Tbilisi’s Top Wine Bars: Where To Go Drinking In The Capital Of The World’s Oldest Winemaking Country
It’s only taken 8000 years, but the world’s oldest wine producing country, Georgia, is finally getting the international recognition it deserves — and there’s no better place to sample some Saperavis and Rkatsitelis than a trip through the capital city of Tbilisi. Georgians are fiercely proud of their nation’s wines, the majority of which are made by small producers from indigenous grapes, many organically, and aged in giant underground clay vessels, called kvevri.
The two classic places to begin your Tbilisi wine journey are g.Vino and Vino Underground. “The thing that sets Vino Underground apart are the super close connections they have to what is happening in Georgia,” says Alice Feiring, who has written extensively about Georgian wines. “The owners are winemakers and there’s always a new discovery to be found there.” g.Vino, which has two locations, is also a favorite. “The food is just great, and it’s where I’ve drank more Georgian Pét-Nat than any other place.”
Paul Rimple, of Culinary Backstreets, recommends the new wine bars popping up in the central neighborhood of Vera. “I love Sulico, which is in an old, first-floor apartment with a cool little courtyard. The kitchen lays down seriously delicious eats to pair with a solid selection of wines, from small, natural winemakers. There are no better tolma (stuffed cabbage leaves) anywhere, and thoughts of their bone marrow are making me drool.” He’s also a fan of Wine Boutique, a “laid back wine shop with a few tables where you can hang out and drink” which offers both natural and more-conventional wines. “There’s no food, but then there is no big price markup either.”
Maka Tarashvili, who leads tours of Georgia’s wine regions, also has some new recommendations. “Vineria is a great space for wine lovers, with a large selection of Georgian wines and delicious food. It’s also educational — they have winemaking displays for people who don’t have a chance to visit the wine country.” She’s also suggests a visit to the newly opened Mosmiery Wines & Tapas in the center of the old city, which has a selection from 30 wineries and “incredible food.” And after you tasted the wines, it’s time to experience Chacha, the Georgian brandy. “Chacha Corner is one of my favorite places in Tbilisi. It’s owned by a young man who wanted to collect all the best Chachas in one space — at this time he has over 200 labels there.”
And if the above hasn’t left you satiated, some other great places to try are Tsangala's Wine Shop & Bar, a small and cozy spot that’s great for a nightcap, Azarphesha, technically a restaurant, but with an amazing collection of ancient wine paraphernalia, and Dadi Bar, owned by a Russian couple with “great wines, some of which you can’t find at Vino Underground.” On the modern side are 8000 Vintages, a large wine shop and bar with three locations, and the newly opened Wine Factory N1, a multifunctional space with restaurants, a wine shop and bar. And for something truly unique, WinGo runs tour with a specially-designed Wine Bus — featuring a tasting table that runs in front of all the seats.
To learn more about Georgian wine before your trip, check out Alice Feiring’s For The Love of Wine. And once you’re in Georgia, be sure to take a food tour with Culinary Backstreets, and check out WinGo for a city wine tour and My Wine Trail to explore the wine producing areas of Georgia.