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11 Days Caucasus for Wine Lovers in Georgia, Armenia

11 Days Caucasus for Wine Lovers in Georgia, Armenia

  • Tbilisi - Signagi - Telavi - Lake Lopota - Lake Sevan - Akner - Yerevan

Food & Wine Tours in Georgia, Armenia

Well known for its diverse culture, dramatic scenery, misty lakes and roaring rivers, Caucasus is less known for its gastronomic treasures. So it will be a pleasant revelation to discover that Georgia, once considered the haute cuisine of the Soviet Union is home to many passionate wine producers and in Armenia you can enjoy delightful cooking classes by experienced chefs with an emphasis on local produce and flavors. Come discover the last culinary secrets for food enthusiasts exploring the flavors of the world!

Highlights

  • 2 Armenian cooking classes
  • Rural and contemporary cooking
  • Cheese farm tour, cheese tasting, market visit
  • 3 wine tastings, 3 winery and cellar tours, vodka brewing
  • Recipes, food & wine Caucasus information kit
  • Tours in Tbilisi, Kakheti, Yerevan, hiking
  • 10 nights accommodation
  • 10 breakfasts, 3 dinners
  • 4 days with instruction
  • Armenian, Georgian, English
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Day 1: Arrival, excursions

Tbilisi, Georgias bustling capital

Overnight: Hotel in Tbilisi

Meal plan: Breakfast

In the morning meet your tour leader and other group participants.

Proceed to a full day sightseeing tour of Tbilisi, extraordinary for its turbulent history, elegant and remarkable architecture destroyed and restored anew through centuries.

Walking in the old town, visit Metekhi church, Narikala fortress, Abanotubani (District of Baths), Old Synagogue, Sioni cathedral and Anchiskhati basilica.

Evening walk in lively Kala, the medieval city center, small yards encircled by galleries, steep street stairs and houses with patterned balconies create picturesque images of Old Tbilisi.

Kala also hosts some of Tbilisis trendiest restaurant featuring local and international cuisine.

Day 2: Excursions, wine tasting, wine tour

Signagi, town of love

Overnight: Hotel in Signagi

Meal plan: Breakfast

After breakfast leave Tbilisi and start your tour of Kakheti, Georgia's wine country.

Our destination today is the royal town of Signagi.

First we visit Bodbe Monastery, resting place of St. Nino. As a young girl, Nino brought Christianity to Georgia in the fourth century by plaiting her hair together with grape vines to form a cross.

From Bodbe, back to Signagi, a Unesco world heritage site, cobbled streets and terra cotta tile-roofed homes with colorful carved balconies and breathtaking views of the Alazani Valley give it a very charming character.

We will continue to Pheasants Tears Winery in a 250 year old tasting hall. Pheasants Tears Winery takes its name from an old Georgian saying that only the finest wine will make a pheasant cry tears of joy.

Rkatsiteli, a full-bodied dry white wine, Saperavi a deep, rich red wine are the highlights of this tasting session.

After the tasting, we will travel down to the Pheasants Tears vineyard in the village of Tibaani to see where the grapes are grown and to learn more about the process of making wine.

Back to Signagi.

Day 3: Wine making tour, wine tasting, vodka brewing tour, museum trip, wine cellar tour

Gurjaani and Enoteca, Travel Back in Time

Overnight: Hotel in Telavi

Meal plan: Breakfast

After breakfast we drive to Gurjaani, one of the centers of Georgia's wine industry. Here we visit a converted old marani (wine cellar) where we have an opportunity to participate in grape harvest, pressing and other steps of winemaking depending on the season. We will see the 200 year old wine press and earthen crocks (kvevri), a clay jar in the ground used to storewine.

We taste some of the finest wines produced by the proud owners, a professional sommelier will lead the wine tasting for us. We can bottle wine which we take out of kvevri and have it sealed for us.

We will also have an opportunity to attend the brewing of Georgian vodka ("Zavodoba"), a very interesting process.

Proceed to the Museum of Prince Alexander Chavchavadze, father of Georgian romanticism. Walk in the beautiful garden of the estate and Enoteca, wine repository. Founded in the 19th century and housed in Chavchavadzes wine cellar, Enoteca features a unique collection of 70 Georgian and European wines including the oldest Polish Honey of 1814 and Georgian Saperavi of 1841.

Overnight at hotel in Telavi.

Day 4: Excursion, wine tasting

Lake Lopota

Overnight: Lopota Lodge

Meal plan: Breakfast, dinner

Our destination today is beautiful Lopota Lake lost in the mountains. Immerse in the calmness and beauty of the nature, rest at Lopota Lodge built with cobbled stone, lined with bricks and roofed with old-style Georgian tilework, watch gliding swans and fleets of ducks swimming on the lake.

