Climate and geography: Imereti

Appears in

Oxford Companion to Wine

Oxford Companion to Wine

By Jancis Robinson

Published 2006

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Imereti is the ‘stomach’ of Georgia, its gastronomic capital and keeper of national traditions. In the first half of the 19th century, Imereti’s capital Kutaisi was the centre of Georgian winemaking and wine-trading. Imereti is in the eastern part of west Georgia, in the basins and in the gullies of Rioni, Kvirila, and other rivers. The most important grape varieties are Tsitska, Tsolikouri, and Krakhuna for whites and Aladasturi and Otskhanuri Sapere for reds. Nowadays the most important Imereti wine regions are Zestaphoni, Terjola, Vani, and Bagdati; the one appellation is Sviri. As well as modern European methods, Imereti also uses a very particular winemaking technique, similar to Kakheti’s except that grape skins are added to the clay jars (here called churi) during fermentation, a little like Italy’s governo, and this is followed by a maceration of six to eight weeks.