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The Georgian wine country was high on my list, so after visiting Davit Gareja, we went into the Kakheti region to a town called Sighnaghi.  The town is situated on a hilltop overlooking a huge green valley and it almost looks like ancient Italian town, with cobblestone streets, castle walls, and old church towers rising above the houses.   I helped to make bread with an old lady and  a guy that looked Peta from District 12 (from the Hunger Games).  The Georgian bread is made on something like a tandoori oven and you slap the dough onto the inside.   The result is something like a baguette with one edge flattened so it’s super crispy and good.  In front of the bakery was a delicious family-run restaurant called the Golden Lion.   They served us homemade peach wine, the bread that I baked, Pork chunks on a skewer roasted over grape vine, salad with great onions, mushrooms with homemade cheese and of course katchapuri.  Everything was really fresh and from local farms and it tasted amazing.

It started raining heavily so we went to our guesthouse and then walked around town for a while.  I saw a beautiful view out over the city with watch towers and a castle wall that surrounds the city, and  some great churches.  The Christianity in Georgia has been around since before catholicism was a thing, but it has always been separate.   it is amazing to see the the unique and ancient Georgian style of churches.  Then we took a beautiful walk through the winding streets at night and bought a string of hazelnuts that were dipped in grape syrup from an impossibly old lady.  My guide, Beka, and I were becoming good friends and I was glad that I had decided to come along on the trip.  He had lived in Cleveland and New York for about eight years so his English was pretty much perfect.  He was great at helping me to understand Georgian culture and get over a lot of my initial confusions in Tbilisi.

The next morning, the lady that ran our guesthouse (who spoke zero English) gave us a really cheap breakfast (bread + a couple veggies) and Beka got mad.  Then his boss, Temo,  called her and told her to fix it if she wants more business.  We left the problem unresolved and walked a few miles to Bodbe monastery where St. Nino is buried.  She is probably the most famous saint in Georgia and her icon is everywhere!  She spread Christianity around Georgia in the early 4th century. There is a holy spring at the bottom of a hill near the church that is supposed to cure illnesses.  A church lady yelled at me for standing on the altar which I thought was just a normal stone.  All along the way saw mulberries, pomegranates, figs, grapes, hazelnuts, walnuts, peaches, pears, so we basically had a free fruit and nut buffet during the hike.

After the long hike back from Bodbe, we went back to the Golden Lion and had a great lunch of fresh bread, eggplant, salad, meat, fruit, tarragon lemonade (so good!) and a beer.   Then it was time to get down to wine tasting at the Pheasant’s Tear’s winery where they make wine in accordance with the 8000 year old Georgian  traditions.  There are 500+ types of grapes in Georgia that were maintained through the years because warriors would hide a vine in their armor.  Then, if they were struck down, the vine would grow from their bodies!  Our host was a 20 year old kid from NY that was super friendly and good at explaining about the different wines.  They are very minerally  (which I love) because they of the process where they are stored in Quevaries (huge clay jugs). Basically every family grows grapes in Georgia and it is actually a shame if they don’t. It means they are poor and lazy.   The wine tasting was fascinating because there were so many varietals that I had never heard of.  It was like discovering wine again for the first time.  After tasting several of the different types, we drank some chacha (har liquor made from grape skins).  It was similar to grappa but I think way better because it’s aged in oak.

The winery was great but we wanted to take in a bit of the culture of the city so we walked in a wine haze to a museum and saw some prehistoric stuff and some cool old instruments.  Just outside we saw a cop playing ping pong against some local folk.   Then it really started raining hard  so went back to the guesthouse.  I spent the afternoon drinking a bottle of wine on the deck and enjoying the views over the valley.  Then an old french couple showed up that had ridden bikes from Batumi. all the way on the opposite side of the county! (It took them either 40 days or 14…not sure). The woman gave me a peach. Apparently they grow delicious peaches in both Georgias!


  • Baking Bread in Sighnaghi
  • Baker in Sighnaghi
  • Fresh Baked Bread in Sighnaghi
  • Georgian Supra
  • Tusheti Style hat
  • View Over Sighnaghi
  • Wall Around Sighnaghi
  • Grape Sculpture in Sighnaghi
  • Shrine in Sighnaghi
  • Fallen Georgian Warriors
  • Cafe in Sighnaghi
  • Beka Near Cafe in Sighnaghi
  • Old Street in Sighnaghi
  • Pretty Street in Sighnaghi
  • Church in Sighnaghi
  • Church and wall in Sighnaghi
  • Georgian Market
  • Watermelons for Sale
  • Watermelons for Sale
  • Sighnaghi on a Hill
  • Church Farm Near Bodbe
  • Nun Farmers
  • Holy Springs Near Bodbe
  • Traditional Winemaking in Sighnaghi
  • Georgian Wine
  • Gamarjos!
  • Sighnaghi
  • Sighnaghi
  • Sighnaghi and Russian Car
  • Georgia Map Poster
  • Ping Pong Match With a Cop
  • Raindbow over Sighnaghi

Posted: July 28, 2012

Author: Adam and Amanda

Category: Blog, Continents, Europe, Georgia


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