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Tsolikouri

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                                                TSOLIKOURI 

Tsolikouri is a local standard grapevine variety, widely spread in the viticulture districts of Western Georgia, which provides high quality white table and naturally sweet dessert wine. 

Tsolikouri is known by the names Obchuri Tsolikouri and Melkos Tsolikouri in the viticulture districts of Western Georgia, while in upper Imereti it is known by the name Bazaleturi Tsolikouri-yet quite distinct from Tsolikouri and therefore an independent grapevine variety. In foreign literature, Tsolikouri is mentioned by the name “Tsolikouri.” 

Tsolikouri is an industrial grapevine variety of Imereti, originating from a family of Kolkhetian grapevine varieties. With its morphological and agricultural features, it stands close to the major industrial grapevine varieties of Western Georgia and is included in the eco-geographical family Prol.pontica subprol. Georgica Negr. 

There is no extensive information about the time and place of its genesis, only some descriptions from literature sources and folklore which assist to paint an approximate picture of the time and location of Tsolikouri’s origin. 

This issue is mentioned interestingly in the significant work of Il. Bakhtadze (10), who writes: “out of these vineyards (referring to the low-formed vineyards of Shorapani) are produced the best-considered wines, among them particularly valuable are the wines of Sviri, Shosha, and Kharagouli, including best of all “Tsolikouri,” produced from the Kabistoni grape complemented by all special characteristics of French wines, also making only a limited amount and only in Kharagouli; Tsolikouri in Bazaleti is also considered as the best.” 

As seen, Il. Bakhtadze differentiated two different varieties– White Kabistoni and Tsolikouri of Bazaleti, both producing high quality wine. The former was used for the making of sparkling wine, while the latter for table wine. Therefore, in the past, Tsolikouri of Bazaleti was considered another best grapevine variety after Kabistoni, in Sharapani district. 

Tsolikouri is also described by famous specialist V. Staroselski (17) in his work in which he portrays the distribution areas of Tsolikouri, namely referring to the villages of Shorapani: Bazaleti, Lashe, and Tetritskaro, and also to the village Obcha, in Kutaisi, where Tsolikouri is known by the name Obchuri. Thus, V. Staroselstki did not separate Bazaleturi Tsolikouri from Obchuri Tsolikouri, or might have considered them as close relatives because he named both places- Obcha and Bazaleti -as distribution locations of Tsolikouri. 

As is known as much in the past as in the present, in Bazaleti, Tetritskaro and Orjonikidze- Bazaleturi Tsolikouri was and is distributed (this was noted also by Il. Bakhturidze), whereas in the village of Obcha (Maiakovski district), the Tsolikouri that is known as Obchuri or Melkos Tsolikouri was and is mostly cultivated. In addition, from the description and subsequent applications it is clear that V. Staroselski characterized not Obchuri Tsolikouri but Bazaleturi- quite a different grapevine variety. Bazaleturi Tsolikouri is cultivated in Bazaleti village and its surroundings; characterized by female flowers, while the other – Tsolikouri, that is cultivated in Obcha, is characterised by hermaphroditic flowers. These two may have some kind of similarity in visual appearance as well as having dissimilarities, but what is most important is that both can provide high quality wine. In the past, Bazaleturi Tsolikouri was very popular and of great fame. 

According to given data and materials, these two grapevine varieties can be identified as two genuinely different varieties. 

Bazaletian Tsolikouri is an ancient grapevine variety and must be mentioned by the name that is used in relatively old agricultural literature (Il. Bakhtadze, 10; V. Staroselski, 17) while Obchuri Tsolikouri is a much younger variety which has proved quite good resistance to fungal diseases; and it is also very interesting for viticulturists because of great harvest and productivity. 

According to experienced local viticulturists, Tsolikouri originally came from Obchian viticulturist Melko and so took the names Obchuri and Melko’s Tsolikouri. How he could generate this variety is unknown; perhaps he deliberately adopted the famous name Tsolikouri to ensure the wide distribution of his wine. 

Tsolikouri is one of the grapevine varieties which have achieved great fame and distribution not only in Imereti but also throughout all Western Georgian; this is a universal grapevine for nearly all dry and damp places of Western Georgia. 

Tsolikouri took first place by its distribution area and scope of vineyards after Rkatsiteli not only in Georgia but also in the whole Soviet Union. The largest scope is dedicated to it in Imereti (larger than that of Tsitska), then in Samegrelo (31%), in Abkhazia (16%), Guria (19%) and Racha-Lechkhumi (7.5%). The most insignificant area dedicated to it is in Adjara and Eastern Georgia. Generally, in Georgia, according to 1940 data, it has 9359 ha dedicated land. 

The distribution of Tsolikouri vineyards in relation to the particular administrative districts is presented below in Table 1.

According to the given data, Tsolikouri in 1953 has 10950 ha of dedicated land in Georgia.

Outside Georgia, Tsolikouri is mostly distributed in experimental and collective vineyards of the Soviet Union, for investigation reasons.

BOTANICAL DESCRIPTION

This variety was described in the collective vineyard of the village Obcha (Maiakovski) and explored in the collective vineyard of the Institute of Viticulture and Enology in Telavi.

In Obcha, the vine is formed by Georgian rule, on stake; while in Telavi – by cordon.

The young shoot. The young growth shoot (15 - 20cm long) with its tips, crown, and second (sometimes even third) leaf-bracts are covered with thick felt-like coating and grayish-white, slightly pink down. From the third leaf, the coating decreases on the topside and becomes greenish-yellow, with an orange hue. On the underside, leaves are covered with a thick felt-like grayish coating until the fourth and fifth leaves.

The one year sprout. The one year sprout is brownish-yellow between the axils, which are dark purple and distanced from each other by 8 - 16cm, generally – 10 - 12cm.

The leaf. Well-developed leaves of the middle row (9 - 12) are larger than medium; roundish in shape; and from 18 to 22cm long and 17 - 21 cm wide. The blade of the leaf is mostly three-lobed, rarely – five-lobed or un-lobed. The surface of the leaf is smooth, rarely wrinkled like a net. The ends of underside margins curl slightly downwards. The leaf is dark green, frequently with an even surface that is the specific characteristic for this grapevine variety. The upper incisions are mostly superficial, or quite deep, lyre-like with parallel sides, or are rarely elliptic and angular. The bases of incisions are generally sharp or rarely, roundish. The underside incisions are less-developed, superficial, sometimes lightly noticeable or angular; often they are not apparent at all. 

The incision of the petiole is open, like an arrow or a narrow lyre. Rarely, completely closed incisions can be found, tightly interweaved with each other. The major vein ends in sharp, triangular teeth; the lateral teeth are often like the saw teeth and are triangular.

The underside of the leaf is covered with a thick felt-like coating and thick down. 

The petiole is slightly short or as long as the middle vein which is reddish wine-colored, often, this kind of coloring is also characteristic for major veins.

The flower. The flower is hermaphroditic, with 5 or 6 stamens standing, or slightly inclined, with a proportional length to the pistil of 1.25 or 1.50. The pistil is pear shaped, with a long cylindrical column and split nose.

The bunch. Bunches are middle-sized, from 14 to 16cm long; cone or wide-cone shaped, often with a wing that is about half or 1/3 the length of pistil’s length; rarely branched, or unshaped bunches can be found. Bunches are quite dense or slightly thin. The grapevine is characterized with significant flower-fall. The petiole of the bunch is 3 cm; and is grass-like, becoming woody and take on a yellowish-purple coloring. The petiole of the berry is bright green and is 5 - 6mm. The pedicel is cone-shaped and covered with brown dawn.

