Wines made from the same variety
Tsitska is a native, widely distributed standard variety of grapevine that provides high quality soft table white wine. In upper and central Imereti it is mostly used for champagne.
In some villages of upper Imereti, Tsitska is known also by the names Shanti and Tsitsko, while in the villages of central Imereti, it is also called Male Tsitska. In foreign ampelographic works (Viala and Vermoreli, Guioni, Piula and Goete), Tsitska is mentioned and briefly described under the name Tsitska da Chanti.
Tsitska is a local grapevine variety and belongs to the eco-geographical group of Prol. pontica subprol. Georgica Negr. which originates from the Kolkhetian family of vines. Neither evidence nor written records about the time and place of its origination are available, but the fact that Tsitska is one of the first mentioned varieties in the oldest agronomical literature, and the large scope of its distribution, gives us reason to consider it as one of the oldest grapevine varieties of Western Georgia.
Acad. Iv. Javakhishvili (10) introduced the names of villages which sound like Tsitska in order to characterize the origin of Tsitska, these villages were: Tsitskhe and Tsitskiuri.
The similarity of the botanical and agricultural characteristics of Tsitska to other local vine varieties, its wide distribution in nearly all districts of Imereti, and its many varieties, are clear evidence for considering it a local and ancient grapevine variety.
Tsitska is mostly distributed in the viticulture districts of Western Georgia, in upper and central Imereti.
In Eastern Georgia, Tsitska is mostly cultivated in the villages of Lagodekhi, and can also be found outside of Georgia in Ukraine and Crimea -in testing vineyards.
Below is given 1953 data, outlining the modern picture of Tsitska’s distribution (see Table 1).
As Table 1 illustrates, the largest scope was dedicated to Tsitska in Imereti – 5607 ha, making up 27% of the vineyards of Imereti. In Imereti it is cultivated in the districts of Zestafoni, Orjonikidze and Terjola, perhaps connected to the territory characteristics and high, hilly relief of these districts.
In the future plan for the further cultivation of Tsitska, it will be distributed more widely in the districts of Orjonikidze, Zestafoni, Terjola – in Georgia, as well as outside Georgia in Ukraine and Moldova, as it is a high quality and productive grape variety.
The variety was described in the collective vineyard of Kvaliti village, while more detailed investigation occurred in the collective vineyards of the Institute of Viticulture and Enology. The vineyard is 25 years old, formed by the stake-wire cordon rule, placed on the north-eastern slope of the Tsiv-Gombori mountain, 562.5m above sea level.
The young shoot. Young shoots are 15 - 20cm long; their crown and first two leaves are coated on both sides with quite thick web-like down and are whitish in color with pinkish threads across the leaves and petiole. The coating becomes unnoticeable from the third and fourth leaves (in the second row) which are greenish-yellow with a bright bronze shade. On the underside, the coating remains the same, with thick whitish down. The tip of the shoot is coated with a thick web-like masse, and is greenish white with pinkish shade.
The one year sprout. Quite mature one year sprouts are yellowish gray in autumn with a brown hue. The axils are darker in coloring than the space between them, mostly dark brown, distanced by 6 - 8cm, rarely shorter or longer than this.
The leaf. The leaves of the middle row (9 - 12) are moderate in size (17 x 16cm), from 16 to 20cm long and 15 - 19cm wide. The leaf is three, more frequently five- lobed. The blade is roundish or slightly longish. The surface is wrinkled like a net, or covered with small blisters and is wavy in shape. The blade of the leaf is dark green.
The depth of upper incisions is significantly varied, mostly superficial or middle-sized; and the shape can be either angular, or lyre-like, with parallel margins, rarely like a gap, or closed elliptical, or with a roundish eye. The basis is mostly acute, rarely roundish or with a tooth. The lower incisions are generally lightly depicted, mostly angular or lyre-like with parallel edges-sometimes not presented at all, or nearly unnoticeable.
The shape of the petiole’s incision is relatively constant, mostly with an acute angle, lyre-like or arched. Since the margins are raised up, it seems to be closed, but after pulling down on the leaf it appears quite open.
