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If there is one thing to be known about the Georgian people – it’s that they love to party! Wine is seen as sacred in the Republic of Georgia, as well as the central and most significant piece of any სუფრა – supra (feast). Centuries-old traditions are actively kept alive, including Georgia’s ancient and unique methods of wine making. Locals love celebrating their vibrant culture and are willingly able to turn any occasion into a celebration!
For those who are interested in uncovering Georgia’s rich culture and historical connection to wine, check out some of the top festivals & events to attend both in Tbilisi and across the country, listed by season below.
Winter/ Spring – Georgia Food & Wine Festivals
When: February 26, 2023
Where: Didi Chailuri & other villages in Kakheti
Berikaoba is one of Georgia’s oldest pagan festivals, dating back thousands of years ago to Georgia’s early farming culture. After Christianity was introduced and accepted in Georgia in the 4th century, many pagan traditions and celebrations began to quietly disappear.
Although Berikaoba was previously celebrated on a much larger scale, it is now typically celebrated in just a few villages in Kakheti, the largest of those celebrations in the village of Didi Chailuri. Villagers perform small dances and skits in berikas while others engage in (chidaoba) mud-wrestling competitions. The festival is historically connected to fertility and fruitful spring.
When: May 2, 2023 @10am – 9pm
Where: Kutaisi, Georgia
The word “Gvirila” in Georgian means “daisy/chamomile,” and the festival was given this name in 1921 when a few high school girls in Kutaisi participated in a charity campaign by picking daisies and selling them to help people suffering from tuberculosis with the gathered money. This act of kindness was revered by locals and turned into a collective celebration of the city.
Different theatrical performances, sports competitions, mini parades, musical performances, and various kinds of fun entertainment are held throughout the city from the early morning to late evening. Fun for the whole family!
Zero Compromise – Natural Wine Festival
When: May 5-6, 2023 @11am
Where: Silk Factory Studio, Tbilisi
Due to high demand, the festival will be 2-days long instead of one for the first time! Sample natural, local Georgian wines and meet the winemakers themselves. Those interested in natural wine can also speak with wine experts and importers to get a deeper understanding of recent harvests and natural wine production in Georgia. Only wine cellars producing natural wines that are members of the Natural Wine Association are allowed to participate. One day pass – 30 GEL. Two day pass – 50 GEL.
Read about all of the TOP wines we discovered at the 2023 event – HERE
Sherekilebi – Wine Tasting Festival
When: May 9, 2023 @12pm – 5pm
Where: Iago’s Winery, Village Chardakhi, Mtskheta
Sample natural, local Georgian wines at Iago’s Vineyard from all corners of Georgia at this special wine tasting event. Notable Georgian winemakers will be in attendance as well so you can get to know the winemaker as you sample their wine!
List of participants:
• Ramaz Nikoladze- Nikoladzeebis Marani
• Iago Bitarishvili – Iago’s Wine
• Vincent Jullien Guillaume gouerou- Lapati wines
• Shota Lagazidze – Lagazi
• Bastien Warskotte – Ori Marani
• Tsotne Giorgadze- Bediani
• Miranda Chkhetiani- Miranda’s wine
• Malkhaz Kharbedia – Kalami
New Wine Festival
When: May 13, 2023 @11am – 6pm
Where: Mtatsminda Park, Tbilisi
Taste hundreds of new wines from last year’s harvest (2022) and meet winemakers, world-renowned wine experts, sommeliers, and importers from around the world at the ultra-popular annual New Wine Festival. The festival will kick off with a traditional qvevri opening ceremony along with the famous Georgian feasting song called “Mravaljamier” meaning “Long live!” There will be music and a variety of activities to engage in, including a small lottery where 10 boxes of wine will be won! Attendance is free of charge.
Tushetian Cheese Festival
When: Late May (TBA)
Where: Akhmeta, Kakheti
Besides its breathtaking mountains and ancient ruins, Tusheti is also known for its goat cheese that is made with whole milk from alpine Tushuri sheep. At this festival, local cheese-makers from nearby regions come together in Akhmeta and showcase their unique variety of cheeses. In addition to sampling some delicious, artisanal cheese, you can also listen to local folk music, purchase handmade crafts, and watch various sports activities like horse-racing.
Festival of Georgian Regions
When: May 20 – July 30 (every other weekend) @1pm
Where: Tsiskvili Restaurant, Tbilisi
Every other weekend, from May 20th – July 30th, Restaurant Tsiskvili will be hosting a cultural event showcasing different foods, wines, and traditional Georgian dances from each region of Georgia. There will also be exhibitions, wine-tasting, culinary master classes, and musical performances of traditional folk songs. A “children’s zone” will also be set up for kids to have fun. This is a great opportunity to get to know each part of Georgia, with all of their similarities and differences! Attendance is free for all.
Imereti – May 20-21
Svaneti- June 3-4
Kakheti – June 10-11
Samegrelo – June 17-18
Racha – July 1-2
Guria – July 15-16
Adjara – July 29-30
Summer – Georgia Food & Wine Festivals
Wine Expo Georgia – International Wine & Spirits Fair
When: June 2-4, 2023
Where: Expo Center, Tbilisi
The only fair of its kind in Georgia, and one of only a few in the entire Caucasus region, WINEXPO attracts roughly 4000 visitors per year, and presents up to 100 different exhibitors. The event features a wide congregation of both national and international wines, spirits, and informative seminars on wine production. For winemakers, exhibiting at WINEXPO is one of the best ways to showcase products in front of a massive group of wine trade professionals, and for visitors, a wonderful way to sample lots of great wine & spirits!
