ancient Georgian cuisine and revel in traditional folk music dancing (drinks not included).

We will begin our day with a visit to the National Museum of Georgia. Explore Georgia’s history from its most ancient past to art of the modern era. After the museum we will visit a local cheese shop with time to purchase cheese to accompany future tastings or wine purchases.

Following lunch at a local restaurant, we will have the afternoon free to explore Tbilisi.

In the evening we will head out into Tbilisi for a crawl through some of the city’s wine bars (drinks not included).

Take a soak in the Tbilisi Sulpur Baths - Georgian Wine Tour

Optional Experience: Tbilisi Sulphur Baths

Get some rest and relaxation in after a day of exploring the city of Tbilisi. The Sulphur Baths of the city are built over natural springs and the waters of these baths have healing properties which are especially good for conditions of the joints and good for the skin. The sulphur baths give the city its name as the word Tbilisi actually means “warm place”. The cities foundation myth mentions the baths, and that King Vakhtang built the city around them after he killed a pheasant and both the pheasant, and his hunting eagle fell into the baths and died during a struggle. The baths are located underground in Old Tbilisi and have semi-circular domes that allow the light to stream through. Some are gloriously designed and have elaborate mosaics on the walls and ceilings.

We have a late start this morning so enjoy a sleep in and some time to yourself in Tbilisi. Later in the morning take a stroll through the Fabrinka area with free time to grab some lunch.

Then transfer to Georgia’s ancient capital Mtskheta. Our first stop will be Winery Georgio for snacks and of course a tasting before visiting the churches in the main square and some free time to wander Mtskheta’s marketplace.

In the late afternoon we will ascend to the Jvari Monastery to survey the surrounding countryside before returning to Tbilisi for dinner at Café Littera (drinks not included). Located in the heart of Old Tbilisi Café Littera is set in the garden of Writers House and offers modern European and Georgian cuisine.

Today is yours to explore Tbilisi on your own. You may wish to explore more of Tbilisi’s wine bars (trust us there are so many!), check out some of the city’s museums or just window shop in some of the boutiques of this cosmopolitan city.

In the evening we will reconvene for dinner at a local wine bar (drinks not included).

We depart Tbilisi this morning and head to Telavi in the heart of Georgia’s wine country. Our first stop for today is Giuaani winery where we will participate in a masterclass in the making of Churchkhela, a special kind of Georgian bread. After our masterclass we have a tasting of some of Giuaani’s wines.

We will move on to ‘Cradle of Wine’ winery where we will meet the local wine master and taste traditional Kvevri made wine.

For lunch today we will head to the world renowned ‘Pheasants Tears’ whose wines grace palettes as far away as Australia. After lunch we will taste the wines of one of Georgia’s best wineries famous for its skin contact wines.

After lunch we will continue our Georgian wine tour and head into Telavi and check in to our Chateau winery where we will spend the next 4-nights.

In the morning we will take a tour of our chateaus winery a flagship company promoting wine tourism in Georgia. Learn about traditional wine-making styles and depending on seasonal conditions there may be the opportunity to crush grapes in a ‘Satsnakheli’, a boat shaped foot stomping vessel. After our tour of the chateaus winery, we will relax with a tasting of the wines available.

Next, we will transfer into Telavi town for some free time to explore and to grab some lunch, before we visit the King Erekele II Palace. On the site is the architectural complex of ‘Batonis Tsikhe’, a castle which is the remains of the last Georgian Royal Palace and the House Museum of King Erekle II, which is now a museum of local lore.

Our next stop is Vita Vinea a small family-owned winery in the village of Shalauri. The family has been making their own varieties of Saperavi, Rkatsiteli and Kisi wines for over a century all of which we will taste.

Dinner this evening will be served at Schuchman Wines Chateau along with a tasting of the wines from this winery. Schuchman wines are made in Kveveri vessels, and many are made with extended skin contact for both red and white.

This morning we head out for some sightseeing in the Telavi region beginning with Akhali Shuamta Monastery. The monastery was founded in the 16th century by King Leon and his wife Tinatin. The monastery contains beautiful frescoes and is surrounded on all sides by mountains. We will also visit the monastery of Dzveli Shuamtas, one of the oldest monasteries in Georgia.

