Tavkveri is an indigenous red grapevine variety of Kartli. By agricultural use it is dedicated to bright red original wines as well as to table (consumption) grape.
The exact time and location of its origin has not been completely identified; it is supposed to have originated, like many other grapevine varieties of Georgia, through the natural selection process and evolution with the influence of humans; it gradually became cultivated throughout different regions of Georgia. This idea is supported by the fact that there are many variations of Tavkveri, which can be found in the districts of Kakheti and Kartli (Black Tavkveri, White Tavkveri, Saperaviseburi Tavkveri, Didmartsvala “with large berries” Tavkveri, Patelaanteuli Tavkveri and so on); and also by its purely Georgian name “Tavkveri;” and finally, by its botanical-biological characteristics, which are generally characteristic for the indigenous grapevine varieties of Eastern Georgia. With these mentioned characteristics it is a typical representative of the Alazani family and belongs to the rapevine varieties of Kartli.
Brief written accounts about Tavkveri are available in published literature sources from the second half of the 19th century, for example in works by V. Geevski and G. Shareri (6), who described Tavkveri in Kakheti; also by A. Firalovi and S. Shaverdovi (8). According to them, Tavkveri is a black grapevine variety, with strongly growing, dove-colored striped sprouts, large and dense bunches, round and quite large berries, and is also characterized as highly productive and quite resistant to powdery mildew. These authors classify Tavkveri as providing plain, poor quality wine.
In the same period, works were published describing Tavkveri of Kartli- by I. Kandurashvili (7), V. Geevski and G. Shareri (6) – in which they describe the Tavkveri cultivated in Kartli as characterized with strongly growing, long and thick sprouts; and round, middle-sized, juicy and very sweet berries. The production of this grapevine variety was considered by the above-mentioned authors as the best for wine.
As is indicated from this description, with the morphological characteristic – the growth of the vine, structure of leaves and bunches – the two variations of Kakheti and Kartli are identical; the only difference being the quality of their production.
It is noticeable that the given authors do not refer to one of the most characteristic features of this grapevine variety- the defects of flowers and consequently of berries. It is thought that either they ignored this characteristic or included only the hermaphroditic variation in their works.
In his work, based on linguistic analysis, acad. Iv. Javakhishvili (5) states that the name Tavkveri reflects its origin. According to him, this name must be descriptive of the lower part of the bunch, because of its “Kverebrivi” longish shape.
More detailed information about Tavkveri is found in a work by Prof. Cholokashvili (4), who classifies Tavkveri as a representative of the group of grapevine varieties of Kartli and with its use, considers wine-making- more specifically for the making of bright red wines. Of specific characteristics, S. Cholokashvili mentions its strong growth, well-expressed veins on the undersides of leaves, defectiveness of flowers, and parthenogenic berries on a bunch that creates the necessity of artificial pollination. He explained the name “Tavkveri” as an expression of the shape of the grain’s lower part- considered as a reasonably likely explanation. In truth, the berries of this grapevine variety are strongly characterized with flattish heads and it is doubtless that “Tavkveri” was named for this shape.
According to written accounts, Tavkveri was distributed throughout entire Eastern Georgia, especially around the rivers Tana, Lekhuri and Liakhvi. Local residents used it for making quite quality bright red wines and as a consumption grape; on some occasions it was used also as additional wine material for making bright red colored cheerful wine together with white grapevine varieties (Chinuri and Goruli Mtsvane), known by the name “Khidistauri Tsiteli.” As highly productive and juicy, this grapevine variety is also cultivated in Azerbaijan. According to archival materials, Tavkveri was transmitted there by German colonists in the second half of the 19th century (1852) where it is widely distributed even today, especially in the Kirovabadi and Aghstafi districts. However, in Georgia, its vineyards have been limited significantly due to the influence of fungal diseases and phylloxera, as well as due to flower-fall and parthenogenic berries. In addition to this, the local populations in these areas observed that there were more valuable indigenous grapevine varieties (Chinuri and Goruli Mtsvane) and chose to cultivate them. Consequently, Tavkveri was eliminated from many districts of Kartli.
According to 1953 data of vineyards descriptions, the whole land scope dedicated to Tavkveri in Georgia constitutes 213.57 hectares, out of which 15.36 hectares was dedicated on Soviet farms; 108.38 hectares on collective farms; and 75.7 hectares on vineyards of members of collective farms and in the private use of laborers.
The land-scope of Tavkveri is distributed by district as follows (see Table 1).
As this Table indicates, Tavkveri is quite widely cultivated in the districts of Gori, Bolnisi, Borjomi, Gardabani, Tetri Tskaro and Leningori; while in other districts it is less cultivated or is represented by only a few vines.
Tavkveri was described in the village of Khidistvi (Gori district) in the collective vineyard of the Institute of Viticulture and Enology, and in Dighomi (the suburb of Tbilisi).
