Kakheti province is the very eastern province of Georgia. Its total area is 12.2 thousand sq.km, its population is 450 thousand people. The administrative center is Telavi. Kakheti region consists of 8 administrative units, municipalities: the Telavi Municipality, the Akhmeta Municipality, the Gurjaani Municipality , the Kvareli Municipality, the Dedoplistskaro Municipality, the Lagodekhi Municipality, the Sagarejo Municipality, the Sighnaghi Municipality.
Kaheti includes the basins of the river Iori and river Alazani. It is bordered by Kartli province from the west, by Azerbaijan from the east and south. In the north, it is separated from Dagestan by the Caucasus Range. Down the middle of the region from west to east is found the much lower Gombori range. South of the Gombori Range flows the river Iiori, roughly west to east forming Iori Valley. These two mountain ranges, two rivers influence and dominate the characteristics and potential for agricultural production in Kakheti and distinguish it from the agricultural production found in western regions of the country.
Nearly 85 percent of the forests in Kakheti are deciduous species with beech, oak and hornbeam dominating. Maple, aspen, ash, hazelnut and yew (in the upper Alazani River Valley) are also found. In general, its forests occur between 500-2.000 m with alpine zones present in elevations above that.
Kakheti has a transitional climate from humid subtropical to continental. The region's weather patterns are influenced both by dry Central Asian-Casian Sea air masses from the east and humid Black Sea ir masses from the west. However, penetration of the humid air masses from the Black Sea is often blocked by the Likhi and Meskheti mountain ranges that separate the west from the east. The wettest periods are generally during the spring and fall and the driest during summer and winter. Much of Eastern Georgia, especially in lower lying areas, experiences hot summers and relatively cold winters. As would be expected, elevation plays an important role with areas above 1.500 m being relatively cooler and those above 2.000 m even experiencing some frost during the summer months.
The landscapes are very diverse and controversial in Kakheti: luxurious beauty of Alazani Valley, the views of Civ-Gombori and Caucasus Mountains, Davit Gareja Desert, the Mountains of Tusheti, the uniqueness of Vakhlovani and Lagodekhi national Parks as well as the inactive volcano Akhtala in the very heart of the region.
The Cradle of Vine and Wine
If the mountains are the crown of Georgia's superb landscape, then Kakheti is its glowing heart. Known almost exclusively for its vineyards and wineries, this wide and fertile valley presses up against the white topped Daghestan Caucasus to the north and the Azerbaijan wetlands to the south. Hot enough in summer to ripen any grape to perfection, the morning fog and the abundant rivers flowing down from the high Caucasus help fill them with bold flavour.
History of Kakheti winegrowing takes a start from the 6th millennium BC. Grape leftovers, discovered by the archaeologists, date back to the mentioned period and they are the oldest around the globe, that proves once again that Georgia is a homeland of vine. Scientists believe that the word Ghvino (wine, vin, vine), has Georgian origin. 500 out of world-known 2.000 grape species, are Georgian.
During the archaeological excavations, there were unearthed bronze period goods, the oldest winepresses and wine-cellars, clay and metal wineglasses and others. There is also discovered a statue of a wine-drinking man, dating back to the 9th-th cc BC. The statue is also considered a symbol of fecundity. Attention is grabbed by golden, silver and bronze wineglasses, decorated with precious stones and engraved with vine reflections.
There were wineries in the churches and monasteries in Georgia, where one can see some wine-cellars and winepresses even today. Nekresi wine-cellar of 4th c, also remains of the winery at Ikalto Monastery Complex are highly noteworthy. There is the oldest 40-pitcher wine-cellar, where wine-making tradition still persists. There is also a unique wine store in Kvareli district, kept in a tunnel engraved in rock. The tunnel length is 13.5 km The store maintains permanent temperature at any season of year, hovering between 14-16 degrees, ideal for maturing wine; the store is still keeping Georgian brand wines.
Enoteca in Alexandre Chavchavadzes land that is built with bricks is historically, as well as architecturally remarkable for its precious collection of wines. The oldest wine of the collection is "Polish Honey", which dates back to 1814.
The vineyards cover the best part of the territory of the region. The best-known wines are found here: Tsinandali, Teliani, Napareuli, Vazisubani, Mukuzani, Akhasheni, Gurjaani, Kardenakhi, Tibaani, Kindzmarauli, Manavi, Eniseli, Gremi. The biggest wine companies, such as Badagoni, Telavi Wine Cellar, Teliani Valley, Corporation Kindzmarauli, GWS, Mildiani, Kindzmaraulis Marani, Shumi, Tsinandali Old Cellar and etc are also located in Kakheti. The wines produced in these wineries are of worldwide recognition. Winemaking and Viticulture remains the most vital branches of Economics of the region. Home-made wine is available in every family in Kakheti. The guests are treated with pleasure with divine Georgian wine and the delicious Georgian cuisine.