Historic vineyards in southern Georgia giving first harvest after 400 years

Agenda.ge, 5 Oct 2018 - 17:23, Tbilisi,Georgia

After a 400-year-long break, restored historic terraced vineyards in mountainous Meskheti is giving its first grape harvest.

The last time when grapes were harvested in Meskheti was in the end of the 16th century. Since then the oldest vine varieties and the Meskhetian terraces have been destroyed.

Ancient Meskheti was formerly the home of stonewall terraces meant for vineyards and orchards. The area was famous for its unique grapes that made one of the best wines in the country.

The restoration of Meskhetian terraces began several years ago and covered 23 hectares of land. This was a joint project of the state and private sector and aimed to bring the ancient Meskhetian wine-making tradition back to life.

In 2015 Georgian businessmen Mamuka Khazaradze and Badri Japaridze and the collector of Meskhetian vine species Giorgi Antadze joined forces to restore the 12th century old terraces which were built during the Queen Tamar era.

In 2016 Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili joined the initiative and planted several unique species of Meskhetian vine on the newly restored terraces.

As of today 12 terraces are being restored where 25 rare and unique vine varieties are planted.
It is planned to build another 11 terraces in Meskheti.