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Ramaz Nikoladze’s Wine Cellar

by

Kathy Sullivan

Ramaz Nikoladze’s Wine Cellar, a small family winery, is located in Western Georgia near the city of Kutaisi. When planning to visit Ramaz Nikoladze’s Wine Cellar be sure to call for an appointment and directions.

We visited the winery and vineyard of owner and winemaker Ramaz Nikoladze in his vineyard where he and his crew were busily harvesting grapes before an expected rainfall. Ramaz’s crew included an American ex-pat living in Georgia who talked about his interest into starting a winery in Georgia.

Vineyards

Currently Ramaz has 0.7 acres of grapes that include Tsitska and Tsolikouri (pictured). These vines are between 27 and over 100 years old.

The Nakhshirghele, Imereti area of western Georgia near Kutaisi has high humidity. As a result vineyard growers in this region use copper sulfite to control the mildew.

Harvest

While harvesting the grapes, the crew was carefully hand sorting the clusters. The workers placed the grapes into small buckets. When the grape buckets were full, the grapes were carefully dumped into large plastic bags ready to be transported to the winery.

Winemaking

In the winery when producing Tsitska wine, Ramaz usually uses only the juice, no chacha (pomace.) In this region of Georgia it is not traditional to add chacha to Tsitska grapes while fermenting. However, depending on the grapes during a particular year, he may add chacha during the fermentation. For the Tsolikouri wines Ramaz uses juice and chacha but no stems. During the winemaking process Ramaz puts the juice into one qvevri for five to six months to ferment and age, then racks into a second qvevri for up to a year for further aging.

Wine Tasting

After we talked with Ramaz and his crew and took numerous photos, Ramaz hurried off to get two wines for us to taste while in his vineyard. He uses a tall overturned metal barrel as a table. It is a delightful experience tasting wine in a vineyard setting. The grapes still hanging in clusters, sunshine, a light breeze and conversation all contributed a great ambiance to the experience.

We began the tasting with Ramaz’s Tsitska 2012. This wine was fermented without skin contact and spent 10 months in qvevri.  The wine was a light yellow. It was fruity with hints of citrus and floral. The crisp finish was fruity. We also tasted Tsolikouri 2012 that was a gold color. This wine had skin contact for two months and was aged for 10 months in qvevri. The wine offered an aroma and taste of dried yellow fruit and floral notes. The finish had tannins and fruit with fruit yielding to floral notes.

Exports

Currently Ramaz Nikoladze’s Wine Cellar exports his wines to Japan, France, Italy and the United Kingdom.

We enjoyed our wine tasting in Ramaz Nikoladze’s vineyard. The views of the landscape and vineyards added to the wine experience. Contact Ramaz Nikoladze’s Wine Cellar for an appointment and directions.

Ramaz Nikoladze’s Wine Cellar
Nakhshirghele, Imereti, Georgia
Phone: +995 593 94 48 41

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