The grain. The berry is middle-sized, from 1.5 to 1.7cm long, and 1.45 - 1.65cm wide. The length of large berries is 1.8 - 2.0cm, while the width – 1.75 - 1.95cm; by shape they are roundish, rarely oval; the berry symmetrical, wider in the middle part and with a rounded end. The berry is greenish-yellow with brown spots. The skin of the berry is thick and rough and covered with wax-like spots. The fruit is solid, juicy, and has a pleasant sweet taste. The original aroma is not strongly expressed.

The seed. There are about one to four seeds in a grain, the average 1.88. Seeds are wide-oval, about 7.5 - 8mm long and 4.5 - 5mm wide. They are brown, and yellowish to the tip. The basis is to be found in the upper part of the seed, is roundish-oval and slightly convex outside. The upper channel is not deep. The inside is bumpy, with middle depth, parallel channels running to the tip. The tip is cylindrical, bright purple, slightly narrowed to the tip, about 2mm long and 1.8mm wide.

AGRO-BIOLOGICAL DESCRIPTION

The vegetation period and course of phases. To characterize the vegetation period and its particular phases, below are presented the results of observation conducted in different viticulture districts, namely in the testing station of Sakare (Zestafoni district), where the vineyard is cultivated in a plain area, 149.2m above sea level with a 26 year-old vine formed as cordon (by stake and wire); in Kakheti, in the viticulture collective vineyard near Telavi, where the vineyard is cultivated to the north-east of Tsiv-Gombori Mountain, on a slope situated at 562.3m above sea level, also with a 26 year-old vine, formed by two-sided cordon method and stretched on wire; in Ukraine, around the city Odessa, in the village Chernomorska, where the vineyard is cultivated on a dry Limani slope at 50m above sea level, and formed by two-sided cordon; and also in Iakorni Shcheli, near to Sochi, on the Soviet Union’s Plantation Institute’s base.

The results of the phenological observation are given in Table 2.

As observation indicates, the vegetation period of Tsolikouri varies quite significantly depending on the ecological conditions of the particular districts.

Generally, it has been observed that the vegetation period is shorter when moving to the north and mountainous districts and the vine is satisfied by lower active temperatures than in the foothill areas and the southern districts.

In addition to these regions, relatively short vegetation periods in Kakheti and Ukraine are also determined by the decrease in the accumulation of atmospheric sediments, from approximately 1200mm (in Zestafoni) to 700 - 800mm (in Telavi) and 400 - 500mm (in Odessa).

Basically, these reasons should be considered when explaining the difference in the vegetation period among the regions of Imereti, Kakheti and Ukraine. In these places, Tsilikouri has shown itself to be of the fourth maturity period group of vines. Actually, in all the mentioned places, the Tsolikouri grape reaches maturity late- at the end of autumn. In south Ukraine, the grape has more difficulty approaching full ripening, while in Kakheti it matures 10 - 12 days later than Rkatsiteli, and is sometimes picked together with Rkatsiteli when it is not fully ripened. In comparatively long vegetation conditions in Imereti and partly in Kakheti, the sprouts of Tsolikouri are able to ripen by the time of leaf-fall, and are ready to face the winter, resulting in little or no damage from winter frosts.

The strength of growth. The shoots of Tsolikouri are characterized by stronger growth and development in the climate and soil conditions of Imereti, especially in the subtropical regions of Georgia – in Guria, Samegrelo, and Abkhazia. In Khakheti, it has shown quite good capability of growth in comparison with other

Generally, it has been observed that the vegetation period is shorter when moving to the north and mountainous districts and the vine is satisfied by lower active temperatures than in the foothill areas and the southern districts.

In addition to these regions, relatively short vegetation periods in Kakheti and Ukraine are also determined by the decrease in the accumulation of atmospheric sediments, from approximately 1200mm (in Zestafoni) to 700 - 800mm (in Telavi) and 400 - 500mm (in Odessa).

Basically, these reasons should be considered when explaining the difference in the vegetation period among the regions of Imereti, Kakheti and Ukraine. In these places, Tsilikouri has shown itself to be of the fourth maturity period group of vines. Actually, in all the mentioned places, the Tsolikouri grape reaches maturity late- at the end of autumn. In south Ukraine, the grape has more difficulty approaching full ripening, while in Kakheti it matures 10 - 12 days later than Rkatsiteli, and is sometimes picked together with Rkatsiteli when it is not fully ripened. In comparatively long vegetation conditions in Imereti and partly in Kakheti, the sprouts of Tsolikouri are able to ripen by the time of leaf-fall, and are ready to face the winter, resulting in little or no damage from winter frosts.

The strength of growth. The shoots of Tsolikouri are characterized by stronger growth and development in the climate and soil conditions of Imereti, especially in the subtropical regions of Georgia – in Guria, Samegrelo, and Abkhazia. In Khakheti, it has shown quite good capability of growth in comparison with other 

varieties. It is characterized by strong growth and development on the Gurjaani and Kurali soviet farms. On the Plantation Institute of the Soviet Union of Sochi base point, it is stronger than average in growth and its sprouts in August reach about 109cm.

The productivity. Tsolikouri gives first harvest earlier than other varieties- from the second year of planting and, from the fourth year, gives a full harvest. In the case of proper care and correct formation, it can provide a full harvest even from the third year, as, for example, it does in the village of Tsalenjikha, in the vineyard of I. Malashkhia.

Tsolikouri belongs to the highly harvestable varieties, but its productivity significantly depends on the ecological conditions, as well as the pruning of the vine and proper cultivation. For example, in 1952, in Vani, the harvest of Tsolikouri constituted about 97.5 centners per hectare, in Orjonikidze district – 44.7 centners per hectare, while in particular vineyards, according to some viticulturists, it totals 100 - 120 centners per hectare. According to Prof. T. Kvaratskhelia, in central Imereti, in vineyards of Tsolikouri formed by two-sided cordon and loaded with 20 - 24 buds, 80 - 100 centners of grape is provided, while when it is formed as cordon and loaded with 40 - 60 buds, it gives – 120-160 centners of grape. Much higher productivity is characteristic of upper Imereti – in Vani and Maiakovski districts, where the harvest of Tsolikouri can be even 200 centners per hectare.

In Maiakovski, in the villages of Dimi and Maiakovski, in well-nurtured and cared for vineyards, Tsolikouri produces 100 and more centners of grape production, while in the village of Obcha- in rich humus and carbonate soils, this characteristic is defined as 120 - 150 centners per hectare. A relatively lower productivity is characteristic of the central and upper districts of Imereti. Especially high productivity was observed in Abkhazia, where the harvest was determined as 6 - 7kg per vine, according to 1946 - 1947 data, when in Imereti it consisted of 3 - 4kg.