The major veins of the leaf end in sharp triangular teeth, whereas the secondary incisions (of the second row) are characterized by saw-like teeth.
The lower surface of the leaf is covered with thick web-like down accompanied by thick down. The petiole of the leaf is smooth, ¼ shorter in length than the major vein; bright green, sometimes with a pinkish hue.
The flower. Flowers are hermaphroditic, with 5 standing stamens which are the height of the pistil or longer. The proportion of the stamens’ length to pistil’s height is 1.0 or 1.25. The pistil is wrinkled, similar to a pear- having a well-depicted cylindrical column and a two-sectioned nose.
The bunch. Bunches are middle-sized, from 12 to 18cm long and 6 - 12cm wide, generally 14 x 8cm. The bunch is mostly cone or cone-cylindrical, rarely cylindrical, often having wings that are about half the length. Bunches are very dense, dense or medium. The pedicel of the bunch is quite long and solid, from 2.5 to 5 cm long, the average 3 - 4cm. The pedicel is grass-like, becoming woody to the basis and taking on the coloring of the sprout. The pedicel of the berry is green, about 4 - 4.5mm long; is cone-shaped, and has a brownish rough surface.
The grain. Grains are middle-sized, from 15 to 19mm long and 14 - 18mm wide, with the average being 16.5 - 15.5mm. They are mostly roundish, but can rarely be oval or symmetrical. The berry is greenish-yellow, with an amber-colored hue on the side facing the sun. Its skin is covered with quite thick wax-like gray spots, is thin but quite solid. The fruit is juicy, melting, uncolored, with a sweet, fresh taste and specific original aroma.
The seed. In a berry there are one to four seeds, mostly two. The seed is similar to a pear in shape, is brownish, 7-7.5mm long and 4.5 - 5.9mm wide. The basis is placed in the upper area of it, is elliptical, rarely roundish or flat. The central vein is less deep, the abdomen is bumpy, with quite deep parallel lines which disappear across the tip. The tip is thick and yellowish, 2mm long and 1.5mm wide and narrow to the tip. AGRO-BIOLOGICAL CHARACTERISTICS
The vegetation period and course of phases. To characterize the vegetation period of Tsitska and its particular phases, below is presented the observation data conducted in Sakare, Talavi and Odessa (see Table 2).
As Table 2 indicates, the vegetation period and sequence of particular vegetative phases varied significantly depending on the ecological conditions and years. The vegetation period of Tsitska is longer in places where the sum of active temperatures is smaller (in Ukraine and Kakheti). As an example, in Imereti, Tsitska is able to reach the end of its vegetation period and complete maturity, whereas in Ukraine it is not, and ends only between 15 and 28 October. In Kakheti, Tsitska reaches full maturity only in some warm and dry years. This situation is explained by the influence of the temperature and sediments on the vegetation; as is known, sediments cause the decrease of active temperatures sum and slow down their action. In the city Odessa, the yearly sum of sediments totals only 400 - 500mm, when in Telavi it is defined as 700 - 800mm, while in city Zestafoni – more than 1200mm. On the other hand, it seems that it cannot use the entire potential of the warmth and in cool districts is satisfied by a small, necessary amount.
It should also be noted that in nearly all districts of its distribution, Tsitska is characterized by late maturity and so belongs to the fourth group of ripening.
In Ukraine and Kakheti, Tsitska reaches full maturity only in some years, however, one year sprouts- as much in Imereti as in Kakheti and Ukraine -freely ripen in time to readily face the winter frosts.
The productivity. Like many other local varieties, Tsitska gives its first and full harvest relatively early; the first signs of grape appear from the second year, while full harvest happens from the fourth year.
Tsitska is a very productive grape variety, a definite leader among the varieties of Imereti by its quantity and quality of harvest. It has been influenced by long care and impacted by the people who domesticated it.
The harvest of Tsitska significantly varies depending on location, meteorological conditions of the year, soil characteristics, feeding area, and pruning and forming methods.
