Georgia has an abundance of attractions, but its ancient winemaking tradition distinguishes it from countless wine destinations across the world. The tradition started more than 80 centuries ago, approximately 50 centuries before the Iron Age and about 30 centuries before the invention of writing. Georgia’s winemaking is mostly done in small-scale operations. The process is mainly natural, so connoisseurs are always sure to savor the best wine in Georgia. Therefore, it’s no surprise that Tbilisi, Georgia’s capital, features in the list of best wine tour sites in Europe.
The city harbors several wine destinations that are openly welcome to visitors looking for memorable wine tasting sessions. It’s worth mentioning that wine bars are a relatively new trend in Georgia’s capital, but their popularity is ever-growing. With this titbit, read on as we divulge the best wine tasting and tour places in Tbilisi.
Wine Factory No.1
Under the special request of Nichlos I, famous architect Alexander Ozerov designed and oversaw the construction of the unique and beautiful Wine Factory from 1894 to 1896 in Vera, Tbilisi’s oldest district. The wine factory remained operational until the 80s of the 20th century. However, the place was re-opened in 2017, housing art studios, wine bars, a cooking school, and restaurants. The Wine Factory complex is an ideal destination for visitors looking for unforgettable wine tasting tours in Tbilisi. First, walk into the Wine Bazaar&Black Monk bar. Here a ladder rolls along the wall for easy access to multiple shelves holding more than 1300 types of dry, semi-dry, red, and white wines. More than 40000 wine bottles are preserved in this bar’s cellar, and rumors have it that the selection includes Stalin’s wine collection and Napoleon’s cognac.
Consider checking in 2Wine wine bar that gives you an excellent opportunity to taste a diverse collection of Georgian wines. You will also discover the art of masterful matching food and wine matching here. For instance, homemade cream cheese, herring pate, and fresh salmon are complemented with a glass of the Tsinandali wine. Next, enter the stylish and cozy Veriko, with a fantastic and well-arranged interior. Don’t leave this place without sampling the tasty traditional Georgian menu made in a modern way, paired with a glass of any of the several wines stocked here.
No description suits ღVino Underground better than wine heaven. Started by seven Georgian winemakers aiming to change winemaking and consumption tradition, ღVino Underground is an ideal go-spot for wine lovers. You will regularly find the owners in the wine bar teaching guests about Georgia’s wine or hosting wine tasting parties. ღVino is strategically located near Tbilisi’s Freedom corner, with its underground location offering visitors a cozy, old-world feel in the bustling city.
The bar offers more than 100 family-produced Georgian wines, most of which are made in ceramic qvevris found in the Kakheti region, the most famous winemaking region in Georgia. Sample a massive selection of white flavor and the distinctive orange-colored wine, a result of including grape stems, skin, and seeds in the fermentation process. You will also love to accompany the wines with the savory treats offered in this wine bar, including unseasonal mushroom, cheese, and artisan bread. Otherwise, you can choose to savor the fruit brandies, chacha (Georgian grape vodka), or spirits.
G.vino has quickly become a favorite among locals and tourists searching for good natural wine since its establishment at the bustling Erekle Street in 2015. Distinguished for its elegant, contemporary interior design and an inviting patio, G.vino has no trouble setting up a memorable wine tasting experience for connoisseurs. In this venue, small plates are accompanied by perfectly paired wine, a concept synonymous with Spanish tapas bars. The seats covered with Georgian weaving designs and the wood, whitewashed walls are a great addition to the G.vino’s coziness.
This top wine destination specializes in organic, local wine and has a knack of serving traditional Georgian cuisines with a modern twist. Here, you will encounter some products sourced from some of the best kvevri winemakers, including Vita Vinea, Nika, Lagvinari, and Gotas. You also want to sample the delicious lobio (beans cooked with clay pot) topped with pomegranate seeds and cilantro.
The 8000 Vintages is a contemporary establishment that serves as a wine shop and bar, and roughly 10-15 -minute taxi ride from the center of the city. At the front, you will find the wine shop with quite a large selection of wines that you can give a try. The bar is situated at the back, and it’s here you will land memorable tasting sessions. Each bottle is selected from tasting sessions involving an independent committee, with 100 bottles chosen monthly. In this wine destination, visitors are treated to a one-hour wine tasting of four wines accompanied with a cheese board and/or charcuterie. Don’t leave this place without savoring a blend of reds, including the Saperavi Budushuri, Seperavi, and Tavkveri or the whites like the exotic Chateau Zarbazani Rkatsiteli. 8000 Vintages was not established just for tourists. It also runs weekly wine tasting classes for the local drinking population.
Vinotel is a fashionable hotel housed in a 19th-century building with a terrace, lounge area, and stained windows. The property, initially owned by a connoisseur and winemaker, is located on the left bank of River Mtkvari, 7-min walk from the Alavabari Metro Station and a 15-minutes walk from Freedom Square. Vinotel Boutique Hotel incorporates an old wine cellar with a rich collection of natural and exclusive Georgian wines. The cellar’s natural properties and modern German-technology help to maintain the wines at an optimum condition.
Visitors can enjoy a range of concoctions and participate in wine tasting under the careful guidance of professional connoisseurs and sommeliers. For each wine tasting, you will part with about $70, exclusive of the wines’ cost. The wine destination also serves traditional Georgian cuisines infused with some modernity, besides being made with local and natural ingredients. Some of the best dishes you ought to taste are Svani Tchvishtari and Dambal Khacho.
