The Saperavi Grape Vine, Originating in Georgia

In the final verified version of the book, Georgian Amphelography, published in 1960, 417 varieties of Georgian grape vines are outlined.  Among them is the unique breed named Saperavi.  Due to its biological and morphological signs, Saperavi is thought to be the oldest breed of grape vine.  Not only is it an ancient variety, but the Saperavi vine originates in Georgia.  

Unfortunately, data regarding the specific date and location of origin of the Saperavi vine has not been preserved.  However, through studies, the origination of this breed can and has been dated back to the 17th century.  Ivane Javakhishvili determined that the Saperavi vine likely originated in the Shavshet-klarjeti province before spreading to Eastern Georgia through Kartli.  The vine made its mark and found its way to the Kakheti vineyards by the closing of the 17th century.  

Soon, growing of the Saperavi vine ventured into Georgia’s bordering countries, firstly Azerbaijan and secondly Armenia.  By 1860, the vine was being bred with other European varieties, and had found its way to France.  

Saperavi is now grown and cultivated in many countries quite simply because the breed is valuable.  Agriculturally and technologically speaking, the Saperavi vine is better in three ways: productivity, quality, and frost-resistancy.  The wine made from the Saperavi vine is of a superior taste and quality due to its chemical make-up, and thus it is considered the best grape for making red wine.  

Saperavi wine made from grapes grown in the Kvareli and Mukuzani areas of the Kakheti region is the most exquisite.  Crimea and Uzbekistan, however, offer the top dessert Saperavis.   But the most satisfying of all is that the vine that makes the red wine of the highest rank originates here in Georgia and continues to be grown here. 


By Shirin Mahdavi

18 September 2018 08:52