In Imereti (in the districts of Zestafoni and Mayakovski), according to the testing station of Sakare, the harvest of Tsitska cultivated in forest-carbonate soils, where vines are formed and pruned by the use of two-sided cordon and are well cultivated, consisting of 100-129 centners per hectare; while in particular, more suitable years it comes to 200 centners per hectare.
To illustrate the influence of the meteorological conditions over the harvest of Tsitska, below are given the results of an eight year observation conducted by K. Goraevi (11) (see Table 3).
A comparatively low harvest is characterized for Tsitska in upper Imereti – in the districts of Orjonikidze, Sachkhere and Chatura, where on humus-carbonate soils its harvest totals about 40 – 50 centners, while in some vineyards – 70 - 100 centners per hectare.
Generally, Tsitska is characterized by high productivity. The coefficient of its harvest is between 1.45 and 1.65. Mostly one a sprout generates two bunches, rarely, one. The average weight of a bunch in different years and places can be from 140 to 160g.
The weight of well-developed, large bunches can be 400 - 500g. In addition, Tsitska is characterized by a good ability of maintaining productive shoots (94 - 98%). It is not characterized by flower fall or small berries.
Resistance to diseases, pests and negative meteorological factors. According to long experience and observation by local viticulturists, Tsitska is sensitive to powdery mildew and is easily harmed by it, especially in lowland and moist areas. It is quite resistant to downy mildew but no more than is Tsolikouri. In normal meteorological conditions, by the timely and proper administering of fungicides, the negative impact of both the powdery and downy mildew can be completely overcome.
Relatively high resistance to phylloxera is characteristic for Tsitska. Over a long period, together with some other varieties (Mchknara of Dondghlabi), Tsitska has shown a larger resistance to phylloxera than other varieties. This is also supported by the 1947 descriptive data of vineyards. Nowadays, the vineyards of Tsitska in Imereti are mostly cultivated on its own roots. This is basically caused by the lack of grafted vines of Tsitska because even the vineyards of Tsitska, a little later can be killed by phylloxera.
Tsitska is quite adaptive to climate and soil conditions. Only weakness to powdery mildew limits its wide distribution in some districts of Western Georgia.
Particularly high resistance was shown by Tsitska during the 1932-33 frosts; as for example, when the temperature was - 16o, -17o, its buds revealed a stronger endurance than those of Tsolikouri. Spring frosts are less hazardous to it, and it can also generate productive buds after being damaged by them. There has never been an occurrence of Tsitska being hurt by droughts. Tsitska develops well in nearly all kinds of soils, excluding marshland and salty varieties, but creates high quality wine when cultivated in central and upper Imereti, in humus-carbonate and forest-carbonate soils.
The characterization of the appearance of a bunch of Tsitska, chemical composition and mechanical analysis, gives us reason to consider Tsitska as a wine variety. It provides high quality table white wine and good material for champagne.
Mechanical structure of the grape. To characterize the mechanical constitution of the grape, below is given the data of the Sakare testing station and the Viticulture Institute of Ukraine (see Table 4)
As Table 4 show that the outcome of the grape’s juice varies from 72.5 to 85 % across a span of different places and years.
In industrial conditions, the outcome of the grape’s juice is low. On the Soviet farms, when pressed with a special blending machine, the outcome of three year data consists of: 26.64 % pomace (chacha), and 72.34% juice. According to the testing station of Sakare (V. Demetradze), the average outcome of one tone of grape in Zestafoni district consisted of: in 1933 – 261.4kg of pomace and 724.40 kg of juice; in 1934 – 297.6kg of pomace and 685.05 kg of juice; in 1935 – 266.2kg of pomace and 727.90 kg of juice.
Chemical structure of juice. In addition to the specific characteristics of the variety, the chemical composition depends on the location of the vineyard and the meteorological conditions of the year. Tsitska, as a late ripening variety, accumulates sugar during the long vegetation period (in some years up to 30%). In hilly places of upper Imereti (in Orjonikidze, Chiatura, and Sachkhere) it accumulates relatively less (22%) than in central Imereti – in Zestafoni, Terjola and Maiakovski. Generally, the consistency of sugar in the grape of Tsitska can be from 18% to 25%. To make a tender, high quality table wine it should be picked when consisting of 19 - 21% sugar. It should also be taken into consideration that a lot of sugar results in the decrease of acidity, making the wine rough and less harmonious.
