Tbilisi Retrospective

posted in: Turkey and the Caucasus 2022 | 3

This morning I will be saying ნახვამდის (nakhvamdis, or goodbye) to Tbilisi. My experiences here and on excursions outside the city have filled me with a lot of feelings, too many to recount here.


I’ll let my photos tell most of the stories, though the best stories can’t be told through photos. Look at all my pics, for sure, but then I’ll share about my day yesterday.

Kakheti, Part Two

Yesterday I had a second Kakheti day trip planned. The first one, with the photo album linked above, went to the southern part of the area. The one yesterday was supposed to be primarily about wine and food. We did stop at a qvevri maker’s establishment to learn about how they make the huge clay vessels used for winemaking. And we visited the market in Telavi, Kakheti’s main city.

But Irakli had told me earlier in the week about his family’s small vineyard in his village, and how he was hoping to visit there and help with the grape harvest. But then he found out he’d be my guide for my entire time in Georgia, so it seemed like he wouldn’t be able to go.

Yesterday morning, though, as we set out on the excursion, Irakli asked me if I’d be interested in visiting the vineyard, helping with the harvest and the pressing of the grapes, and join the family for a barbecue. 

My answer was a resounding yes. And that’s how I had an experience few tourists probably ever get.

Family, friends, food, and wine

From Telavi we drove to the vineyard in the village of Matani, about 20 minutes away. There I met Irakli’s brother, sister-in-law, and month-old nephew, a couple of cousins, plus a few neighbors who had come to help. Irakli handed me some clippers and a bucket, and we went into the vineyard.

When I say it was a small vineyard, I am not exaggerating. We were done in less than half an hour. All the grapes got loaded into four big sacks, except the best were kept in buckets “for the table.” We loaded the grapes into the cars and drove five minutes to the family home. And there I met more of Irakli’s relatives: two aunts and the 92-year-old sister of his grandfather. 

After some repairs (the gears weren’t meshing properly), I got to press the grapes. That took about ten minutes.

Then it was time to cook and eat. We had barbecued pork, khachapuri, lavash bread, mushrooms that Irakli had bought in Telavi, chopped up with onions, tomato salad, fresh peach compote (like nectar) and wine to drink. We toasted to family, to ancestors, and to friends.

After we ate (with just-picked grapes for dessert, of course), one of the cousins brought out a panduri, and the women sang a little concert. This may have been the highlight of the whole day.

Then they packed up a box for me with grapes to take home, and I wished them მადლობა (madloba, thanks). And Irakli and I headed back to Tbilisi.

I’ll never forget my time in Georgia. But especially, I’ll never forget this day with new friends. 

Here are the photos.

3 Responses

  1. Shelley

    thanks for the great pictures — looks like you are having a grand time!

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