When: June 7, 2023 (annually 7th Wednesday after Easter)
Where: Lomisi (in the mountains near South Ossetia), Georgia
Quite controversial in nature, Lomisoba is a Pagan folk festival that also includes some elements of Christianity. It involves making a 3 hour pilgrimage to the summit of Lomisi mountain where visitors light candles and offer prayers at an old church. Sheep is then sacrificed in front of visitors, which is why this festival is so controversial and often a cause of dispute. The views of the Caucasus mountains are very beautiful, though.
Bolnisi PDO Wine Festival
When: June 17, 2023 @2pm
Where: Bolnisi German Neighborhood, Georgia
The festival will include over 70 winemakers that will participate in competition where the 9 best wineries will be awarded 3 gold, silver, and bronze medals, respectively. Wine experts, writers, and sommeliers from the USA have been invited and will attend. There will also be live music, and attendance is free of charge.
Click Here to learn more about the PDO regions of Georgia
SuperNatural Wine & Food Festival
When: June 17, 2023 @4pm
Where: Mtatsminda Park, Tbilisi
A wonderful festival that showcases not only local Georgian wines, but also includes members of Gastro world, artisan cheesemakers, farmers, bakers, and local handmade products! The festival will be held at the heart of the beautiful and green Mtatsminda park – what’s better than fresh air and wine?
When: August 20, 2023 @11am
Where: Maltakva Beach, Poti
KefalFest is an annual festival that is held in Poti right on the beach. There are a large variety of different activities to participate in, such as scavenger hunts, concerts, fishing competitions, a laser show, and watersports. Locals will also be selling their handmade crafts and souvenirs. Since Poti is in the Samegrelo region of Georgia, make sure you try some Megrelian khachapuri! If you are fond of spicy food, you’ll definitely want to sample some Megrelian cuisine as they are known for their love of spiciness (unlike classic Georgian food).
When: August 19, 2023 (same day every year)
Where: Pankisi, Georgia
In Georgian, Peristsvaleba literally means “changing of the colors,” and is celebrated on August 19th every year as the unofficial first day of Fall. From August 19th on, the colors of leaves will slowly change as the weather also becomes a bit turbulent, making it difficult to visit or reach high mountain areas. The entire country recognizes the importance of this day, but in Pankisi, local Kists, Chechens, and Tushetians actively celebrate. They head up to Tbatana mountain and feast to express gratitude for a good year, and have one large outdoor celebration before the cold sets in.
One Caucasus – International Interdisciplinary Festival
When: August 24 – 27, 2023
Where: Tserakvi – Marneuli, Georgia
One Caucasus is an interdisciplinary art, music & educational festival occurring annually in August, where participants from Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia will be represented in multiple fields like art, film, music, dance, and sport (among others). The location is strategically chosen to be near the border of all 3 countries that are considered “the Caucasus” – Georgia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan. Despite differences and conflicts between the 3 nations, the goal of this program is to inspire harmony and inclusivity by bringing people together in the spirit of arts, wine, and activism. Food and wine will be showcased at the festival as well, by both Georgian and non-Georgian winemakers.
Autumn – Winter Georgia Food & Wine Festivals
When: TBA (typically 3rd week of October)
Where: Many cities throughout the country – check here for updates
A week of wine festivals and concerts throughout the country? Yes please! Wine Days One of Georgia’s most well-organized collection of festivals that really showcases the country’s culture and deep connection with wine. Enjoy weeks of wine tasting, georgian dances, tasty georgian street food, handmade souvenirs, live music, and games for children. This festival truly is a favorite for both tourists and locals alike.
Terjola Wine Festival
When: October 23, 2023 @10am – 6pm
Where: Terjola, Georgia
This festival is for local winemakers in Terjola. More than 100 winemakers showcase their wines together with a small supra and traditional Georgian dishes. Each of them will create a small ‘ethno corner,’ and as soon as the festival is finished, the jury announces the winners of different nominations.
Gurjaani Wine Festival
When: October 2023 (TBA) @2pm – 10pm
Where: Akhtala Park, Gurjaani, Georgia
Huge wine festival with local winemakers in Kakheti – the region of the country known as “Georgia’s Vineyard.” Sample lots of different Georgian wines and snacks, listen to traditional folk songs, and participate in different crafting activities! The entire festival is decorated very beautifully so it’ll be easy to immerse yourself in the creative atmosphere.
Amerimeri Wine Festival
When: December – date TBD
Where: TBD in Imereti
This festival was actually established by the Natural Wine association in 2017. It showcases wines from up to 70 small wineries from various regions of Georgia, all of which are members of the Natural Wine Association. Guests of AMERIMERI will have the opportunity to meet the winemakers, participate in wine-tasting, buy rare wines, and also discover new flavors. The festival is always held in Imereti. The specific location hasn’t been decided yet, but it will definitely be in Imereti.