Next, we will visit Ruispiri Biodynamic Farm which produces not only wine but dried fruit, churchkhela wheat flour, oil, jam, honey and wine-vodka. All products are made via the biodynamic process of farming, using traditional techniques and a prescribed list of biological or natural ‘preparations’, whilst acknowledging and working with universal cosmic forces that are at play in the farming environment. We will taste some of the wines produced by this interesting alternative farming method before moving on for lunch in a local restaurant.

This afternoon we will visit the House Museum of Prince Alexander Chavchavadze for a tour of the estate and a wine tasting on the premises. Alexander Chavchavadze bottled Georgian wine made in the European style for the first time in Georgian history. The house museum is home to spectacular gardens and a rather unique wine cellar. This museum is sure to be a highlight of your Georgian wine tour.

In the morning we will begin with a visit to Alaverdi Monastery. The monastery’s founding dates back to the 6th century, it is located on a spectacular plain with a beautiful mountain backdrop and is one of the largest religious buildings in Georgia.

We will then travel to Napereuli Village to visit the Museum of Kvevri and Kvevri Wine. The museum displays life size exhibits that wonderfully illustrate all aspects of Kvevri wine production. After we have learned all we can from the museum we will have a tasting at the adjoining winery of Twin Wines.

After our tasting at Twin Wines, we will transfer to Chelti Winery for lunch followed by a tasting of the wines from this vineyard. Wines at Chelti are produced in both tradition kvevri and by modern equipment and have won many accolades in various competitions and exhibitions.

After lunch we will visit Chubini Wine Cellar for a tasting. Chubini is a small family-owned operation that prioritises producing the finest quality wines by limiting their production to a few varieties. 

We will finish our day with a visit to Gremi’s Archangels’ Complex. A 16th century architectural monument also called the royal citadel and Church of the Archangels. The monument is all that remains of the town of Gremi, once a lively trading town on the Silk Road.

We depart Telavi this morning and head to the fortress complex of Ananuri, which is located in a spectacular position overlooking an artificial reservoir. The castle was the seat of the ‘eristavis’ (dukes) of Aragvi a feudal dynasty which ruled the area in the 13th century.

After Ananuri we will move on to the Iago’s Winery, a small winery located down a narrow country road nearby. We will take a short tour of this small winery, see their kvevri and taste the two wines they have on offer. Iago’s may be a small winery; however their wines are some of the best in Georgia and can be found in upmarket restaurants as far away as Melbourne, Australia.

Lunch today will be a highlight of your trip, served at Chateau Mukhrani a historical estate and winery where some of Georgia’s finest wines are made. Chateau Mukhrani is Georgia’s only true royal chateau, uniting the four key qualifying components of vineyards, winery, castle and history.

After our amazing lunch and wine tasting at the Chateau we will move on to the small town of Gori. Gori has somewhat of a dark history as the birthplace of Joseph Stalin. We will visit the Joseph Stalin Museum located in the town centre, which is also home to Stalin’s private rail carriage.

After our visit to the museum, we will check in to our small friendly guest house for the next two-nights to freshen up.

Dinner this evening will be served at the Wine Artisans Chateau along with a tasting of their wine.

Today we will explore some of the surrounding sights of Gori beginning with the ancient cave village of Uplistsikhe. The town was built on the high rocky left bank of the river Mtkvari and contains various structures dating from the Iron Age to the Middle Ages. It is interesting to note the contrasting rock cut styles from both Anatolia and Iran are both present in this cave village.

After we have explored the cave village, we will travel to the town of Kapsi for a cooking class at Merebashvili’s Marani, where we will learn to make some traditional Georgian cuisine.

Next, we will continue our Georgians wine tour with a visit Gogi Dvalishvili Wine Cellar for a tasting of their organically grown wine which is produced with unfiltered, traditional Georgian methods dating back centuries.

The remainder of the day is yours to explore Gori on your own.

We leave Gori this morning and head for the town of Kutaisi, along the way we will visit the Mgvimevi convent, a 13th century partially rock-hewn monastery carved into the cliffs near the town of Chiatura. The monastery is still a functioning nunnery and is inscribed on this list of Georgia;s ‘Immovable Monuments of Cultural Significance’.

