In Georgia, the tradition of making wines at monasteries dates back to the ancient times - that is ever since the Christianity was proclaimed the state religion in the country in 4th century. Beginning from that period, the winemaking has been one of most popular activities in different regions.
In the monasteries, apart from ritualistic purposes, the clerics have also been making wines for everyday consumption and this tradition continues to this day. At the moment, there are several monasteries in Georgia, where they have wine cellars and all of them are very popular among the local population. Here we present to you three of the most famous wines that are made at the monasteries.
Cellar of the Alaverdi monastery
The history of this monastery begins from the 6th century. It is located in eastern Georgian region of Kakheti, to the west of the Alazani river, on a fertile valley. Alaverdi had been the main place of worship for Kartli-Kakhetian kings, as well as the residential place for clerics.
Several years ago, the archaeologists discovered the remains of an 8-10th century wine cellar, which was full of traditional Georgian clay vessels, kvevris, of different sizes. The historians say that in the 11th century, the King named Kvirike the Great built a large cellar for the monastery.
Recently, by the financial assistance of Badagoni company, the restoration works were carried out and the newly-opened cellar began operating again in 2006. This ancient hub of Georgian wine culture has become a
"gold mine" of Kakhetian traditional winemaking.
Making wine in kvevri is a very old Georgian tradition and it was passed on from one generation to another. By preserving historical tradition and technology, Alaverdi cellar has become a place where some of the best wines are produced.
Shavnabada monastery cellar
This cellar has been functioning since 1998. The monks who live here have revived the centuries-old cellar. They produce Rkatsiteli, Kakhetian Green and Saperavi in Georgian traditional way.
There are many religious and ethnographic items here: jugs, plates and other traditional vessels. Out of each new harvest, the monks keep a particular amount of wine for the collection of wine samples.
Buzmareti Monastery cellar
The wine produced at the Buzmareti monastery has just appeared on the Georgian market and has already achieved a considerable popularity. As of now, only one variety of wine is produced here – Kindzmarauli – and it is made of the grapes picked on the territory of Kvareli municipality, Kakheti.
Kindzmarauli is made of Saperavi grapes.