According to an investigation that was undertaken at the testing station of Sakare, the harvest of Tsolikouri- in relation to the variety of feeding areas and soil conditions -is distributed in the following way: in the village of Sakare (Sachkhere), on Stalini collective farm, on a 1.5 x 1.5m feeding area, in humus-carbonate , heavy sub-clay soils, the harvest of Tsolikouri totaled 116.38 centners per hectare, while in the villages of Kada-Orguli, on Jdanovi collective farm, in slightly podsolic, heavy sub-clay soils, 74.5 centners were achieved; in the village of Tezi (Terjola district) on a 2 x 1.5m feeding area, in slightly podsolic, sub-clay soils – 107.69 centners were achieved, in the village of Siktavra, on Dimitrovi collective farm, in humus-carbonate, clay soils – 86.63 centners were achieved, while in the village of Rufoti, on Stalini collective farm, in humus-carbonate, but not deep, soils, 42.49 centners per hectare were achieved.

Tsolikouri is characterized by relatively high productivity, with a harvest coefficient of 1.6 - 1.7; the sprout mostly generates two, rarely one or three bunches. The average weight of a bunch is 140 - 160g, while of particularly large-sized bunches it can be 400 - 500g.

In the collective vineyard of the Institute of Viticulture and Enology (in Telavi) the coefficient of Tsolikouri’s productivity equals 1.69. The average weight of a bunch is 152g, while the harvest of a vine – in 1949 – consisted 2.808g; in 1950 – 2.846g. 

Durability against pests and fungal diseases and response to different environmental conditions. Tsolikouri is characterized by significantly higher resistance to downy mildew than European vine varieties. This characteristic is especially strongly manifested in the subtropical regions of Georgia – in Guria, Samegrelo, and Abkhazia where Tsolikouri has merited great interest and is widely cultivated. Such high resistance was also shown in Sochi, where it revealed a much higher resistance against downy mildew than any European or trans-Caucasian variety. Tsolikouri is also very durable against harm from Anthracnose and is also quite resistant to powdery mildew. 

In Sakare testing station, according to Prof. T. Kvaratskhelia and A. Mirotava, Tsolikouri is the most resistant against the downy mildew among presented varieties . In Eastern Georgia – in Telavi, Gurjaani, and Kulari, Tsolikouri is not negatively affected by downy mildew, particularly in Kulari.

Observation was carried out in Telavi in which Tsolikouri showed considerably higher resistance to downy mildew than other grapevine varieties. Tsolikouri is also able to resist harm from the spider mite and droughts. It is also relatively resistant to the impact of powdery mildew, but very vulnerable to berry rot, especially during the damp autumn. By resistance to frosts, it comes after Tsitska, Krakhuna, Kundza, and Aligote. According to scientist A. Mirotadze, during the severe winter of 1953-54, Tsolikouri suffered more from frosts than other standard grapevine varieties. It is also very sensitive to phylloxera of the root. Tsolikouri is not very demanding with regard to soils as it can develop well in nearly all kinds of soils, except boggy and salty soils. However, the most appropriate is humus-carbonate soil to maintain the high quality and quantity of harvest. 

AGRO-TECHNICAL CHARACTERISTICS

The appearance of the Tsolikouri grape, the taste of its berries, the mechanical structure of its bunch and chemical components of its juice leads the consideration of Tsolikouri as a grape variety dedicated to wine; the Tsolikouri grape is successfully used in the making of different types of table wines characterized by a highly valuable taste and chemical properties.

Mechanical structure of grape. The mechanical structure of the grape varies widely depending on the location and annual meteorological factors, as well as on the size and density of bunches.

To identify the difference among grape varieties similar conditions, rules and methods of grape processing should be maintained. 

Below is presented the data of mechanical structure of Tsolikouri grape taken from the Sakare testing station (V. Demetradze), the Institute of Viticulture of Ukraine (E. Komarova) and from the Institute of Plant Cultivation of Sochi (I. Romashko) (see Table 3).

As Table 3 indicates, the outcome of juice in a laboratory is quite large, while in industrial conditions it is lower, at 72.8 - 75.8% of juice, and 27.7% of pomace.

According to observation in Sochi, the shoot made up 7.1%; pomace – 19.8%; and juice – 73.1%.

Chemical structure of grape. Tsolikouri is quite good at accumulating sugar if the location and annual meteorological conditions are suitable.

In north-eastern hilly districts (in Orjonikidze, Chiatura, and Sachkhere), it accumulates a relatively small amount of sugar, but this is quite satisfactory for table wine production; while in the central and upper districts of Imereti Tsolikouri accumulates a much higher concentration of sugar, making wine that is fuller and more energetic. Together with a high consistency of sugar, Tsolikouri also maintains quite a good level of acidity which helps towards a table wine that consists of high alcohol, fullness, energy and which is quite cheerful.

Below are given the results of a gluco-acidometric analysis of the Tsolikouri grape from different districts (see Table 4).

As Table 4 indicates, Tsolikouri in some districts can consist of 28% or more. 

To characterize the dynamic of sugar-accumulation, below are presented the sequence of the ripening period of Tsolikouri, as observed by scientist V. Demetradze, in Sakare testing station (see Table 5).

As Table 5 illustrates, the sugar accumulation proceeds more intensively during September rather than in August and October. This can be determined also by the influence of atmospheric sediments.

Use of grape and quality of wine. Tsolikouri is a widely spread grapevine variety. From its grape in Imereti as well as in Guria-Samegrelo, Abkhazia and Racha-Lechkhumi, local and European type table and naturally sweet white wines are made. It is also used for general consumption and for making candy (Churchkhela, Pelamushi and others). Tsolikouri - with a high quality of wine, productivity and good resistance to fungal diseases -has merited great favour and distribution in the viticulture districts of Western Georgia. 

To get a high quality table wine, the grape should be picked at the time of full ripening, when the sugar-acidity proportion is 3:1.

This proportion is achieved differently in different districts. To identify the relationship between the place and the ripening period, more extensive research and observation of the composition of sugar and acidity, and the harvest, should be carried out.

To obtain a quality, tender table wine, the proportion of sugar and acidity should be 20 - 22% and 6 - 8%. Grapes consisting of a lot of sugar would be higher in alcohol and rough. This proportion is easy to maintain, as Tsolikouri is capable of accumulating a lot of sugar and keeping a relatively constant level of acidity, as much in the berry as in the wine, so the harvest should be started when the grapes consist of 20 - 21% sugar and finished when they consist of 23%.

Tsolikouri is used for making three types of wine: naturally semi-sweet, Imereti and European.

Collective farmers make Imereti-type wine from Tsolikouri, while Soviet farms and industrial centers produce mostly European and naturally semi-sweet wines.

The way of making Imereti-type wine is different from Kakheti and European types and involves the following: the picked grape is put in the wine press and is pressed by the pressing machine. Obtained juice is poured in well-cleaned pitchers. To ameliorate and strengthen the wine’s processing, a certain amount of pomace is added- about 16 - 20kg per 18 deca liter (18 x 10 liter). A hole for air-circulation is left, and the pitcher is covered tightly with a valve and clay. The addition of pomace assists the wine to become well matured, full, aromatic, beautiful yellow colored, and balanced in all properties. Imereti-type wine of Tsolikouri is a beautiful yellow color; full, quite harmonious and cheerful, with an original, unique aroma.

According to research in Sakare (by V. Demetradze) the wine can be bettered by decreasing the amount of pomace by half, in order to gain more quality and tenderness.

European type wine of Tsolikouri is bright straw-colored, full, and quite cheerful. Until 1936, the wine of Tsolikouri was aimed at wide marketing. 

