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Sighnaghi Georgia: Sighnaghi Wineries to Visit 2024

Nestled in the heart of Georgia’s famous Kakheti wine region lies Sighnaghi (also often spelled Signagi), a charming city often refered to as the “City of Love”. Surrounded by the lush South Alazani Valley Sighnaghi is not just a destination; it’s a total experience that combines rich history, vibrant culture, and of course, exquisite food and Sighnaghi wines. Whether you’re a connoisseur eager for a Sighnaghi wine tasting adventure, a romantic soul interested in why Sighnaghi is the city of love in Georgia, or a traveller keen on exploring the famous Sighnaghi fortress wall and indulge in local cuisine, this picturesque city and its surroundings promise an unforgettable day in Georiga’s famous wine country.

Planning a Trip To Visit Sighnaghi Georgia?

Here are our insider tips on tours and places to stay:

Top Tour:

  1. Eat This! Tours – Premium food and wine tours. Experience premium small-group tours providing an authentic taste of the region’s finest food and wine. (GET 5% Discount with the code FFT5) 

Top Hotels Signagi: 

  1. Kabadoni – 4 Star Boutique Spa Hotel. In Signagi.
  2. Ampelo Resort – 4 Star Resort Style. Near Signagi. (also great wines)
  3. Lost Ridge Inn, Microbrewery & Ranch – 3 Star Boutique. Near Signagi.
  4. Hotel Traveler, 2 star, standard hotel. In Signagi
  5. Royal Villa – budget 2 star guesthouse
Signagi Georgia: Signagi city of love Georgia
Signagi Georgia: Signagi city of love Georgia

Signagi City of Love Georgia 

Fondly known as the Signagi City of Love, Signagi is a tapestry of cobblestone streets, quaint houses, and an enchanting 18th-century architectural style. This charming city, perched atop a hill, offers breathtaking views of the Alazani Valley, making it a year round haven for romantics and photographers alike. Why is Signagi called the city of love? Well, that’s because up until 2020 it was the only place in Georgia that offered a 24 hour wedding chapel. People with a belly full of love (and probably chacha) could go and say “I do” in this beautiful city. Since covid, it is no longer open 24 hours a day, but it is still a beautiful option if you’d like to get married in Georgia’s city of love. 

Historical Significance

Sighnaghi’s historical significance is deeply rooted in Georgian culture. The city, with its well-preserved defensive walls and 23 watchtowers, is still an impressive sight today – can you imagine what it was like when it was a key fortress in the defense against brutal invasions? Its strategic location has played a pivotal role in Georgia’s history, and today, it stands as a testament to the resilience and spirit of the Georgian people.

The city is not just about picturesque views; it’s also a place where you can explore the culture of the region by visiting the Sighnaghi Museum, home to Georgian artistic treasures of famous painters like Pirosmani or where you can see old artefacts found around the region from thousands of years ago. 

Kakheti wines, best wineries in Kakheti
Kakheti wines, best wineries in Kakheti

Exploring Sighnaghi Georgia & South Alazani Valley Wines: A Journey Through Flavours 

Signagi and the South Alazani Valley are a part of the famous Kakheti wine region, a revered name among wine enthusiasts. Kakheti is the leading wine producing region in Georgia, boasting a winemaking history that spans thousands of years. This area is not only geographically diverse but also rich in its viticulture and enology, making Kakheti wines some of the most unique in the world.

Kakhetian Traditional Winemaking

At the core of Kakheti’s wine fame is their Kakhetian traditional winemaking methods. While many parts of Georgia make wine in a similar way, (the Georgian traditional winemaking style is a UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage), you will find geographical differences in the winemaking process depending on which Georgian wine region you happen to be in. The Kakhetian traditional winemaking method involves fermenting grape juice in large clay vessels called qvevris, buried underground. Unlike modern winemaking methods, the qvevri process uses every part of the grape, including skins, stems (sometimes), and seeds, which stay in contact with the juice throughout fermentation. This method imparts a distinctive richness and complexity to the wine, along with an amber colour in white wines, often referred to as “orange wines.”

Qvevri wine - Kakhetian traditional winemaking
Qvevri wine – Kakhetian traditional winemaking

The Significance of Qvevri

Kakhetian wine is unique and highly valued, partly because of how it’s made. The key to its distinct taste is the Qvevri, a special clay vessel used in the winemaking process. These qvevris are handmade from natural clay and play a crucial role in shaping the wine’s flavour.

The minerals in the clay of the qvevri blend with the wine, adding special characteristics. The type of soil where the clay is found, along with how the qvevri is made and fired, can change the taste of the wine. Many people don’t realise, but, the qvevri isn’t just a container for making wine; it’s a vital ingredient that gives Kakhetian wine its unique and celebrated flavour. This is why wine lovers and experts are so fascinated by Kakhetian traditional winemaking methods, and can’t wait to try it straight from the wineries in person.

Kakheti Wine Region Grape Varieties and Wine Characteristics

Kakheti is home to over 500 varieties of grapes, with some like Rkatsiteli and Saperavi being region-specific stars. The wines produced here, whether it be crisp whites or deep, tannic reds, are known for their purity, depth of flavour, and connection to the ancient winemaking traditions of Georgia. 