A relatively large amount of sugar can accumulate in Tsitska in Ukraine. In Odessa, grapes are made up of 23% sugar or more and, at the same time, have quite a good level of acidity. However, in some years it can accumulate only 15% sugar. In 1940, Tsitska had 22.2% sugar and 13.2% acidity in Odessa, on 10 September- a very good proportion. In Kakheti – in the collective vineyard of the Institute of Viticulture and Enology (Telavi), Tsitska accumulates quite a good amount of sugar (21 - 22%) if we do not consider some years when it consisted of 16 - 17% sugar due to early picking of the grape (see Table 5).
To characterize the capacity of sugar accumulation, below are presented the results of an analysis conducted in the testing station of Sakare (see Table 6).
As is shown from the given dynamic of ripening, it does so more intensively during September. The accumulation of sugar continues in October but slightly more slowly. The same table also illustrates that, in the Orjonikidze districts, Tsitska accumulates much more sugar than in Zestafoni, in the same time periods.
Use of grape and quality of wine. The whole harvest of Tsitska is mostly dedicated to European type table wine and champagne. Especially high quality table wine is produced from Tsitska in central Imereti – on the right bank of the river Kvirila – in the micro-districts of Sviri, Kvaliti, Futi, Ilemi and so on. The wines of these districts are clear, yellowish straw-colored, quite full, energetic and cheerful, while in maturity becoming more tender, harmonious in trait and generating a strong aroma of fruit.
In upper Imereti, around the rivers Chkherimela and Dzirula, on humus-carbonate soils, Tsitska maintains the production of a wine that is transparent, bright straw-colored, quite full, tender, cheerful, and with a well-expressed aroma of fruit. Because of the high values of wine, Tsitska received first place in the champagne industry too.
Since 1933, the champagne industry of Georgia has relied mostly on the variety Tsitska. The champagne wine of Tsitska is characterized by high quality and values that satisfy the major requirements of the champagne industry. Outstandingly high quality champagne material is provided from Tsitska cultivated in the mountainous and hilly places of upper Imereti. The champagne material presented by 80% Tsitska in 1940 in Moscow got one of the highest estimations at the prestigious Degustation Commission.
In Imereti, Tsitska is used for making European and Imereti-type table white wines and as champagne material. By considering location and meteorological conditions, Tsitska is better being picked for champagne when it consists of 18 - 19% sugar and 11 - 12% acidity; for European type table white wines when it consists of 19 - 21% sugar and 7 - 9% acidity; and for Imereti-type wine Tsitska grape is recommended consisting of 20 - 22% sugar and 7 - 8% acidity. Such proportion of sugar and acidity is characterized for Tsitska approximately from 20 September to 10 October.
The manufacture of the grape should be undertaken differently for different types of wines. For champagne production, the grape is picked carefully, sorted, and then the grape is pressed directly in the press (without the use of machine) under specific pressure in several fractions, and is then separated to mature. For European type wine, once out of pressing machine, the grape is returned to the press and is compressed quickly. For Imereti-type wine, after the grape is pressed, it is conveyed into cleaned pitchers to mature. Then 16kg pure pomace is added per 18 deca-liter, locked, tightly covered with clay, but with an entranceway left for air flow.
Recently, in the testing station of Sakare, the value of Imereti-type wine was improved considerably by adding 8 kg of pomace in place of 16, resulting in better coloring, refinement in balance and tenderness.
In industry, Tsitska is pressed together with other varieties, sometimes diminishing its quality when, for example, the blend consists of 50 % poor quality grape. The blend of Tsitska and Tsolikouri (50%) provides a good result; also good is presented by the same proportion of Tsitska and Mchknara Dondghlabi. This latter is mostly cultivated for this very reason- to blend with either Tsitska or Tsolikouri and therefore necessitating the enlargement of the vineyards and increasing the wine’s quality.