Vinotheca Wine Shop
Kote Apkhazi Street, formerly known as Leseledze Street, is the center of Tbilisi’s multi-denominational and multi-ethnic heritage, being home to Father of the Cross Church, Armenian Holy Church of Nazareth, and Georgian synagogue. Nearby, there’s a Catholic church, a Zoroastrian temple, and Jumar Mosque. These worship places are not the only destinations that popularize Lesledze Street. The street also boasts some of the best wine shops in Georgia’s capital, among them, being Vinotheca.
Vinotheca wine shop was opened in winter 2008 by Gia Darsali, during a time Georgians were not familiar with bottled wines. Most wine shops sold tap wines, which had the reputation of being cheaper and claimed to be natural, and cleaner, although that was not the typical case. In Venotheca, you will acknowledge the services and assistance offered by the friendly staff who love and are conversant with wine. Vinotheca doesn’t restrict itself to one producer; it sources its wine from several national and family wine companies, giving you a good selection of natural and conventional wines. Some of the choices we recommend include Artevani, Separavi, Teliani Valley Separavi, and Shalauri. The wine tasting table has several white and red wines.
Sulico Wine Bar
In Georgia, Suliko means soul, and undoubtedly Sulico wine bar is sure to revive a broken soul. The bar, established by Nina Odzelashvili, is hidden in a garden at the center of Georgia’s capital. It’s below Zandukeli Street on the ground floor of a nineteenth-century building, with its courtyard and interior space harboring at least 20 seats each. Sulico boasts a collection of more than 130 different bottles, several of which are aged in natural kvevris owned by families.
Sulico serves a good share of European-inspired dishes. The organic menu, drafted by self-taught cook Baaia Tsaava and implemented by Natia Amergonashvili, mainly involves local ingredients. You want to experience the slow explosion of savoriness as you devour beef fillet, dolma, lamb chakapuli, or chocolate sauce, accompanied with a glass of wine. Be sure to conclude your visit to Sulico with tvishi, a semi-sweet white wine which boasts several international awards.
Wine and Muse
Located next to Tbilisi Event hall, Muse & Wine offers a friendly environment for musing alone or holding an in-depth discussion with fellow tourers, with a glass of red or white wine on the table. It’s also a good spot for coupes to deliberate over issues or pass time together over a bottle. Muse & Wine is a relatively smaller space, but with a fantastic interior featuring a plethora of stylish details and antiques. This hidden treasure has a great collection of natural Georgian wines and snacks for an affordable price, accompanied by fantastic live music that complements the authentic experience. The hosts are super-friendly and are more than willing and happy to help visitors pick wines for tasting or purchase.
Dadi Wine Bar and Shop
After day-long sightseeing around Tbilisi environs, be sure to stop by and enjoy a light dinner or drink at Dadi Wine Bar and Shop, located at Shalva Dadiani street in Sololaki District. Established near the Freedom Corner by a friendly Moscow couple, Sasha and Dina, this cozy modern bar is undoubtedly a great spot for wine tasting. It has an impressive collection of natural Georgian wines, whose source can be traced on the well-lit map on the wall. The charismatic and dedicated host will excellently guide you through the selection, whether you want to learn more about a particular wine type or chose the best picks for superb tasting. You can pair your drink with an option from the menu of high-quality, large, and small dishes, including the salted caramel panna cotta. You can also have a taste of home-distilled chacha, a Georgian spirit made of grape skins used in aging qvevri wine.
What strikes your eyes first when you enter the Wine Gallery, located at Tsinamdzgvrishvili Street 39, is the charming and exemplary-designed interior. Countless bottles of wine are assembled high on the shelves, with the enormous crystal chandelier augmenting the exquisite interior. The cellar harbors a great selection of only Georgian wines, which you can taste under the guidance of the welcoming staff. The underground section of the Wine Gallery is dedicated to wine tasting. The dimly lit arches have a metallic guard sculpture on either side, and walking past them feels like traveling back to ancient times. The piano music fills the cup of silence as visitors savor their selection of drinks. You can also try chacha at the Wine Gallery.
Located at 49 David Aghmashenebeli Avenue, Amber Bar is an excellent spot for wine lovers looking to try a taste of fantastic natural kvevri wine made by small-scale winemakers and entrepreneurs. The place offers a collection of more than 100 types of wines, with its name coming from the distinct color of amber wine. The venue is warm, welcoming, and not too loud, making it an ideal spot for catching up with a friend or tour partner. You will also love to interact with friendly, English-speaking staff who will guide you on picking the best options for your budget. Amber bar also serves an excellent combination of Georgian and European meals that pair well with each glass of wine. Some of the unique dishes include pomegranate sauce, eggplant satsivi with ghomi sticks, chicken with prunes, and bruschettas with pear.
If you’re still looking for traditional cuisines twisted with modernity and a good selection of natural wines, be sure to check out the Culinarium. The restaurant is owned by a renowned Georgian chef and TV show star, Tekuna Gachechiladze., The restaurant is also famous for its delicious fish dishes, including the pickled jonjoli flower buds with tuna and the cherry sauce accompanied by baked salmon. Georgian pastries, such as tarragon, chili sauce, and ajika feature in the Culinarium dishes. You will also love the Asian cuisines offered on Sundays, healthy salads, meat soup, and savory desserts.
Tbilisi is home to some of the best wine destinations in Georgia and Europe as well. For unforgettable wine tasting and tour, pick several options from the list we’ve recommended above. If you’ve got more time, don’t shy away from trying them all, provided you have an allowance of stretching your budget. You will encounter a broad collection of natural Georgian wines in these venues, with several of them offering traditional Georgian meals and Chacha. So, as you draft a bucket list of the best places to visit in Georgia, don’t leave out these wine destinations in Tbilisi.