Kakheti is the largest region in Georgia and particularly famous for its luminous wines, postcard-perfect scenery and friendly people.
Snowy mountains soar above plains of corn, pomegranate orchards and relentless vineyards, side by side in a wonderful tapestry - and everywhere you go, you’ll be invited to share the perfectly fermented grapes.
Kakheti is also rich in history. It was an independent or semi-independent kingdom for long periods and here you’ll find the remarkable monastery complex of Davit Gareja as well as many other beautiful, ancient churches and castles.
Of course, Kakheti has also played an important role in Georgia's history as the cradle of wine, viticulture here having been traced back to VI millennium BC. Scientists believe that the word Ghvino (wine, vin, vine) has Georgian origin.
Geography and climate
Kakheti is bordered to the north by the small province of Tusheti and the majestic Greater Caucasus mountain range, to the east and south by Azerbaijan, and to the west by the province of Kartli. The incredibly diverse landscape of this eastern region alternates between mountains, valleys and semi-deserts. The pretty town of Telavi is the largest in the region with a population of around 30,000.
The coldest months in Kakheti are January and February. On the plains, the lowest temperatures will hover from -2 °C to 3 °C, while in the mountains it can drop to -16 °C. The hottest months are July and August when the average temperature at Alazani Valley is around 24 °C.
What to see and do
The town of Telavi is set in the vineyard-strewn Alazani Valley, at the foot of the Gombori Mountains. It’s a great base for exploring Kakheti's historical, architectural and viticultural treasures.
Immerse yourself in the outdoors - learn to fish for wild trout on the river Alazani, go rafting or horse riding. Bird and wildlife watching opportunities are also exceptional in the region's national parks, including some rare and threatened species.
Sheltering in gladed cypress woods near Telavi are the ruins of the old academy, Ikalto. A religious and educational center during the middle ages, viticulture and wine making were among the subjects studied here and the winery and cellars make up a significant part of the complex.
At the northern end of the Alazani Valley, the distinctive turret-shaped spire of the 11th-century Alaverdi Cathedral, soars 50 metres above the valley floor. The interior is just as celestial.
Kakheti is also famous for the Davit Gareji monastery, a UNESCO World Heritage site founded in the 6th century and skilfully sculpted from the skin of a mountain. It is one of Georgia's most significant historic sites.
Sighnaghi is the prettiest town in Kakheti, sitting astride a hilltop, flush with 18th- and 19th-century architecture and wonderful views. And of course, it's the setting for one of the biggest autumn wine festivals - not to be missed.