At the request of the government, agricultural organizations started the manufacturing of pure wines and created several brand wines of Imereti type. Previously, the members of collective farms produced admixture wines, made from different grapevine varieties. Sometimes, this blend was higher in quality, for example when blending Tsolikouri and Tsistka the wine is better as Tsitska supplements it with tenderness while Tsolikouri makes it full and energetic. Better wine can be achieved by blending Tsolikouri and Krakhuna, as Krakhuna beautifies Tsolikouri, making it full, velvety, and strong in aroma and taste.

On collective farms, Tsolikouri can mostly be found together with Mchknara Donglabi, Tavtsitela and Kundza, sometimes the blending vineyards are presented by ½ the proportion. It is advantageous to plant Tsolikouri together with Dondglabi, Kundza, and others with a 1/4 proportion because these varieties are annual-ripening grapevines varieties and they take much more acidity from Tsolikouri, consequently, the wine becomes more balanced in taste, alcohol and others qualities. However the admixture of different vines should be done with care and only after proper consideration of their suitability for specific reasons. 

The quality of Tsolikouri wine differs across the districts of Georgia. It provides high quality wine in central Imereti, along the right bank of the river Kvirila, on its southern and south-eastern slopes and on the left bank of the same river, where famous viticulture micro-districts are – Sviri, Kvaliti, Futi, Ilemi and so on. The wine made in this area is clear, yellowish colored, quite full, and cheerful. Over time, when it becomes well matured, it is characterized with specific tenderness and aroma. 

Relatively more tender and cheerful, quite full wine is made from Tsolikouri in upper Imereti, around the rivers Chkherimela and Dzirula, where vineyards of Tsolikouri are cultivated in humus-carbonate soils. In lower Imereti – in Maiakovski, Vani and other districts -the wine of Tsolikouri is full, energetic, less cheerful but quite balanced in values of wine, and harmonious. In Racha-Lechkhumi, in the district of Tsageri, Tsolikouri makes very interesting, naturally semi-sweet wine; this kind of wine from Tsolikouri is especially tender and pleasant when cultivated in Tvishi village and its surrounding villages. In Guria-Samegrelo and the mountainous districts of Abkhazia, on slopes, hillsides, sometimes in quite plain areas, in clay, water-conducting soils, Tsolikouri provides high quality, full, energetic, and harmonious wine.

Organic and chemical structure of wine. Tsolikouri wine is valuable whether made by Imereti or European method. By the European method, the wine is clear, bright yellow-colored, full, harmonious, with a specific original and tender aroma when well matured.

Especially interesting is the high quality naturally sweet table wine called “Tvishi,” made in Tsageri district in Tvishi village; a wine characterized by a tender taste, fruity aroma, sweetness and natural sparkle.

In some years, Tsolikouri is not inferior to Tsitska in its tenderness and delicacy, as, for example, in 1918, 1925, 1934, 1940 and so on.

At famous degustation commission meetings, Tsolikouri received very positive evaluation and appreciation, after which Tsolikouri became famous and of interest in the Soviet Union.

As noted above, the wine of Tsolikouri can improve its qualities when well matured; over time it becomes more tender and soft, and the rough characteristic of its youth evolves into tenderness and harmony. By this characteristic, Tsolikouri is quite different from other varieties. 

After three years, it becomes marketable and can be bottled. It is especially high quality after 5 - 7 years and the best is 15 - 20 years old. Tsolikouri wine is long-lasting; maintaining a good state of properties for about 35 - 40 years.

To characterize the chemical structure of Tsolikouri wine, below is presented the data from different regions of Georgia, mostly according to Sakare testing station (see Table 6).

As Table 6 indicates, the chemical structure of Tsolikouri from Western Georgia is very useful and rich. It consists of a high level of alcohol in addition to a full body and significant amount of acids that consequently improves the wine and betters it over time, and longevity. In some districts (in upper Imereti), Tsolikouri gives good material for champagne, and aged Tsolikouri in particular can be successfully used to this end; while in central and lower Imereti, it can be used for strong and dessert wines, particularly in such districts in which it produces heavy, less cheerful, wines of a high alcohol consistancy. Tsolikouri produces quite sweet, cheerful, pleasant material for grape juice and quality spirits. Generally, Tsolikouri is useful for nearly all products of enology. 

The variations and clones. While conducting the research of the grapevine varieties of Imereti, a variation of Tsolikouri was revealed with characteristically large berries, in the villages of Dimi and Obcha.

This variation quite significantly resembles the real Tsolikouri in the structure of leaves and bunches, while differing from it in the strength of growth, maintenance of larger berries, and smaller bunches. According to observations by the Institute of Viticulture in the collective vineyard, this variation, even though it is greatly similar to Tsolikouri, should be classified as an independent grapevine variety. This variation ripens earlier than Tsolikouri, but is less productive and produces lower quality wine.

This variation is also cultivated in Sakare testing station by Al. Mirotadze (manager of the Selection Department) who discovered another variation also –the long flowering Tsolikouri which is characterized by large flowers and sometimes with the total fall of flowers, generating mostly abnormal, only 4 - 5 normal berries. This is a negative variation and depreciated in all agricultural values. Recently, in Abkhazia, in the testing station of the Institute of Viticulture, A. Iobidze (and in Sakare, A. Mirotadze) revealed a new Tsolikouri with oval berries that is under investigation to identify its major agricultural properties and values. This oval-grained variation of Tsolikouri was also found in Imereti by G. Gaprindashvili and cultivated in Sakare testing station.

GENERAL EVALUATION AND DISTRIBUTION 

BY DISTRICT. 

Tsolikouri is a native grapevine variety of Imereti, distributed in nearly all districts of Western Georgia, and used for making local, European type table and naturally sweet quality wines.

It is characterized by middle or large productivity; quite high resistance to fungal diseases, particularly to downy mildew; high quality of wine; and good adaptability to environmental conditions. Due to these positive characteristics, Tsolikouri is widely cultivated in all Western Georgia and, as becomes a universal grapevine variety, it can be found in all kinds of land areas in that part of the country. Of the negative characteristics, its weakness to winter frosts and late ripening can be underlined, which makes its distribution limited to Western Georgian districts.

It should be noted that, as Rkatsiteli has taken the leading position in Eastern Georgia, so has Tsolikouri in Western Georgia; while together, they represent the most widespread grapevine varieties as much in Georgia as in the Soviet Union. They have surpassed such high-quality grapevine varieties as Saperavi and Mtsvane – in Kakheti; and Tsitska, Krakhuna and others – in Imereti. This can be explained by the complex of positive characteristics maintained by Rkatsiteli and Tsolikouri, whereas, other varieties like Mtsvane, Tsitska and Krakhuna lack in this completeness- being only partly suitable and useful. Despite these three being more productive and providing higher quality wine, they are more sensitive to environmental changes and pests, for example Mtsvane and Tsitska, which can become very easily infected by powdery mildew.

Tsolikouri is included in the standard assortment of grapevine varieties to be widely distributed in Imereti, Lechkhumi, Guria-Samegrelo and Adjara-Abkhazia, particularly in the districts along the sea coast. Tsolikouri is a prospective grapevine, recommended by the Institute of Plant Cultivation of Sochi, for distribution in the districts of Uafse, Shafsukhi, Sochi and Adleri.

Based on observations conducted in Kakheti, Tsolikouri fully ripens 10-12 days later than Rkatsiteli. In Lagodekhi it provides quite full and cheerful table wine.

It is recommended, also, for distribution in the southern districts of the Soviet Union (in Azerbaijan, Armenia, in the central Asian republics and so on). 