Signagi wine tasting - Kakheti Wines
Signagi wine tasting – Kakheti Wines

Sighnaghi Georgia Wine Tasting: A Must-Do Experience 

Sighnaghi wine tasting is an experience on many tourists to do list! However, to truly appreciate Georgian wine at family run winery rather than a large corporate winery, there are several essential things you need to know before you head off into Georgia wine country:

  1.  Booking in Advance

Most family wineries in Signagi are not equipped for walk-in visitors. The hosts, often deeply involved in the winemaking process, aren’t available 24/7 and may be preoccupied with other groups or tasks. Therefore, booking your wine tasting experience in advance is crucial.

  1. Considerations for Small Groups

Solo travellers or duos should be aware that many family wineries find it uneconomical to open multiple bottles for very small groups. The intimate nature of these wineries means they’re not always prepared to serve food and wine spontaneously as larger establishments or restaurants might. Some may offer a more limited selection or charge a supplement for small groups. For those travelling in pairs or alone, joining a small-group tour can be a more viable option.

Companies like Eat This! Tours offer scheduled, small-group premium-authentic tours that can help match you up with other travellers who enjoy food and wine for a carefree day in Georgia wine country. Get 5% Discount with the code FFT5

Eat This! Tours - Kakheti Wine Tours
Eat This! Tours – Sighnaghi Georgia
  1.  Language Barriers

Another important aspect to consider is the language. Not all family winery owners in Signagi may speak English fluently – or at all. This could add to the authenticity of your experience but also poses a challenge in communication. Preparing for this or having a guide who can speak Georgian and English can significantly enhance your experience.

  1. Choosing the Right Tour

For those looking for a high-quality, artisanal wine experience, it’s worth investing in a premium tour. Budget tours often focus on larger, more commercial wineries or budget family wineries to keep costs down. Premium tours, although more expensive, offer a deeper dive into the world of artisan Kakheti wines and provide a more exclusive experience.

A Sighnaghi wine tasting tour is a must-do for any wine lover visiting Georgia, but the simple fact is that things just work differently here than in other wine regions around the world. Be prepared for this to avoid confusion and/or disappointment. 

Best wineries in Kakheti - Sighnaghi wine
Best wineries in Kakheti – Sighnaghi wine & food

Best Family Wineries in Kakheti: Our Top 8 Picks for 2024

Signagi and the South Alazani Valley are home to some of the most authentic and charming family wineries in Georgia. While you’ll discover many exceptional wineries throughout the region, here’s a spotlight on 8 remarkable family-run wineries we personally love.

1. Vellino (Kakabeti village): Nestled in the serene village of Kakabeti, Vellino is renowned for its commitment to traditional winemaking methods, producing wines that are a true representation of the region’s rich viticultural heritage. Always a pleasure to visit and sit in the garden eating their tasty homemade food.

2. Okros (central Signagi): Located in the heart of Signagi, Okros is a family-run winery known for its all-natural, raw wines. They host tastings at their wine restaurant in Signagi, which is also accommodating to very small groups.

3. Nasrashvili Family Winery (Dedoplis Tskaro): This winery stands as a testament to the deep-rooted winemaking traditions of the Nasrashvili family. Their wines are a reflection of the family’s passion and dedication to the craft.

4. Kakhetian House Vakirelebi: Uniquely blending a family home with a restaurant, this winery offers not just great wines but also delicious food. Unlike many small wineries, they can easily host 1 and 2-person groups.

5. Kerovani (central Signagi): Situated in central Signagi, Kerovani is celebrated for its exquisite wines that capture the essence of the local terroir, offering a memorable Signagi wine tasting experience. 

6. Dano (Khornabuji): Dano stands out for its unique approach to winemaking, combining traditional techniques with a modern touch, resulting in wines that are both authentic and innovative.

7. Nonia’s Marani: This winery is a hidden gem, known for its intimate atmosphere, and if you’re lucky their children might sing a traditional song or two. 

8. Vazha Getiashvili Wine Cellar (Kachreti): Although the founder, Vazha, sadly passed away, his legacy lives on through his family, who continue to run the winery with the same passion and dedication.

Whether you’re a seasoned wine enthusiast or curious to learn more about local Georgian wines, a visit to these family wineries is where you are sure to get a memorable experience.

Georgian Wine Region. Georgian winery Kakheti
Georgian Wine Region. Georgian winery Kakheti

A journey through Signagi and the South Alazani Valley in Kakheti is more than just a trip; it’s an immersive cultural and belly satisfying experience (wine aside – you’ll also never leave hungry). Whether you’re exploring the best wineries in the region or climbing the old Sighnaghi fortress wall for a stunning view of the Alazani valley, you are sure to be creating some lasting memories. So, pack your bags, set your sights on this enchanting region, and prepare to be captivated by the heart and soul of Georgian wine country.

Full Guided Tour With English Speaking Driver-Guide

Our partner company Eat This! Food & Wine Tours offer private, small group tours to artisan Kakheti wineries, including meet the winemaker experiences, cooking classes in local villages, and much more. They handle everything for you, to ensure you have an amazing wine adventure. They do the logistics, and the driving, so you can focus on the wine, food, and scenery and have a great trip without the stress.

All tours are led by an expert, English-speaking guide who will host you every step of the way as you discover real grass roots Georgian culture, food, and wine, dripping with authenticity. –> See Signagi Wine Tour Options (Get 5% OFF with our code FFT5)

Eat This Tours Signagi Georgia Wine Tasting