The Secret of the Saperavi Grape

The Republic of Georgia in the former Soviet Union is known as one of the oldest winemaking regions in the world, there proof of wine having been made there 8,000 years ago. It is also the home of an amazing red grape called Saperavi (literally meaning paint or dye). Saperavi is very dark skinned and makes an intensely deep colored, high acid and strong flavored wine. It is one of the few grape varieties which actually have red anthocyanin (color pigment) in the pulp as well as the skin.

Saperavi wines are very long lived, with 50+ year old examples from the Soviet era being occasionally uncovered. The variety is extremely hardy, able to withstand the severe cold of its native region as well withstanding the rudimentary care & handling that it endured for most of the last century under the restrictions of communist rule.

These attributes made Saperavi the most popular red in the various grape growing regions of the former Soviet Union as well as Georgia.

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Fourty-one spirits experts convened at the Hotel Nikko in San Francisco from March 20th through the 22nd, for the 15th Annual San Francisco World Spirits Competition. The 2015 Competition broke all previous records, receiving more than 1,580 entries.

This year’s three medals went to Ozone Vodka made at the modernized distillery Stumbras that itself reaches back to 1904.

GOLD MEDAL – OZONE Blood Orange Flavored Vodka


BRONZE MEDAL – OZONE White Peach Flavored Vodka

Stumbras is located in Lithuania and arose out of the vodka monopoly established in 1894 that eventually led to the construction of a new factory in Kaunas in 1906.

Video of Georgian wine from the Honorary Ambassador of Georgian Wine, National Wine Agency Wines of Georgia and საქართველოს სომელიეთა ასოციაცია • Georgian Sommelier Association. Watch here

The Tasting:
The Fifty Best held a “blind” tasting of 27 imported vodkas with 15 pre-qualified judges. The vodkas were judged and scored separately. Strict tasting rules were applied. The order of service was established beforehand by lottery. Each of the vodkas were poured into fresh glasses from new sealed bottles, and served at slightly above room temperature. Only ice water, neutral unflavored crackers and chips were available to cleanse the palate. The judges tasted through four flights of 7 vodkas. Read more…

Two Georgian wines have won medals at the New York World Wine & Spirits Competition: Bronze Medal: Gorelli 2005 “Queen of Iberia” Reserve, Kakheti, Georgia Bronze Medal: Kondoli 2007 Saperavi-Merlot, Kakheti, Georgia New York World Wine & Spirits Competition is considered the most comprehensive competition for wines and spirits in New York. It is held in conjunction with The Bar and Wine Show. Judges from throughout the beverage industry rank the products according to established criteria, and winners receive Double Gold, Gold, Silver and Bronze Medals. ? Hvino News, company news

“The latest vintage of year 2008 of Marani Mukuzani was bottled on 24th of March 2010. The previous vintage year was 2005. The time lap between two vintages was caused by big stocks of Mukuzani 2005. The new vintage is substantially differs from the previous with its prominent fruity characters, while in vintage 2005 the oaky notes were more tangible. The Bottles are stored at our underground cellar for 3 month before the release.”.

This wine was granted three SILVER and six BRONZE awards at International wine competitions in 2011 – 2012.


“An impressive start of autumn has been celebrated at Telavi Wine Cellar by harvesting Gold and Silver medals at one of the most influential wine contests of the world, MUNDUSVINI 2011 (Neustadt, Germany). MARANI Kondoli Vineyards Saperavi-Merlot 2007 and MARANI Kondoli Vineyards Saperavi 2007 have been picked among the 5000 best wines of the universe and honored Gold and Silver medals correspondingly. This is one of the few recognitions KONDOLI vineyard wines have attracted recently. Namely, MARANI Kondoli Vineyards Saperavi-Merlot 2007 has 12 awards totally during the years of 2009, 2010 and 2011, whereas, MARANI Kondoli Vineyards Saperavi 2007 has been awarded 5 times between 2009 and 2011.”