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Published: September 6th 2021
As we traveled throughout Georgia, we made a point to try as many local wines as we could. We would be at a restaurant, the waiter would ask what we wanted to drink and we would ask if they could recommend a bottle of wine…a bottle of Georgian wine. This lasted only a short time as we quickly realized, the only wine you could find in Georgia was Georgian wine.
Loyalty. Confidence in your product. I like that. Plus, in those moments when we did not share a common language with our waiter, we could just point and know we were going to be sampling local wine.
Before arriving in wine country, we had started to see a trend in what wines we most appreciated and even started recognizing some labels and vineyards. Wow, does that sound like we drank too much on this vacation? We can discuss that later, I suppose.
Arriving in wine country meant plotting your attack as you can only visit so many vineyards and you can only sample so many wines per day. We had to be smart. We had to be strategic. And we had to
have a strategy. Well, let me clarify. Kyle had to do all this. I my strategy was that I would go wherever as they all looked good to me, and after a few tastings don’t they all seem good?
Shumi was a vineyard we happened to drive past and we recognized the name because we had really enjoyed a few Shumi wines at previous restaurants. So that was an easy choice. It also turned out to be a great stop.
We pulled into the complex, left our driver and wandered through the many rows of grapes and past the various unique landscaping vignettes and I was intrigued before we even got started. After some wandering and photo taking, we were paired up with an English speaking college student who was eager to walk us through the history of Georgian wine making, the wine making process and, of course, offer us the opportunity to sample the goods.
Our tour started in the vineyards and right off the bat he asked us if we knew why there were rose bushes planted at the end of each row of grapes. I know it was
kind of a rhetorical question, but I answered anyway. Quite shocked that I was correct, he told me that no one had ever answered that question correctly. So, I strutted around feeling like a smarty pants until he later informed us he had only been working at the winery for a few months.
We went down in the cellars and saw the famous Georgian quervis in action. These are the huge clay earthenware jugs that are used to ferment the wine. These are Georgia’s signature in the wine making world and the Georgians are quite proud of this history and heritage. I do not blame them. This ancient process makes some very tasty modern day wine.
We toured the museum of wine making and discussed how wine traveled from Georgia to other parts of the world back in it’s early days. We chatted with our tour guide and enjoyed his passion for wine and his desire to return to his village in Kakheti. He told us each family in the region had their own little plot of wine making grapes and each family made their own wine. He talked about how he hoped to
visit the United States someday and lamented the visa application process. We discussed world politics, wines around the world and, of course, we discussed Covid.
Kyle talked our guide into added a few wines to our tasting package and I just kept eating and drinking as they discussed the many details of what makes a good wine.
We soaked up the views along with the wine and there is no doubt Shumi was my favorite vineyard in Georgia.
**For more stories and photos about our travels, please follow along on Facebook at Valeri Crenshaw and on Instagram at Valerispassport!***
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