Kindzmarauli is a semi-sweet red Georgian wine aged for 2 years. It is produced from Saperavi grapes in the Kvareli region of Georgia. Wines from Kindzmarauli wine are a deep, inky purple-red color and often have hidden notes of blackberry and spice, frequently described as producing a “velvety” and “harmonious” taste. Many fans of the wine suggest drinking Kindzmarauli in combination with fruits, cheeses, walnuts, and desserts.

Kindzmarauli is produced from Saperavi grapes grown at the base of the Caucasian mountains in the Alazani Valley in eastern Georgia. There, late harvests and early winters prevent fermentation, allowing the wine to stay sweet. Kindzmarauli has generally maintained a reputation as being a wide-market, popular wine; it is enjoyed often by many, but other wines are held are held in greater esteem by wine enthusiasts in Georgia. Luckily, the bar is set very high in Georgia and Kindzmarauli is still a complex wine likely to impress wine connoisseurs abroad.

During the early years of the Soviet Era, the consumption of Kindzmarauli expanded to Russia and became integrated into public taste. It is said that the wine was a particular favorite of Stalin’s and, with his approval, the Georgian Ministry of Food Production opened a Moscow branch of the Georgian Union of Wine producers. Georgian grapes were imported to the Soviet Capital for the production of Georgian wines, including Stalin’s Kindzmarauli.

In late March of 2006, Russia instituted an import ban of Moldovan and Georgian wines, stating that pesticides had been found in the wine. However, many pointed out that the souring of relations between Russia, Moldova, and Georgia coincided with this souring. Further, the wine were of particular importance to Georgia’s and Moldova’s respective economies and identities. Still further, the Russian market consumed some 80-90% of the total wine exports from Georgia. Thus, critics hypothesized, the move was likely political. Russia removed the ban in 2013 – as relations improved.

The wine continues to be popular in both Georgia and Russia.

For a closer look at Kindzmarauli wine and how it is made, check out the video below, showing the processes used by Marani, a popular Georgian wine company:

Rylin McGee is a junior at the University of Richmond studying International Relations – Development and Change, with a focus on the environment and a minor in Russian Studies. Currently a SRAS Home and Abroad Scholar, she is working to improve her language skills and learn about Russia’s environmental history and policies by attending SRAS’s Russia and the Environment program in Irkutsk during the spring 2018 semester. Beyond studying, Rylin enjoys hiking, yoga, painting, coffee/tea, and exploring.