 

Tsolikouri

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Characterization:

                                                TSOLIKOURI 

Tsolikouri is a local standard grapevine variety, widely spread in the viticulture districts of Western Georgia, which provides high quality white table and naturally sweet dessert wine. 

Tsolikouri is known by the names Obchuri Tsolikouri and Melkos Tsolikouri in the viticulture districts of Western Georgia, while in upper Imereti it is known by the name Bazaleturi Tsolikouri-yet quite distinct from Tsolikouri and therefore an independent grapevine variety. In foreign literature, Tsolikouri is mentioned by the name “Tsolikouri.” 

Tsolikouri is an industrial grapevine variety of Imereti, originating from a family of Kolkhetian grapevine varieties. With its morphological and agricultural features, it stands close to the major industrial grapevine varieties of Western Georgia and is included in the eco-geographical family Prol.pontica subprol. Georgica Negr. 

There is no extensive information about the time and place of its genesis, only some descriptions from literature sources and folklore which assist to paint an approximate picture of the time and location of Tsolikouri’s origin. 

This issue is mentioned interestingly in the significant work of Il. Bakhtadze (10), who writes: “out of these vineyards (referring to the low-formed vineyards of Shorapani) are produced the best-considered wines, among them particularly valuable are the wines of Sviri, Shosha, and Kharagouli, including best of all “Tsolikouri,” produced from the Kabistoni grape complemented by all special characteristics of French wines, also making only a limited amount and only in Kharagouli; Tsolikouri in Bazaleti is also considered as the best.” 

As seen, Il. Bakhtadze differentiated two different varieties– White Kabistoni and Tsolikouri of Bazaleti, both producing high quality wine. The former was used for the making of sparkling wine, while the latter for table wine. Therefore, in the past, Tsolikouri of Bazaleti was considered another best grapevine variety after Kabistoni, in Sharapani district. 

Tsolikouri is also described by famous specialist V. Staroselski (17) in his work in which he portrays the distribution areas of Tsolikouri, namely referring to the villages of Shorapani: Bazaleti, Lashe, and Tetritskaro, and also to the village Obcha, in Kutaisi, where Tsolikouri is known by the name Obchuri. Thus, V. Staroselstki did not separate Bazaleturi Tsolikouri from Obchuri Tsolikouri, or might have considered them as close relatives because he named both places- Obcha and Bazaleti -as distribution locations of Tsolikouri. 

As is known as much in the past as in the present, in Bazaleti, Tetritskaro and Orjonikidze- Bazaleturi Tsolikouri was and is distributed (this was noted also by Il. Bakhturidze), whereas in the village of Obcha (Maiakovski district), the Tsolikouri that is known as Obchuri or Melkos Tsolikouri was and is mostly cultivated. In addition, from the description and subsequent applications it is clear that V. Staroselski characterized not Obchuri Tsolikouri but Bazaleturi- quite a different grapevine variety. Bazaleturi Tsolikouri is cultivated in Bazaleti village and its surroundings; characterized by female flowers, while the other – Tsolikouri, that is cultivated in Obcha, is characterised by hermaphroditic flowers. These two may have some kind of similarity in visual appearance as well as having dissimilarities, but what is most important is that both can provide high quality wine. In the past, Bazaleturi Tsolikouri was very popular and of great fame. 

According to given data and materials, these two grapevine varieties can be identified as two genuinely different varieties. 

Bazaletian Tsolikouri is an ancient grapevine variety and must be mentioned by the name that is used in relatively old agricultural literature (Il. Bakhtadze, 10; V. Staroselski, 17) while Obchuri Tsolikouri is a much younger variety which has proved quite good resistance to fungal diseases; and it is also very interesting for viticulturists because of great harvest and productivity. 

According to experienced local viticulturists, Tsolikouri originally came from Obchian viticulturist Melko and so took the names Obchuri and Melko’s Tsolikouri. How he could generate this variety is unknown; perhaps he deliberately adopted the famous name Tsolikouri to ensure the wide distribution of his wine. 

Tsolikouri is one of the grapevine varieties which have achieved great fame and distribution not only in Imereti but also throughout all Western Georgian; this is a universal grapevine for nearly all dry and damp places of Western Georgia. 

Tsolikouri took first place by its distribution area and scope of vineyards after Rkatsiteli not only in Georgia but also in the whole Soviet Union. The largest scope is dedicated to it in Imereti (larger than that of Tsitska), then in Samegrelo (31%), in Abkhazia (16%), Guria (19%) and Racha-Lechkhumi (7.5%). The most insignificant area dedicated to it is in Adjara and Eastern Georgia. Generally, in Georgia, according to 1940 data, it has 9359 ha dedicated land. 

The distribution of Tsolikouri vineyards in relation to the particular administrative districts is presented below in Table 1.

According to the given data, Tsolikouri in 1953 has 10950 ha of dedicated land in Georgia.

Outside Georgia, Tsolikouri is mostly distributed in experimental and collective vineyards of the Soviet Union, for investigation reasons.

BOTANICAL DESCRIPTION

This variety was described in the collective vineyard of the village Obcha (Maiakovski) and explored in the collective vineyard of the Institute of Viticulture and Enology in Telavi.

In Obcha, the vine is formed by Georgian rule, on stake; while in Telavi – by cordon.

The young shoot. The young growth shoot (15 - 20cm long) with its tips, crown, and second (sometimes even third) leaf-bracts are covered with thick felt-like coating and grayish-white, slightly pink down. From the third leaf, the coating decreases on the topside and becomes greenish-yellow, with an orange hue. On the underside, leaves are covered with a thick felt-like grayish coating until the fourth and fifth leaves.

The one year sprout. The one year sprout is brownish-yellow between the axils, which are dark purple and distanced from each other by 8 - 16cm, generally – 10 - 12cm.

The leaf. Well-developed leaves of the middle row (9 - 12) are larger than medium; roundish in shape; and from 18 to 22cm long and 17 - 21 cm wide. The blade of the leaf is mostly three-lobed, rarely – five-lobed or un-lobed. The surface of the leaf is smooth, rarely wrinkled like a net. The ends of underside margins curl slightly downwards. The leaf is dark green, frequently with an even surface that is the specific characteristic for this grapevine variety. The upper incisions are mostly superficial, or quite deep, lyre-like with parallel sides, or are rarely elliptic and angular. The bases of incisions are generally sharp or rarely, roundish. The underside incisions are less-developed, superficial, sometimes lightly noticeable or angular; often they are not apparent at all. 

The incision of the petiole is open, like an arrow or a narrow lyre. Rarely, completely closed incisions can be found, tightly interweaved with each other. The major vein ends in sharp, triangular teeth; the lateral teeth are often like the saw teeth and are triangular.

The underside of the leaf is covered with a thick felt-like coating and thick down. 

The petiole is slightly short or as long as the middle vein which is reddish wine-colored, often, this kind of coloring is also characteristic for major veins.

The flower. The flower is hermaphroditic, with 5 or 6 stamens standing, or slightly inclined, with a proportional length to the pistil of 1.25 or 1.50. The pistil is pear shaped, with a long cylindrical column and split nose.

The bunch. Bunches are middle-sized, from 14 to 16cm long; cone or wide-cone shaped, often with a wing that is about half or 1/3 the length of pistil’s length; rarely branched, or unshaped bunches can be found. Bunches are quite dense or slightly thin. The grapevine is characterized with significant flower-fall. The petiole of the bunch is 3 cm; and is grass-like, becoming woody and take on a yellowish-purple coloring. The petiole of the berry is bright green and is 5 - 6mm. The pedicel is cone-shaped and covered with brown dawn.