Tsitska is a high quality grape variety providing the best table wine and quality material for making Soviet champagne. The table wine of Tsitska is bright straw-colored, full, energetic and cheerful, tender in taste and balanced in all qualities. When well matured, Tsitska can generate a tender, pleasant aroma. At many Degustation Commission meetings, the wine samples of Tsitska have received high estimations and evaluations as a tender, full and pleasant wine. Since 1932, Tsitska has been successfully used as champagne wine-material in Georgia. It provides especially high quality material in upper Imereti, around the rivers Dziruli and Chkherimela. Nowadays, Tsitska is distributed and widely cultivated on collective and soviet farms as large scopes that will maintain the creation of a strong base for the champagne and quality brand table wines industry.
At the 1943 meeting of the Degustation Commission in Tbilisi, organized by the agricultural branch of the SSR Academy of Science of Georgia, famous winemakers of the Soviet Union attended, and tasted and evaluated the table and champagne wine samples of Tsitska, among others. To characterize the organic characteristics of the samples of Tsitska wines, below are given the evaluations made at this meeting.
Finally, to characterize the chemical nature of its wines, are presented the results of the chemical analysis according to basic data of the testing station of Sakare (V. Demetradze and V. Kintsurashvili) (see Table 8).
Good taste and chemical characteristics have also been displayed by Tsitska wine in south Ukraine. The wine made from Tsitska of vineyards belonging to the Viticulture Institute of Ukraine (around Odessa city) has been estimated at the local Degustation Commission as a quite full, very cheerful wine with a well-depicted aroma; overall a very interesting wine.
In maturity, the wine of Tsitska improves its values, generating its aroma and high taste characteristics. After being kept in barrels for three years, the wine is poured into bottles to mature. If Tsitska is given the vatting time of 6 - 7 year, its wine is good but is better when given 12 - 18 years. Well matured wine generates a very strong aroma, with an air of tar. From the results of an investigation of old collective wines in Sakare testing station, it was found that the wine of Tsitska lasts 40 - 50 years. For example, in some wines made in 1903 and 1905, there are no noticeable signs of degradation or expiration.
Among the variations of Tsitska are: the Male Tsitska with thin bunches and large berries (Kvaratskhelia, 3) and Tsitska with dense bunches and extremely lobed leaves (Mirotadze, 5), which have been explored in the testing station of Sakare.
GENERAL EVALUATION AND DISTRIBUTION BY DISTRICT
Tsitska is quite a widespread local grapevine variety, mostly in upper and central Imereti, providing high quality European and Imereti-type table wines and also quite useful material for Soviet champagne. High quality table wine is made from Tsitska that is cultivated basically in central Imereti in humus-carbonate and forest-carbonate soils, while for champagne it is better when cultivated in upper Imereti in limey soils.
Among the positive characteristics of Tsitska, high productivity and quality as well as significant resistance against phylloxera should be noted- as shown in nearly all districts of Imereti- helpful for the long existence of the vines.
Additionally, Tsitska is characterized by good endurance to winter frosts and the ability of generating many productive sprouts in the case of hail or frost during the spring. Another positive feature is the variety in the way it can be used in production – it can be applied to different types of table wine, champagne, grape juice, quality cognac, and also a good and large outcome of wine.
Among the negative traits are: late ripening and weak resistance to powdery and downy mildew, especially in lowlands and moist places.
By applying advanced agro-technical methods and means, and selecting the proper place for its cultivation, Tsitska can be improved in growth and development and its weaknesses overcome partly if not wholly.
In addition to upper and central Imereti, Tsitska can be recommended for cultivation in other viticulture districts of Western Georgia- in mountainous and hilly places where it will not be significantly influenced or harmed by the powdery or downy mildew. It should also be tested in Kakheti and lower Kartli- in warm districts -to explore how productive and qualitative it would be. Outside of Georgia, it can also be included in the southern and south-eastern viticulture districts of the Soviet Union.
Wines made from the same variety