Moving into the town of Chiatura our next stop is to view the old Soviet era cable cars which make the city somewhat famous within Georgia. The cable cars, now no longer operational hang abandoned on their cables in the middle of the Chiatura Gorge.

We will also stop to view the so-called Katskhi Column, a 40-metre-high free-standing monolith, atop which sits a 6th century church dedicated to Maximus the Confessor.

You will have free time for lunch today at short stop along the way before arriving in Kutaisi in the afternoon and checking in to our hotel for the next 3-nights.

This evening we will head out to a local restaurant in Kutaisi for dinner (drinks not included).

This morning we will head out to explore the sites of Kutaisi, beginning with the Green Bazaar, the largest market in the town. Here you will have an opportunity to buy local sweets, meats and cheeses and many other fine local products. Along the way we will also pass by the Colchis Fountain and the Bagrati Cathedral.

We will then travel outside the city to visit Motsameta Monastery. Motsameta Monastery is actually a complex of monasteries picturesquely located on a cliff overlooking a bend in the Ckalcietela River. The name means ‘Place of the Martyrs’ and is related to the brothers of David and Constantine who organised a rebellion against the Arabs in the 8th century. According to legend, there is a secret passage which connects the monasteries which was used during several wars.

After lunch in a local restaurant, we will visit Baia’s Wines a small family run winery in the Obcha Village. Their wines all involve some level of skin contact and most are made in Kvevri. We will have a tasting here before moving on to Gaioz Sopromadze Wine Cellar another locally owned and operated winery in the region.

Today is free for you to rest or explore Kutaisi on your own.

Tonight, we will reconvene at one of Kutasis’s local restaurants for dinner and then move on to a local wine bar for evening drinks (drinks not included).

This morning we will head out for our final tasting in the Kutaisi region at Vazis Xidi Winery. Vazis Xidi is a small family run winemaker, specialising in the production of Saperavi. The owners started the business operating out of their home, and their wine is now internationally acclaimed.

After our tasting we will head to the train station to catch the local train back to Tbilisi. Sit back and relax and watch the scenery slip by as you reminisce on your adventure through Georgia’s wine country.

On arrival in Tbilisi, we will check into a wine themed hotel, complete with wine cellar.

This evening, join your fellow travellers and trip leader for a special dinner and tasting to say farewell on the final night of your Georgian wine tour.

Your oenological adventure in Georgia comes to an end after breakfast this morning.

Georgian Wine Tour - Trip Map
Trip Map – The Toastmasters Table

Details

Duration: 16 Days

Trip style: Special Interest – Wine

Group size: Minimum 6 / Maximum 15

Trip code: TTTT

Cost: $7395.00 AUD twin share

Single supplement: $899.00 AUD

Inclusions

  • 15-nights accommodation in wine themed hotels, chateaus and guesthouses
  • Meals and tastings as specified in itinerary (B = Breakfast / L = Lunch / D = Dinner)
  • Some drinks with meals
  • Wine tastings as specified in the itinerary
  • All entrance fees and transportation
  • Services of your Inverted Atlas trip leader and local guides

Optional experiences (not included):

  • Tbilisi: Sulphur baths

Trip price does not include

  • International airfares or domestic airfares
  • Airport transfers on arrival and departure
  • Visa for Georgia (if required)
  • Any expenses associated with COVID-19
  • Meals not included as per trip itinerary including drinks and mini bar
  • Additional accommodation before or after the tour
  • Items of a personal nature including but not limited to laundry, souvenirs, porterage etc.
  • Travel insurance – please note comprehensive travel insurance is a condition of travel with Inverted Atlas

Journey Rating – Wander

This trip travels though Georgia and its wine country and we do not anticipate this trip to be strenuous on any level. Accommodation on this trip is of a good standard with no sharing at any time. We travel via the use of an air-conditioned vehicle and will travel from Kutaisi back to Tbilisi on a comfortable local train. Most meals are included along with tastings where specified in the itinerary. There is plenty of free time to rest or explore on your own so you are unlikely to get worn out by rigorous sightseeing you might find on other trips.

