Having once in a life time your own vineyard. Some people may have set this to their life goal. And as a tourist you can have this already nowadays in Georgia. Tourism is massively growing in the Caucasian country. While 25 years ago the country was struggling in a bloody civil war you can travel today safely through Georgia. And more and more people know that and want to travel to Georgia. Furthermore, more and more Georgians are profiting from the recent development. The wine farmers are some of them.
Most Georgians who live out of the cities are caring for their selves. On their property they farm fruits and vegetables, kitchen trash is feed to chicken and pigs and wine grapes from sunny corners are processed to house wine. Georgia is famous for its wine. Recent archeological excavations proofed, that the first produced wine ever is coming from Georgia. The biggest cultivation area is in the province Kacheti about 80 miles east of the capital Tbilisi. My girlfriend Sophia and I wanted to call such a vineyard once in the life our own. At least for three days. After we lived most the time on our tour through Georgia on two square meters, we wanted to allow ourselves something.
And that’s how we met the 29-years old Beka who welcomed us with open heart on his wine yard Mestvireni. “My family produced wine since forever. In the past it wasn’t as much wine as today. And the wine was not made for selling neither. It was just produced for own needs” tells me Beka while he is showing us his property. Alright – the infamous house wine. In the past they produced about 1.000 Liter per year. For own needs it seems a lot for me. I am looking unbelievingly to Beka. He is just laughing. “You must know that people in Georgia love to celebrate. We love to spend the evening with our families, friends and neighbors. We are cooking together and are drinking our house wine. You can’t believe how fast 1.000 liters are empty after that!” It is something Beka is very proud about the Georgians – the interpersonal relations. “We’re calling each other, everybody is telling what he or she has in their kitchen from which we all together are cooking something very special.”
Our accommodation is unique. The villa has a huge property on which hazel nuts and wine is produced. The valley has constant rain and the difference of the temperature between night and day time is marginal. The conditions are perfect to farm wine and nuts. “We built the house 2013. Two years late we added the storehouse with the wine cellar. Originally, we planned the villa for our own but then more and more tourist came to the region. That is why we changed the house to a guest house because we want to share what we love the most” explains Beka while we are sitting on the veranda watching the incredible mountain views. The winery is located 10 minutes from the province capital Telawi. That is the place where the heart of wine farming is beating. It is the place where the wine was produced which was served on soviet state banquets. Nowadays Georgian wines are playing in the wine champions league again. 500 of the 4000 known wine grape types are growing in Georgia. Farmers survived deep hits like in 1985, when Gorbatschow was fighting against alcoholism and cut whole wine hills or 2006, when Russia released an embargo against Georgian wines. “Mostly big companies suffered due to these events. But during that time my family produced only for own needs and was therefore not affected” explains Beka after I wonder how life was in that periods.
With the new villa the family started to improve the wine farming. They focused the farming to the white dry wine Rkaziteli and the red dry wine Saperawi. They send the wine in jerrycans to Saint Petersburg, Russia where a big purchaser was located. “We need to provide the driver with some money in cash as the way through Russia is long and covered with corrupt police officers” smiles Beka. After he welcomed the first tourists in the villa, Beka knew which way they had to take. The wine had to be filled in nice bottles with a professional label. One of his friends is an artist and created the design of the label. Since 2017 the family has the perfect souvenir for their guests. And the wine is tasting really good! “Lots of our tourist are coming from Germany and the Netherlands. Back to their home they are requesting supplies. That is why I am looking for cheap ways to bring the wine to Europe.”
Before Beka is leaving for his personal business he is giving us a tour through the winery and explains how Georgian wine is produced. Meanwhile his sister prepares a delicious dinner. After serving us the food, Beka and his sister are leaving us alone. On the next morning we are gazing unbelievingly from the veranda to the hazel nut trees and wine grapes which are growing in front of the mountains of the Caucasus. We can’t believe that we are really having our own vineyard!
You can book the villa Mestvireni here: https://www.booking.com/hotel/ge/mestvireni.de.html