Known as the birthplace of winemaking, Georgia’s oenophilic history dates back more than 8,000 years, all the way to the Stone Age. Kakheti has emerged as one of the most exciting and surprising wine destinations in the world with more than 200 indigenous wine varieties linked to this region, and producing locavore Georgian grape types, including Rkatsiteli, Kakhetian Mtsvane, Khikhvi, Kisi, and Saperavi.
For wine seekers, September is perhaps the most exciting time of year to travel across the country and walk the mineral-rich land to visit wineries during Rtveli, the local term for the grape harvest season. Georgian vineyards and wineries have retained the original, natural-wine making methods that were banned under Soviet rule but revived over the past decades, which involves fermenting the wine in clay vessels called “qvevri” that are buried into the ground.
The Qvevri is an egg-shaped earthenware vessel used for making, aging and storing wine. Knowledge and experience of Qvevri manufacture and wine-making is passed down through families, neighbours, friends and relatives, all of whom join in communal harvesting and wine-making activities. Children learn how to tend the vines, press grapes, ferment wine, collect clay and make and fire through observing their elders. The wine-making process involves pressing the grapes and then pouring the juice, grape skins, stalks and pips into the Qvevri, which is sealed and submerged into the ground so that the wine can ferment for five to six months before being consumed.
The most enticing property for guests to stay while exploring Kakheti and the Rtveli grape harvest is the newly revamped Lopota Lake Resort & Spa. Surrounded by beautiful Caucasus mountains, Lopota Lake & Spa Resort is located in the Kakheti region of Eastern Georgia, and is an ideal destination not only for those seeking a peaceful place to rest, but for active holidaymakers looking for adventures. With its own winery named “Château Buera”, vineyards, a number of exceptional restaurants, two spas (featuring treatments such as vinotherapy wine bath), horse stable yard, farm and a lake, where guests can fish or venture out onto the water in a catamaran, Lopota Lake & Spa Resort is the perfect place to stay for adventurous travellers.
Château Buera at Lopota Lake Resort & Spa is a hub for wine-lovers, and preserves the ancient traditions of Georgian wine production. Guests can enjoy breathtaking views of the Caucasus Mountains while sipping authentic Georgian wine, tour the wine cellar where the wine is produced according to traditional Georgian methods, and taste the delicious Georgian-European fusion cuisine in the restaurant and terrace. In addition to its on-site winery, Lopota Lake Resort & Spa offers wine tours throughout the region in local wineries, family wine cellars and chateaus where centuries-old unique Georgian traditions of wine-making are being prolonged in modern times.