What is Chkhaveri, anyway?

A western Georgian variety, Chkhaveri is mostly planted near the Black Sea coast in Adjara and especially in Guria, but also in Imereti. Chkhaveri originally was a “maghlari” wine, a vine trained to grow up trees. This pinkish-violet variety is sensitive to site and needs careful attention to give quality fruit. It grows particularly well on cooler, south-facing hillsides with limestone soils. Given the relative warmth of the climate, frost is rarely an issue where Chkhaveri is cultivated. The bunches are small and thin, but can be dense with one wing; yields are small.

Chkhaveri ripens quite late (in Guria, in the second half of November) and care must be taken to prevent botrytis. It can reach very high sugar levels while retaining fresh, brisk acidity, allowing for remarkable versatility. Alcohol levels are always moderate. Regardless of whether the wine is still or sparkling, dry or semi-sweet, Chkhaveri wines are vibrant pink, fresh flavors of red berries, cherries, forest fruits and baking spices. The naturally semi-sweet rosés, produced classically in tank and intended for early consumption are delightful and refreshing. Produced as a light red in Qvevri, the fruits are more subdued but the spiciness offers lift and complexity. It is a specialty of Guria, grown particularly in Ozurgeti and Chokhatouri, and also grows well in Imereti and Adjara.