The grain. The berry is middle-sized, from 1.5 to 1.7cm long, and 1.45 - 1.65cm wide. The length of large berries is 1.8 - 2.0cm, while the width – 1.75 - 1.95cm; by shape they are roundish, rarely oval; the berry symmetrical, wider in the middle part and with a rounded end. The berry is greenish-yellow with brown spots. The skin of the berry is thick and rough and covered with wax-like spots. The fruit is solid, juicy, and has a pleasant sweet taste. The original aroma is not strongly expressed.

The seed. There are about one to four seeds in a grain, the average 1.88. Seeds are wide-oval, about 7.5 - 8mm long and 4.5 - 5mm wide. They are brown, and yellowish to the tip. The basis is to be found in the upper part of the seed, is roundish-oval and slightly convex outside. The upper channel is not deep. The inside is bumpy, with middle depth, parallel channels running to the tip. The tip is cylindrical, bright purple, slightly narrowed to the tip, about 2mm long and 1.8mm wide.

AGRO-BIOLOGICAL DESCRIPTION

The vegetation period and course of phases. To characterize the vegetation period and its particular phases, below are presented the results of observation conducted in different viticulture districts, namely in the testing station of Sakare (Zestafoni district), where the vineyard is cultivated in a plain area, 149.2m above sea level with a 26 year-old vine formed as cordon (by stake and wire); in Kakheti, in the viticulture collective vineyard near Telavi, where the vineyard is cultivated to the north-east of Tsiv-Gombori Mountain, on a slope situated at 562.3m above sea level, also with a 26 year-old vine, formed by two-sided cordon method and stretched on wire; in Ukraine, around the city Odessa, in the village Chernomorska, where the vineyard is cultivated on a dry Limani slope at 50m above sea level, and formed by two-sided cordon; and also in Iakorni Shcheli, near to Sochi, on the Soviet Union’s Plantation Institute’s base.

The results of the phenological observation are given in Table 2.

As observation indicates, the vegetation period of Tsolikouri varies quite significantly depending on the ecological conditions of the particular districts.

Generally, it has been observed that the vegetation period is shorter when moving to the north and mountainous districts and the vine is satisfied by lower active temperatures than in the foothill areas and the southern districts.

In addition to these regions, relatively short vegetation periods in Kakheti and Ukraine are also determined by the decrease in the accumulation of atmospheric sediments, from approximately 1200mm (in Zestafoni) to 700 - 800mm (in Telavi) and 400 - 500mm (in Odessa).

Basically, these reasons should be considered when explaining the difference in the vegetation period among the regions of Imereti, Kakheti and Ukraine. In these places, Tsilikouri has shown itself to be of the fourth maturity period group of vines. Actually, in all the mentioned places, the Tsolikouri grape reaches maturity late- at the end of autumn. In south Ukraine, the grape has more difficulty approaching full ripening, while in Kakheti it matures 10 - 12 days later than Rkatsiteli, and is sometimes picked together with Rkatsiteli when it is not fully ripened. In comparatively long vegetation conditions in Imereti and partly in Kakheti, the sprouts of Tsolikouri are able to ripen by the time of leaf-fall, and are ready to face the winter, resulting in little or no damage from winter frosts.

The strength of growth. The shoots of Tsolikouri are characterized by stronger growth and development in the climate and soil conditions of Imereti, especially in the subtropical regions of Georgia – in Guria, Samegrelo, and Abkhazia. In Khakheti, it has shown quite good capability of growth in comparison with other

Generally, it has been observed that the vegetation period is shorter when moving to the north and mountainous districts and the vine is satisfied by lower active temperatures than in the foothill areas and the southern districts.

In addition to these regions, relatively short vegetation periods in Kakheti and Ukraine are also determined by the decrease in the accumulation of atmospheric sediments, from approximately 1200mm (in Zestafoni) to 700 - 800mm (in Telavi) and 400 - 500mm (in Odessa).

Basically, these reasons should be considered when explaining the difference in the vegetation period among the regions of Imereti, Kakheti and Ukraine. In these places, Tsilikouri has shown itself to be of the fourth maturity period group of vines. Actually, in all the mentioned places, the Tsolikouri grape reaches maturity late- at the end of autumn. In south Ukraine, the grape has more difficulty approaching full ripening, while in Kakheti it matures 10 - 12 days later than Rkatsiteli, and is sometimes picked together with Rkatsiteli when it is not fully ripened. In comparatively long vegetation conditions in Imereti and partly in Kakheti, the sprouts of Tsolikouri are able to ripen by the time of leaf-fall, and are ready to face the winter, resulting in little or no damage from winter frosts.

The strength of growth. The shoots of Tsolikouri are characterized by stronger growth and development in the climate and soil conditions of Imereti, especially in the subtropical regions of Georgia – in Guria, Samegrelo, and Abkhazia. In Khakheti, it has shown quite good capability of growth in comparison with other 

varieties. It is characterized by strong growth and development on the Gurjaani and Kurali soviet farms. On the Plantation Institute of the Soviet Union of Sochi base point, it is stronger than average in growth and its sprouts in August reach about 109cm.

The productivity. Tsolikouri gives first harvest earlier than other varieties- from the second year of planting and, from the fourth year, gives a full harvest. In the case of proper care and correct formation, it can provide a full harvest even from the third year, as, for example, it does in the village of Tsalenjikha, in the vineyard of I. Malashkhia.

Tsolikouri belongs to the highly harvestable varieties, but its productivity significantly depends on the ecological conditions, as well as the pruning of the vine and proper cultivation. For example, in 1952, in Vani, the harvest of Tsolikouri constituted about 97.5 centners per hectare, in Orjonikidze district – 44.7 centners per hectare, while in particular vineyards, according to some viticulturists, it totals 100 - 120 centners per hectare. According to Prof. T. Kvaratskhelia, in central Imereti, in vineyards of Tsolikouri formed by two-sided cordon and loaded with 20 - 24 buds, 80 - 100 centners of grape is provided, while when it is formed as cordon and loaded with 40 - 60 buds, it gives – 120-160 centners of grape. Much higher productivity is characteristic of upper Imereti – in Vani and Maiakovski districts, where the harvest of Tsolikouri can be even 200 centners per hectare.

In Maiakovski, in the villages of Dimi and Maiakovski, in well-nurtured and cared for vineyards, Tsolikouri produces 100 and more centners of grape production, while in the village of Obcha- in rich humus and carbonate soils, this characteristic is defined as 120 - 150 centners per hectare. A relatively lower productivity is characteristic of the central and upper districts of Imereti. Especially high productivity was observed in Abkhazia, where the harvest was determined as 6 - 7kg per vine, according to 1946 - 1947 data, when in Imereti it consisted of 3 - 4kg.

