A Wine Tasting Experience You Haven't Done Yet Can Be Discovered in Georgia
The editors of Travel + Leisure have teamed up with Black Tomato—a company known for securing insider experiences—on a series of one-of-a-kind journeys around the globe. Plus: the must-see experiences and sites in each destination that are so unique we’ve designated them our new wonders of the world.
Travel + Leisure and luxury travel experts Black Tomato have partnered for an in-depth journey through the former Soviet Republic, Georgia. You'll experience a mix of the old (like ancient, fascinating abandoned towns from the Bronze Age) and the cutting-edge—including the stylish hotels in the capital, Tbilisi, and Kazbegi, deep within the Caucasus Mountains. Culinary highlights, meanwhile, include an in-depth look at one of our New World Wonders, Kakheti, Georgia’s top wine region.
Read the full trip outline below, and when you're ready to speak to an expert, get in touch with our luxury travel partner, Black Tomato.
Day 1: Tbilisi
Check into the Stamba Hotel, a former publishing house headquarters situated in the heart of a city that gets trendier and more stylish by the day. It’s a property with remarkable design—a cold and harsh Brutalist building that’s been transformed into something spectacular. Its 42 rooms bring a quirky, high-end hipster-esque sensibility to the Georgian capital, with a friendly team that displays the warmth of Georgian hospitality.
Day 2: Tbilisi
Today, get acquainted with the city on a walking tour: you’ll pass through the Old Tbilisi, with its famous sulphur springs along the Mtkvari River. Visit the Metekhi Church and walk across the Metekhi Bridge—the first one built to connect the Mtkvari River’s left and right banks. Step inside Sioni church, where St. Nino’s cross from 337 A.D. is kept, and stop into Anchiskhati, the most ancient church in Tbilisi. Stroll by traditional houses with their vineyard-filled yards as you make your way towards Narikhala, the 4th-century fort overlooking the city. It provides an exquisite view of the city and region. After lunch at a local restaurant, visit the Georgian State Museum, known for its collection of gold and silver artefacts and jewellery from the pre-Christian period.In the evening, attend a traditional Georgian dance class, an hour full of positive energy and impeccable dance education of its basic elements.
Day 3: Mtskheta and Kazbegi
After breakfast, check out of the hotel and drive to Kazbegi. But first, stop in Mtskheta, the ancient capital of eastern Georgia. The country's conversion to Christianity happened here in 337 A.D., and it’s considered one of Georgia's most important religious centers. Visit the Svetitskoveli Cathedral and the beautiful Jvari Monastery, situated on the edge of a cliff. From there, Visit Iago’s Winery and get a first-hand look at the country’s wine production. Iago’s Wine is a boutique family winery that makes reds and whites using grapes from their own organic vineyards. After lunch, continue your drive along the stunning Caucasus Mountains to Kazbegi, where you’ll check into Rooms Hotel Kazbegi. Originally a Brutalist Soviet building, its 155 rooms offer floor-to-ceiling windows that frame incredible mountain landscapes.
Day 4: Kazbegi
Head to the Gergeti Tsminda Sameba Trinity Church, built in the 14th century and situated nearly 7,000 feet above sea level. From this spot you get an unforgettable view of Mount Kazbek, covered with glaciers and permafrost. According to legend, the titan Prometheus (he was said to have brought fire to man) was chained on Mount Kazbek. After lunch at an authentic local restaurant, drive to Sno Gorge. The area is rich in natural mineral springs and dotted with old towers, as well as Gveleti waterfall, one of the highest in Georgia.
Day 5: Gori and Uplistsikhe
After breakfast at the hotel, drive to Gori for a guided tour of the town. It’s famous as the home of the Stalin Museum, a complex buildings that chronicle the former Soviet dictator and includes the house where Stalin was born. You will be able to see his personal things, a recreation of his Kremlin study room and manuscripts.
After lunch, continue your drive to Uplistsikhe, located in Eastern Georgia. Uplistsikhe (literally “Lord’s Fortress“) is an abandoned rock-hewn town, which once played an important role in Georgian history. It was founded in the late Bronze Age, around 1000 BC, and continued to be inhabited until the 13th. Uplistsikhe was one of the most important political and religious centres of pre-Christian Kartli (one of the predecessors of the Georgian state). The rock-cut structures include a pagan sites of sacrifice, dwellings, and functional buildings like a pharmacy, a bakery, a prison, and even an amphitheatre. All of the structures are connected by tunnels.
Afterwards, stop by Tsinandali estate, which features a beautiful English garden, a museum, and the wine cellar that belonged to Prince Chavchavadze, a 19th-century poet. Enjoy a wine tasting of five different bottles and Chacha Vodka from the estate’s own vineyards.
Day 6: Napareuli and Sighnaghi
In the morning, drive to the town of Napareuli to visit the Qvevri Wine Museum, which displays all phases of the process. After lunch, continue the drive to Sighnaghi and take a guided tour of the city. The name means “shelter,” and though it’s small, it has a rich history. It’s enclosed by a fortified wall that’s the second longest man-made wall after the Great Wall of China. Check out the Sighnaghi Museum, which features five thousand artefacts, including textiles, copper and wooden domestic items, goldsmith works, and about two thousand coins minted in Persia and Georgia. Have dinner at an excellent local restaurant before turning in for the night.
If you’re visiting in the autumn, you’ll get a chance to participate in the grape harvest. Help collect grapes from the vineyard before taking a Churchkhela-making class—Georgian traditional sweets made from grape juice and walnuts.
From $3,750 per person for six days. To enquire about this trip with Black Tomato, click below.