I guess you already know that Georgia is a home country of wine. The biggest wine-making region is the Kakheti region, so autumn is a real joy here for the grape and wine lovers. In this article, I am going to tell you about one of the most famous holidays in Georgia. I am sure that you would love to know more about our grape harvest feast that is called Rtveli in Georgia.
You may think why is harvesting so special as it is a usual process in the agricultural routine. However, if we consider the fact that the history of the viticulture is 8000 years old, the tradition of Rtveli dates back to the ancient times. It normally takes place in late September, but this year the harvesting time started earlier.
Even in Tbilisi and other big cities, you can feel that the harvesting started, as there are many fresh grapes on the street markets. However, if you want to experience it and be in the heart of the process, you have to go to one of the villages in the Kakheti region.
Picture © Credits to Elet1
Rtveli is one of the favorite family holidays in Georgia. Usually, the whole family gathers in the villages, and people have a chance to see distant relatives and share their news about personal life, work, and other updates. Everybody is very positive, and they are enjoying this process. Usually, the harvesting starts early in the morning. Almost every family member takes part in it, especially children. They love to compete with each other in who will collect the most grapes. They are running in the vineyards, laughing and sometimes even disturbing adults. This process makes families closer, which is why Georgians try to keep the tradition and encourage every member of the family to participate.
After a really exhausting day of working on the field, and after many tones of grapes already collected, Georgians have a feast to celebrate Rtveli and appreciate everybody who participated in it. On the table, you will see many traditional Georgian dishes, wine and of course Tamada (the head of the table) will make sure that everyone has a pleasant evening. He will tell you many stories, jokes, and memorable toasts.
Picture © Credits to Asian Development Bank
Traditionally, the grapes are gathered in a big special area called Satsnaxeli, where people are pressing grapes with their feet while wearing boots. The juice of the grapes goes straight to the large earthenware vessels called Kvevri. This is where all the magic of wine-making happens.
For the tourists, this rural harvesting holiday is really interesting. In the Kakheti region, there are several places that offer this unique experience. You can take part in collecting grapes as well as pressing grapes by your feet. The Kindzmarauli Corporation in Kvareli has a special offer for its visitors. It allows the tourists to participate in Rtveli. You can also taste different kinds of wine. Meanwhile, they will tell you the history behind it and how it was made.
Another great place is the Winery Khareba, that offers a wide range of services apart from the degustation and participation in Rtveli. Here, you can make a Georgian bread, Khinkali, and Churchkhela on your own. However, if you want to experience Rtveli holiday like a real Georgian, you can ask the local people and offer your help in harvesting. They will be more than happy to share this holiday with you because Georgians love guests and showing their country to the tourists in the best way they can do it.
Picture © Credits to GeorgianJournal
If you are planning your trip to Georgia and you are interested in the unique experiences, try not to miss our grape harvest feast. Rtveli time will make your Georgian holidays more enjoyable, full of memories, excitement and some great wine.
Cover Picture © Credits to Elet1
Video © Credits to BachoStudio
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