According to an investigation that was undertaken at the testing station of Sakare, the harvest of Tsolikouri- in relation to the variety of feeding areas and soil conditions -is distributed in the following way: in the village of Sakare (Sachkhere), on Stalini collective farm, on a 1.5 x 1.5m feeding area, in humus-carbonate , heavy sub-clay soils, the harvest of Tsolikouri totaled 116.38 centners per hectare, while in the villages of Kada-Orguli, on Jdanovi collective farm, in slightly podsolic, heavy sub-clay soils, 74.5 centners were achieved; in the village of Tezi (Terjola district) on a 2 x 1.5m feeding area, in slightly podsolic, sub-clay soils – 107.69 centners were achieved, in the village of Siktavra, on Dimitrovi collective farm, in humus-carbonate, clay soils – 86.63 centners were achieved, while in the village of Rufoti, on Stalini collective farm, in humus-carbonate, but not deep, soils, 42.49 centners per hectare were achieved.

Tsolikouri is characterized by relatively high productivity, with a harvest coefficient of 1.6 - 1.7; the sprout mostly generates two, rarely one or three bunches. The average weight of a bunch is 140 - 160g, while of particularly large-sized bunches it can be 400 - 500g.

In the collective vineyard of the Institute of Viticulture and Enology (in Telavi) the coefficient of Tsolikouri’s productivity equals 1.69. The average weight of a bunch is 152g, while the harvest of a vine – in 1949 – consisted 2.808g; in 1950 – 2.846g. 

Durability against pests and fungal diseases and response to different environmental conditions. Tsolikouri is characterized by significantly higher resistance to downy mildew than European vine varieties. This characteristic is especially strongly manifested in the subtropical regions of Georgia – in Guria, Samegrelo, and Abkhazia where Tsolikouri has merited great interest and is widely cultivated. Such high resistance was also shown in Sochi, where it revealed a much higher resistance against downy mildew than any European or trans-Caucasian variety. Tsolikouri is also very durable against harm from Anthracnose and is also quite resistant to powdery mildew. 

In Sakare testing station, according to Prof. T. Kvaratskhelia and A. Mirotava, Tsolikouri is the most resistant against the downy mildew among presented varieties . In Eastern Georgia – in Telavi, Gurjaani, and Kulari, Tsolikouri is not negatively affected by downy mildew, particularly in Kulari.

Observation was carried out in Telavi in which Tsolikouri showed considerably higher resistance to downy mildew than other grapevine varieties. Tsolikouri is also able to resist harm from the spider mite and droughts. It is also relatively resistant to the impact of powdery mildew, but very vulnerable to berry rot, especially during the damp autumn. By resistance to frosts, it comes after Tsitska, Krakhuna, Kundza, and Aligote. According to scientist A. Mirotadze, during the severe winter of 1953-54, Tsolikouri suffered more from frosts than other standard grapevine varieties. It is also very sensitive to phylloxera of the root. Tsolikouri is not very demanding with regard to soils as it can develop well in nearly all kinds of soils, except boggy and salty soils. However, the most appropriate is humus-carbonate soil to maintain the high quality and quantity of harvest. 

AGRO-TECHNICAL CHARACTERISTICS

The appearance of the Tsolikouri grape, the taste of its berries, the mechanical structure of its bunch and chemical components of its juice leads the consideration of Tsolikouri as a grape variety dedicated to wine; the Tsolikouri grape is successfully used in the making of different types of table wines characterized by a highly valuable taste and chemical properties.

Mechanical structure of grape. The mechanical structure of the grape varies widely depending on the location and annual meteorological factors, as well as on the size and density of bunches.

To identify the difference among grape varieties similar conditions, rules and methods of grape processing should be maintained. 

Below is presented the data of mechanical structure of Tsolikouri grape taken from the Sakare testing station (V. Demetradze), the Institute of Viticulture of Ukraine (E. Komarova) and from the Institute of Plant Cultivation of Sochi (I. Romashko) (see Table 3).

As Table 3 indicates, the outcome of juice in a laboratory is quite large, while in industrial conditions it is lower, at 72.8 - 75.8% of juice, and 27.7% of pomace.

According to observation in Sochi, the shoot made up 7.1%; pomace – 19.8%; and juice – 73.1%.

Chemical structure of grape. Tsolikouri is quite good at accumulating sugar if the location and annual meteorological conditions are suitable.

In north-eastern hilly districts (in Orjonikidze, Chiatura, and Sachkhere), it accumulates a relatively small amount of sugar, but this is quite satisfactory for table wine production; while in the central and upper districts of Imereti Tsolikouri accumulates a much higher concentration of sugar, making wine that is fuller and more energetic. Together with a high consistency of sugar, Tsolikouri also maintains quite a good level of acidity which helps towards a table wine that consists of high alcohol, fullness, energy and which is quite cheerful.

Below are given the results of a gluco-acidometric analysis of the Tsolikouri grape from different districts (see Table 4).

As Table 4 indicates, Tsolikouri in some districts can consist of 28% or more. 

To characterize the dynamic of sugar-accumulation, below are presented the sequence of the ripening period of Tsolikouri, as observed by scientist V. Demetradze, in Sakare testing station (see Table 5).

As Table 5 illustrates, the sugar accumulation proceeds more intensively during September rather than in August and October. This can be determined also by the influence of atmospheric sediments.

Use of grape and quality of wine. Tsolikouri is a widely spread grapevine variety. From its grape in Imereti as well as in Guria-Samegrelo, Abkhazia and Racha-Lechkhumi, local and European type table and naturally sweet white wines are made. It is also used for general consumption and for making candy (Churchkhela, Pelamushi and others). Tsolikouri - with a high quality of wine, productivity and good resistance to fungal diseases -has merited great favour and distribution in the viticulture districts of Western Georgia. 

To get a high quality table wine, the grape should be picked at the time of full ripening, when the sugar-acidity proportion is 3:1.

This proportion is achieved differently in different districts. To identify the relationship between the place and the ripening period, more extensive research and observation of the composition of sugar and acidity, and the harvest, should be carried out.

To obtain a quality, tender table wine, the proportion of sugar and acidity should be 20 - 22% and 6 - 8%. Grapes consisting of a lot of sugar would be higher in alcohol and rough. This proportion is easy to maintain, as Tsolikouri is capable of accumulating a lot of sugar and keeping a relatively constant level of acidity, as much in the berry as in the wine, so the harvest should be started when the grapes consist of 20 - 21% sugar and finished when they consist of 23%.

Tsolikouri is used for making three types of wine: naturally semi-sweet, Imereti and European.

Collective farmers make Imereti-type wine from Tsolikouri, while Soviet farms and industrial centers produce mostly European and naturally semi-sweet wines.

The way of making Imereti-type wine is different from Kakheti and European types and involves the following: the picked grape is put in the wine press and is pressed by the pressing machine. Obtained juice is poured in well-cleaned pitchers. To ameliorate and strengthen the wine’s processing, a certain amount of pomace is added- about 16 - 20kg per 18 deca liter (18 x 10 liter). A hole for air-circulation is left, and the pitcher is covered tightly with a valve and clay. The addition of pomace assists the wine to become well matured, full, aromatic, beautiful yellow colored, and balanced in all properties. Imereti-type wine of Tsolikouri is a beautiful yellow color; full, quite harmonious and cheerful, with an original, unique aroma.

According to research in Sakare (by V. Demetradze) the wine can be bettered by decreasing the amount of pomace by half, in order to gain more quality and tenderness.

European type wine of Tsolikouri is bright straw-colored, full, and quite cheerful. Until 1936, the wine of Tsolikouri was aimed at wide marketing. 