After rest groups divide into smaller parts based on activities of interest: sightseeing in nearby Gremi Monastery and Nekresi Fortress, fishing or boating on Lopota, or horseriding in the woods for the more energetic.

Gather for wine tasting at the marani (wine cellar) followed by a delicious dinner featuring khachapuri, khinkali and other delicacies.

Overnight at Lopota Lodge.

Day 5: Free time

Tbilisi

Overnight: Hotel in Tbilisi

Meal plan: Breakfast

Transfer to Tbilisi and free afternoon with time for last minute shopping or independent exploration.

A unique option this evening is visit to Nabadi folk theatre where a show of music, dance and song about Georgian legends and culture awaits us.

Day 6: Transfer, free time

Lake Sevan

Overnight: Hotel at Lake Sevan

Meal plan: Breakfast

After breakfast set off for Lake Sevan to start our culinary adventures in Armenia.

Border crossing and arrival at Sevan, check-in at your chalet-style hotel at the beach perfect for rest and relaxation.

With water-skiing, swimming and boat trips on offer, you may find it hard to just lie on these paradise beaches. Historical and architectural gems are never far away - the ancient monastery on the peninsula, the Stone Garden with unique carved cross-stones and much more (boat trip, weather permitting). Enjoy the beaches, enjoy the scenery, experience the unspoiled relaxation, which is Armenia!

Day 7: Cheese farm tour, cheese tasting, cooking demonstration, feast keff

String Cheese and Rural Cooking

Overnight: Farmhouse in Akner

Meal plan: Breakfast, dinner

In the morning you will be expected at the farm of a cheese maker in the midst of beautiful rolling hills of Tavush. You will tour the farm and see the making of string cheese typical to the region, thereafter tasting of cheeses at various stages of maturation will be offered.

A short drive to Aker village well away from regular tourist trails. Welcome drinks on the terrace of the farmhouse and half day dedicated to home style cooking.

Today we prepare tolma, stuffed vegetable dish, the most famous of traditional Armenian dishes. In addition to grape leaves (winter tolma), we also stuff cabbage leaves, eggplants, tomatoes and peppers (summer tolma).

Armine, the village headmans wife, demonstrates techniques passed down through generations. Later traditional feast keff at the open terrace of the farm with the view of dramatic Debed gorge, the head of the family will be your tamada (toastmaster) governing the event with age-old rules of Caucasian hospitality.

Overnight at the farmhouse.

Day 8: Hiking

Mount Aragats and Yezidi Nomads

Overnight: Hotel in Yerevan

Meal plan: Breakfast

Start today with a trip to the highest peak of Transcaucasia, Mount Aragats (4,090m), an extinct volcano.

Acclimatizing gradually as we ascend the beautiful countryside of Aragats, we reach Amberd Fortress on the southern slope of the mountain.

Breathtaking views of the fortress and citadel, snow covered peaks of Aragats, sun scorched grasslands dressed in wildflowers and abundant birdlife combine to provide an unforgettable experience.

If we come here during summer months we can visit high-mountain camps of friendly Yezidi tribes who tend their sheep under the towering peaks of Aragats. We will discover the traditional way of life of these people of the mountains, visiting their homes, try fresh cheese and yogurt.

Days 9: Excursion, market visit, cooking class

Yerevan and Contemporary Armenian Cuisine

Overnight: Hotel in Yerevan

Meal plan: Breakfast, dinner

In the morning head to the tour of Yerevan, reputedly one of the oldest cities in the world to have been continuously inhabited.

We start our exploration with the Republic Square with it magnificent buildings enhanced by singing fountains, continue to Erebouni Fortress, the birthplace of Yerevan. Take a guided tour of the fortress and explore the impressive ruins.

Drive back to city center, stopping at the Railway Station to see the beautiful monument of David of Sasun, national hero.

Visit to Pak Shuka, market on Mashtots Avenue. Wonder among the stalls piled with fresh, dried and marinated fruits and vegetables, say hello to the spices and herbs you have used in your cooking classes.

Back to hotel to unwind.

Your gala cooking class with a focus on contemporary Armenian cuisine begins at 17.00 following by a farewell dinner at trendy Ararat Hall Restaurant.

Your guide will be Sedrak Mamulyan, a well-known chf, leader of Armenian Cuisine Revival Association. He has won a number of awards, wrote cookery book and featured on television programs, all of which has added to his fame and that of the restaurant.

Dinner with matching wines will follow.

Day 10: Free time

Free day in Yerevan

Overnight: Hotel in Yerevan

Meal plan: Breakfast

Day at leisure to relax and enjoy Yerevan at your own pace.

A visit to Sunday Vernisage market, the largest souvenir market in the Caucasus is a recommended option.

Day 11: Departure

Departure