I will explain in this post some of the formal details of what Georgian wines PDOs are all about, and how to get further information about each of them, but firstly here is a summary table of the 24 PDOs currently registered. (The table will probably display better on phones if your screen is horizontal.)
|PDO name||Region||Style||Grape varieties|
|Akhasheni||Kakheti||Semi-sweet red||Saperavi, Saperavi Budeshuri|
|Akhmeta||Kakheti||Dry, semi-dry or semi-sweet white; or amber||Kakhuri Mtsvane, and (for amber wine only) ≤15% Kisi and Khikhvi|
|Akhoebi||Kakheti||Dry red||Saperavi, Saperavi Budeshuri|
|Atenuri||Shida Kartli||Sparkling or slightly sparkling white; or dry non-sparkling white||Chinuri, Goruli Mtsvane, Aligoté|
|Bolnisi||Kvemo Kartli||Dry, white, amber, rosé or red||Rkatsiteli, Chinuri, Goruli Mtsvane, Saperavi, Tavkveri, Shavkapito, Asuretuli Shavi|
|Gurjaani||Kakheti||Dry white||Rkatsiteli and ≤15% Kakhuri Mtsvane|
|Kakheti||Kakheti||Any sweetness level, and any colour||Rkatsiteli, Kakhuri Mtsvane, Kisi, Khikhvi, Mtsvivani Kakhuri, Chitistvala, Saperavi, Saperavi Budeshuri, Cabernet Sauvignon, Rkatsiteli Vardisperi|
|Kardenakhi||Kakheti||Dry amber; or medium-dry fortified white||Rkatsiteli, and ≤15% Kakhuri Mtsvane and Khikhvi|
|Khvanchkara||Racha||Semi-sweet red||Aleksandrouli, Mujuretuli|
|Kindzmarauli||Kakheti||Semi-sweet red||Saperavi, Saperavi Budeshuri|
|Kotekhi||Kakheti||Dry red; or dry white||Saperavi; or Rkatsiteli|
|Manavi||Kakheti||Dry White||Kakhuri Mtsvane|
|Mukuzani||Kakheti||Dry red||Saperavi, Saperavi Budeshuri|
|Napareuli||Kakheti||Dry red; or dry white||Saperavi, Saperavi Budeshuri; or Rkatsiteli and ≤15% Kakhuri Mtsvane|
|Salkhino Ojaleshi||Samegrelo||Dry red||Ojaleshi|
|Saperavi Khashmi||Kakheti||Dry red||Saperavi|
|Sviri||Imereti||Dry white||Tsolikouri, Tsitska, Krakhuna|
|Teliani||Kakheti||Dry red||Cabernet Sauvignon|
|Tibaani||Kakheti||Dry amber||Rkatsiteli, and ≤15% Kakhuri Mtsvane and Khikhvi|
|Tsarapi||Kakheti||Dry amber||Rkatsiteli, and ≤15% Kakhuri Mtsvane and Khikhvi|
|Tsinandali||Kakheti||Dry white||Rkatsiteli and ≤15% Kakhuri Mtsvane|
|Vazisubani||Kakheti||Dry white||Rkatsiteli and ≤15% Kakhuri Mtsvane|
The links in the table take you to the official English translations of the Sakpatenti PDO registration documents, which include quite a lot of detail, including maps. I recently printed them to PDF files, because I could find no other way of linking to the individual PDO documents – this means that they will not necessarily be the latest versions, so check the registration and printing dates in the PDF files if in doubt.
There are issues with the Sakpatenti English translations. In particular, note that the Georgian originals consistently say “up to 15%” when specifying a grape variety percentage, but in the English translation this becomes simply “15%”. More on Sakpatenti and its website later.
Note also that in some places the information in my table differ may differ from other published summaries of the PDO. The obvious example is the entry for Kakheti, for which the PDO rules changed at some point. I do not remember the change being announced, but in 2010 it was a PDO for dry white wines only; now it is a lot broader. I am not sure about the reason for all the discrepancies, but I believe my version to be correct at the time of writing.
Anyway, now for a bit of background, and how to get further information…
While Georgia is not part of the EU, it has an equivalent system to regulate and protect its wines, and has chosen to use EU terminology. So initially, back in 2005, it called the protected categories Appellations of Origin. Now they are Protected Designations of Origin, though you will still see the older term in some official contexts. Incidentally, following usage in the EU, Georgia also has PDOs for goods other than wine. Additionally, there is protection through Geographical Indications for other goods, but currently not for wine.
Sakpatenti, the National Intellectual Property Center of Georgia, is the body responsible for registering PDOs, and applications for new ones must be made to Sakpatenti. Registration of a PDO confers legal protection within Georgia, and Georgia seeks protection by treaty for its PDOs in foreign countries. The Sakpatenti website lists the Georgian GIs (here including PDOs) recognised abroad by treaty, and the foreign ones recognised by Georgia. Apparently, only the first 18 Georgian PDOs are currently recognised by the EU. They are the ones described in this Sakpatenti publication of 2010, and shown on the above map. Note that the PDO descriptions in this book are different to the ones referred to in my table, and are quite vague about aspects like mandated grape varieties.
For the definitive and up-to-date list of Georgian PDOs and GIs, and the registration documents with details about each one, see the State Registry in English or in Georgian. The Georgian documents are the definitive versions, and some of the English translations are dodgy. So if in doubt, I would recommend running the Georgian through Google Translate to get a second opinion. It is not too difficult if you use the registration numbers, and document section numbers, to help you orient yourself in the Georgian space.
So far in this mini-series on Georgian PDOs, I have tried to stick to objective facts. But next time, I shall conclude my series with opinion.
Edit 24/07/20: Due to some confusion on my part I was unfairly scathing about the English translations. Sorry! I have now moderated my criticism.