Alazani Valley: Georgia’s Wine Country 🇬🇪

After two days of exploring the gorgeous Kakheti wine region of Georgia, my final adventure in the area started in the town of Kvareli, located in the Alazani Valley. Come with me as I go wine-hopping and try more amazing Georgian food in Alazani Valley, Georgia!

Visiting Winery Khareba in Alazani Valley

Our wine-hopping tour of the valley began at Winery Khareba, the largest winery in the country. They own multiple vineyards and wineries throughout Georgia and grow 25 organic grape varieties. It’s unique because they have an underground tunnel system made up of 15 tunnels, totaling 8 kilometers in length!

Winery Khareba in Georgia's Alazani Valley

To go on a basic tour of the winery, it only costs GEL 5, or $1.75 USD. If you want to drink, two glasses of European-style wine, it costs GEL 12, or $4 USD. Finally, if you’d like to drink Georgian wines, it costs GEL 15, or $5 USD. You can add additional glasses of wine for 6-7 GEL each.

Men singing at Winery Khareba in Alazani Valley

I met Miriam, who told me about the winery. They have over 26,000 bottles of wine stored in this area! Overhead, they also have glass wine pipes that were used for wine transportation. Then, I got to see an example of the rock they had to cut into to make the tunnels.

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Next, I saw some 225-L French oak barrels and the traditional wines they age in them. On the walls, you can see the awards they’ve won! They also have some long tasting rooms with gorgeous tables, and I got to see the tools they used to stir the wine in the underground clay pots.

The cellar at Winery Khareba in Alazani Valley

The Wine Tasting

Here, we’d have a tasting that included the winery’s own grapeseed oil, 2018 Khikhvi dry white wine, and Monastery Qvevri Kisi dry white wine. The Monastery Qvevri Kisi was dry and light and made using European technology. Next, I tried the Khareba Khikhvi, which is the same type of wine but made in Georgian clay pots. It was stronger and had a more robust flavor!

Bread and cheese at Winery Khareba in Alazani Valley, Georgia

It was my favorite wine of the trip so far! Next was some grapeseed oil with bread and cheese. It was a thick oil and the cheese and bread help coat your stomach while drinking.

David Hoffmann and Miriam enjoying wine at Winery Khareba in Alazani Valley

Their excellent Monastery Saperavi Dry Red reminded me of syrah and was strong and bold. It would go well with a nice steak! The Khareba Saperavi 2017 was also excellent!

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Home Wineries in Alazani Valley

Then, Tim and I continued exploring the Alazani Valley in Telavi, roughly an hour away. We’d be staying there for the night. I was hoping to visit a small, family-owned winery.

Bardanashvilis Marani in Telavi, Georgia

Bardanashvili’s Marani

Our next stop was Bardanashvili’s Marani, which has vines that are over 80 years old. It felt like a small family farm. There were chickens running around and a dog. Next to the vines are the kvevri, or underground clay pots where they make the wine!

The qvevri room at Bardanashvilis Marani in Telavi, Georgia

The owner says the kvevri were put in place over 100 years ago and the house was built around them. After the wines ferment in the kvevri ferment for 6 months, they’re transferred to the stainless steel tanks.

The owner of Bardanashvilis Marani pouring wine

We tried Rkatsiteli dry white (most common Georgian white wine), a 4-grape Rose blend, and a Kisi amber. The Rkatsileti was light and dry. I tried some cheese between wines. Even though it was from the Alazani Valley, the Kisi amber reminded me of Italian farmhouse wine. The rose was young and had an amazing mix of flavor. I couldn’t feel the alcohol in them!

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Alazani Valley isn’t just wine, though. So, next was some 5-year chacha aged in an oak barrel. It was my favorite chacha of the trip so far! It’s 70% alcohol! He gave me some to take with me! The owner was so kind!

A small glass of chacha at Bardanashvilis Marani

Marani Milorauli

Our final stop was Marani Milorauli, which is another family home winery. They have a small guesthouse. One of their 100+-year-old vines died earlier in the year. Their wine kvevri room was built in 2015 and their kvevri setup is more refined.

Marani Milourauli in Telavi, Georgia

In their cellar, the wine aroma hit me immediately. They have tons of bottles stored there and stainless steel tanks. They bottle 8 different wines and prepare wine from European grapes using Georgian technology.

The qvevri room at Marani Milorauli

The Khikhvi white wine was fruity and juice-like, while their Montepulciano is made with Italian grapes. The clay pots change the flavor and complexity of the wine! The Saperavi red was also delicious and fruity!

Qilimcha’s Guesthouse

Next, we drove to Qilimcha’s Guesthouse, an accommodation in the Alazani Valley area that has four rooms and a rooftop terrace. It’s very rustic, and like other homes in the area, they also have their own vines. There are also lots of wines.

The eclectic decor at Qilimcha's Guesthouse in Alazani Valley, Georgia

They have a cool, funky lobby area with a map of Georgia, a nice place to relax, and more. I had a minimalistic room with a queen-sized bed and a twin bed. The whole guesthouse is funky and contains items from all eras of history including old cameras, vinyl records, guitars, and more.

A delicious trout dish at Qilimcha's Guesthouse

Then, I saw the owner’s craft workshop and then headed up to the terrace atop their tower. It was time to enjoy some more Georgian food in Alazani Valley. We had eight different dishes, including a whole chicken, potatoes, beans, cheese, melon, corn, fish, bread, watermelon, and corn patties. We also had chacha!

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The beans were earthy and a little sweet. I also loved the corn fritter with cheese (mchadi), and the chacha was really strong! The roasted potatoes with dill were soft and tasty, and I tried a hot pepper that wasn’t too hot.

Mchadi, or corn flour patties, at Qilimcha's Guesthouse in Telavi, Georgia

The chicken with plum sauce was sweet and savory, and the wine was nice and young. Their trout was buttery and flaky, and I also loved the corn on the cob. I couldn’t get enough of the homemade food and the amazing family!

David Hoffmann enjoying a meal and drinks at Qilimcha's Guesthouse in Alazani Valley

I hope you liked coming with me to try Georgian wine country food in the Alazani Valley! If you did, please give this video a thumbs up and leave me a comment below. Also, please subscribe to my YouTube channel and click the notification bell so you don’t miss any of my upcoming travel/food adventures!

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