People following vegan, vegetarian and gluten free diets can be accommodated on this trip, provided this is advised to Inverted Atlas at the time of booking.

A note about fitness

This Georgian wine tour requires a moderate level of physical fitness. You should be able to walk up to 3km during sightseeing and manage uneven surfaces. You may also run into an eastern style squat toilet in public areas occasionally (beware if you have knee issues). Amenities in Georgia will be similar to what you would find at home and this trip should be within the comfort zone of most travellers.

You will need to be able to carry your own luggage to and from the vehicle and into the accommodation, as well as on and off the train. (Due to OH&S regulations our trip leaders are not able to assist with luggage.)

In addition, you should be in good health, with no major chronic conditions requiring frequent medical attention. While all our trip leaders are required to have a valid first aid certificate, they are far from doctors and any assistance they are able to provide will be limited to basic first aid. For more information please see our booking conditions.

Single supplement

Traveling by yourself? No problem, we love single travellers and don’t believe in penalising them by charging half the trip price again for our single supplement. With us you are only paying the actual cost to have a room all to yourself. If you’re up for making a new friend, you can elect to share with another single traveller of the same sex and only pay the twin-share price. The choice is yours!

Trip leader description

Accompanying you along your Georgian wine tour will be your Inverted Atlas trip leader. Your trip leader is a logistics extraordinaire, keeps the trip running smoothly and ensures you have the best time possible on your trip. It is important to know that while your trip leader has the best job in the world, they aren’t actually on holidays, but rather they are there to make sure you have the best time while you are on your holiday! Your trip leader may at times need some time out so that they can complete back of house tasks that ensure everyone continues to enjoy the trip. It is also your trip leaders’ job to handle any issues (heaven forbid!) that come up while you’re on your trip like:

  • If you lose your passport or other travel documents
  • If there is a problem with your room at the booked accommodation – seriously please tell your trip leader don’t wait until you leave
  • If you become unwell and need to find a pharmacy
  • Assisting with restaurant recommendations or additional sightseeing during free time
  • Questions regarding the itinerary

Your trip leader will have some good local knowledge about the destination in which you are traveling, however they are not a ‘local guide’. You’re welcome to ask your trip leader anything about the trip and if they don’t know they will find out and get back to you. Other people you will meet along the way are ‘local guides’ who are generally available to the group in specific towns or at specific sites like national parks, temples or archaeological sites. These people are the local experts and will be able to answer any questions you may have about the history and culture of a specific site.

Itinerary disclaimer

This itinerary for this Georgian wine tour is correct at the time of upload to our website and we have composed it in good faith. From time to time we may elect to make changes before departure, if we are making a big change we will of course notify you, however if it is a small change this will be reflected in the final trip notes. So, make sure you download these prior to departure. Small changes prior to departure are usually made with the groups best interests in mind and come about due to liaising with our best resources – our past travelers and of course our trip leaders! The ability to change and evolve depending on what our travelers enjoy is what makes us such a great trip operator.

While we strive to operate our trips exactly to the letter of the itinerary, sometimes we may need to make changes on the ground while the group is on the road. This is all part of the adventure of traveling and we would ask that you come on your trip with an open mind and a good sense of humour because as much as we want it to, everything doesn’t always go to plan. In fact, these impromptu situations often make the best stories that you can have a laugh with your friends about later.

Age requirements

Minimum Age: 18 years

Due to the theme of this trip (Wine) we are only accepting travellers 18 years or older.

There is no upper age limit for this trip, but you should consider the above fitness requirements prior to booking. If you are 65 years or over, you will be asked to complete our Health Check Form and have your medical practitioner sign it to confirm you are in good health and able to participate safely on this trip.

Travel insurance

Please note that comprehensive travel insurance is a condition of travel with Inverted Atlas. Insurance must include provision for medical situations, emergency medical repatriation to your home country and personal liability at a minimum. Proof of valid travel insurance will be requested by your trip leader on arrival at the pre-departure meeting. Please have this paperwork available for them. If you are unable to provide proof of comprehensive travel insurance, you may not be allowed to join the trip and no refund will be payable.

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