At the request of the government, agricultural organizations started the manufacturing of pure wines and created several brand wines of Imereti type. Previously, the members of collective farms produced admixture wines, made from different grapevine varieties. Sometimes, this blend was higher in quality, for example when blending Tsolikouri and Tsistka the wine is better as Tsitska supplements it with tenderness while Tsolikouri makes it full and energetic. Better wine can be achieved by blending Tsolikouri and Krakhuna, as Krakhuna beautifies Tsolikouri, making it full, velvety, and strong in aroma and taste.

On collective farms, Tsolikouri can mostly be found together with Mchknara Donglabi, Tavtsitela and Kundza, sometimes the blending vineyards are presented by ½ the proportion. It is advantageous to plant Tsolikouri together with Dondglabi, Kundza, and others with a 1/4 proportion because these varieties are annual-ripening grapevines varieties and they take much more acidity from Tsolikouri, consequently, the wine becomes more balanced in taste, alcohol and others qualities. However the admixture of different vines should be done with care and only after proper consideration of their suitability for specific reasons. 

The quality of Tsolikouri wine differs across the districts of Georgia. It provides high quality wine in central Imereti, along the right bank of the river Kvirila, on its southern and south-eastern slopes and on the left bank of the same river, where famous viticulture micro-districts are – Sviri, Kvaliti, Futi, Ilemi and so on. The wine made in this area is clear, yellowish colored, quite full, and cheerful. Over time, when it becomes well matured, it is characterized with specific tenderness and aroma. 

Relatively more tender and cheerful, quite full wine is made from Tsolikouri in upper Imereti, around the rivers Chkherimela and Dzirula, where vineyards of Tsolikouri are cultivated in humus-carbonate soils. In lower Imereti – in Maiakovski, Vani and other districts -the wine of Tsolikouri is full, energetic, less cheerful but quite balanced in values of wine, and harmonious. In Racha-Lechkhumi, in the district of Tsageri, Tsolikouri makes very interesting, naturally semi-sweet wine; this kind of wine from Tsolikouri is especially tender and pleasant when cultivated in Tvishi village and its surrounding villages. In Guria-Samegrelo and the mountainous districts of Abkhazia, on slopes, hillsides, sometimes in quite plain areas, in clay, water-conducting soils, Tsolikouri provides high quality, full, energetic, and harmonious wine.

Organic and chemical structure of wine. Tsolikouri wine is valuable whether made by Imereti or European method. By the European method, the wine is clear, bright yellow-colored, full, harmonious, with a specific original and tender aroma when well matured.

Especially interesting is the high quality naturally sweet table wine called “Tvishi,” made in Tsageri district in Tvishi village; a wine characterized by a tender taste, fruity aroma, sweetness and natural sparkle.

In some years, Tsolikouri is not inferior to Tsitska in its tenderness and delicacy, as, for example, in 1918, 1925, 1934, 1940 and so on.

At famous degustation commission meetings, Tsolikouri received very positive evaluation and appreciation, after which Tsolikouri became famous and of interest in the Soviet Union.

As noted above, the wine of Tsolikouri can improve its qualities when well matured; over time it becomes more tender and soft, and the rough characteristic of its youth evolves into tenderness and harmony. By this characteristic, Tsolikouri is quite different from other varieties. 

After three years, it becomes marketable and can be bottled. It is especially high quality after 5 - 7 years and the best is 15 - 20 years old. Tsolikouri wine is long-lasting; maintaining a good state of properties for about 35 - 40 years.

To characterize the chemical structure of Tsolikouri wine, below is presented the data from different regions of Georgia, mostly according to Sakare testing station (see Table 6).

As Table 6 indicates, the chemical structure of Tsolikouri from Western Georgia is very useful and rich. It consists of a high level of alcohol in addition to a full body and significant amount of acids that consequently improves the wine and betters it over time, and longevity. In some districts (in upper Imereti), Tsolikouri gives good material for champagne, and aged Tsolikouri in particular can be successfully used to this end; while in central and lower Imereti, it can be used for strong and dessert wines, particularly in such districts in which it produces heavy, less cheerful, wines of a high alcohol consistancy. Tsolikouri produces quite sweet, cheerful, pleasant material for grape juice and quality spirits. Generally, Tsolikouri is useful for nearly all products of enology. 

The variations and clones. While conducting the research of the grapevine varieties of Imereti, a variation of Tsolikouri was revealed with characteristically large berries, in the villages of Dimi and Obcha.

This variation quite significantly resembles the real Tsolikouri in the structure of leaves and bunches, while differing from it in the strength of growth, maintenance of larger berries, and smaller bunches. According to observations by the Institute of Viticulture in the collective vineyard, this variation, even though it is greatly similar to Tsolikouri, should be classified as an independent grapevine variety. This variation ripens earlier than Tsolikouri, but is less productive and produces lower quality wine.

This variation is also cultivated in Sakare testing station by Al. Mirotadze (manager of the Selection Department) who discovered another variation also –the long flowering Tsolikouri which is characterized by large flowers and sometimes with the total fall of flowers, generating mostly abnormal, only 4 - 5 normal berries. This is a negative variation and depreciated in all agricultural values. Recently, in Abkhazia, in the testing station of the Institute of Viticulture, A. Iobidze (and in Sakare, A. Mirotadze) revealed a new Tsolikouri with oval berries that is under investigation to identify its major agricultural properties and values. This oval-grained variation of Tsolikouri was also found in Imereti by G. Gaprindashvili and cultivated in Sakare testing station.

GENERAL EVALUATION AND DISTRIBUTION 

BY DISTRICT. 

Tsolikouri is a native grapevine variety of Imereti, distributed in nearly all districts of Western Georgia, and used for making local, European type table and naturally sweet quality wines.

It is characterized by middle or large productivity; quite high resistance to fungal diseases, particularly to downy mildew; high quality of wine; and good adaptability to environmental conditions. Due to these positive characteristics, Tsolikouri is widely cultivated in all Western Georgia and, as becomes a universal grapevine variety, it can be found in all kinds of land areas in that part of the country. Of the negative characteristics, its weakness to winter frosts and late ripening can be underlined, which makes its distribution limited to Western Georgian districts.

It should be noted that, as Rkatsiteli has taken the leading position in Eastern Georgia, so has Tsolikouri in Western Georgia; while together, they represent the most widespread grapevine varieties as much in Georgia as in the Soviet Union. They have surpassed such high-quality grapevine varieties as Saperavi and Mtsvane – in Kakheti; and Tsitska, Krakhuna and others – in Imereti. This can be explained by the complex of positive characteristics maintained by Rkatsiteli and Tsolikouri, whereas, other varieties like Mtsvane, Tsitska and Krakhuna lack in this completeness- being only partly suitable and useful. Despite these three being more productive and providing higher quality wine, they are more sensitive to environmental changes and pests, for example Mtsvane and Tsitska, which can become very easily infected by powdery mildew.

Tsolikouri is included in the standard assortment of grapevine varieties to be widely distributed in Imereti, Lechkhumi, Guria-Samegrelo and Adjara-Abkhazia, particularly in the districts along the sea coast. Tsolikouri is a prospective grapevine, recommended by the Institute of Plant Cultivation of Sochi, for distribution in the districts of Uafse, Shafsukhi, Sochi and Adleri.

Based on observations conducted in Kakheti, Tsolikouri fully ripens 10-12 days later than Rkatsiteli. In Lagodekhi it provides quite full and cheerful table wine.

It is recommended, also, for distribution in the southern districts of the Soviet Union (in Azerbaijan, Armenia, in the central Asian republics and so on). 

 

Wines made from the same variety