The young shoot. The cone of growth is bright greenish-gray and reddish. The newly opened first leaf is bright green with a reddish tone and, on both sides, is covered with whitish-gray down. The following second leaf is bright green with a yellowish tone and, on the topside, is lightly covered with grayish down. The third and fourth leaves are lightly coated as much on the tops as on the undersides and are of a bright green and slight yellowish hue. From the following leaves the downy coating disappears completely.
The young shoot is thicker than the middle-sized; its basal part is larger; being entirely bare and brownish with a violet hue.
The one year sprout. The mature sprout is quite thick (9 - 11mm), ripens by the time of full grape-ripening, is brown and often has a reddish hue and small dark brownish lines. The axils are darker in coloring, distanced from each other by 7 - 10cm.
The leaf. The mature leaf is middle-sized or larger, about 21.4cm long and 19.6cm wide; is oval and strongly lobed. The incision of the petiole is open and lyre-like, sometimes arch-like, or closed egg-like with one plain tooth.
The upper incisions are closed and similar to an egg; the margins are slightly or significantly overlapped; the basis of the incision is acute, sharp or rounded; while closed narrow elliptical incisions can also be found, as can open and lyre-like with parallel sides and sharp basis.
The lower incisions are often open and quite strongly cut, with the shape being lyre-like with parallel sides and sharp basis, or round ended, sometimes being closed and deeply cut with narrow or wide elliptical gap.
The leaf is five-lobed, the margin of the tip creating an obtuse angle to the blade. The teeth of the margin tips are triangular with equal sides and acute or rounded tips; sometimes teeth which are saw-like. The secondary teeth are also triangular with sharp or rounded tips, like saw teeth. Generally, the leaf is flat or curled like a funnel. The blade is bare on both sides. Its topside is smooth, sometimes wrinkled like a net. The veins of the underside are well-depicted and bright pinkish-reddish colored. This coloring turns into dark red around the basis of the veins and in the same location can be found slight web-like down.
The proportion of the petiole to the middle vein is 0.6 - 0.8. The petiole is bare and dark red with a violet hue, particularly around the incision of the petiole.
The flower. The flower is completely, functionally female. In the same inflorescence, hermaphroditic flowers can also be found. In the functionally female flowers, the stamens are short and bent, about 5 - 6. The stamen is well-developed with a shape like a pear; and there are 350 - 950 flowers in an inflorescence.
The bunch. The pedicel of the bunch is 3 - 4cm long, becoming
woody during the full ripening of the grape and taking on the characteristic coloring for the sprout. The remaining part of the pedicel, including the shoot, is grass-like and bright green, with violet and sometimes brownish hues. The petiole is strongly attached to the sprout.
The bunch is cone-cylindrical, cylindrical or cone-shaped. Its average length is 15 - 17cm, while the width is 11 - 12cm. Large bunches are 20cm long while small bunches are 11.5 cm long. If successfully developed, the bunch is dense or even extremely dense, resulting in deformed berries. Occasionally, the bunch develops a wing which gives it the appearance of a complex bunch. If the blossom continues inappropriately, then thin bunches consisting of parthonogenic berries will be generated, causing a negative influence over the productivity.
The grain. The pedicel of the grain, including the receptacle is 6 - 7mm, and greenish while the receptacle is wide cone-shaped, sometimes narrow cone-shaped and wrinkled. The berry is dark blue (almost black); 15.6 - 17.5mm long and 15.1 - 17.9mm wide. In the case of parthenogenic berries – 6 -7mm long and 5.9 - 9mm wide. Normal berries are wider in the middle part, to the end being flattened, symmetrical, and quite thick-skinned. The skin of the berry is covered with wax-like spots and is easily separable from the fruit. The fruit is full and juicy with plain sweet and a slightly acidic taste; the skin consists of a significant concentration of coloring ferments, while the fruit does not. The berry is strongly connected to the receptacle.
The seed. There are one to four seeds in a grain, most commonly one. Seeds are about 5 - 7mm long and 2.5 - 3.5mm wide; are brown, and to the inside – yellow. The basis is placed in the middle of the back, and is slightly oval. The beak is yellowish and 1.5 - 2mm long.
The entire vegetation period of Tavkveri in Khidistavi village lasts 187 - 188 days, while in Dighomi – 187 - 190 days.
Below are presented the characteristics of a three-year mean of phonological observations of Tavkveri. shown also in the course of other phases, as, for example, in the blossom in Khidistavi which occurs from 9 - 10 June, while in Dighomi from 6 - 7 June. Full ripening in Khidistavi begins from 9 October, while in Dighomi from 4 - 5 October. However, the complete duration of vegetation periods in these viticulture zones is the same: 170 - 173 days.
In Telavi, this grapevine variety is characterized with relatively early ripening, with full ripening occuring about 7 - 10 days earlier than it does in Gori and Tbilisi zones- at the end of September instead of the first part of October (as it does in Khidistavi and Dighomi). It is thought that this difference is caused by excessive warmth in the testing station of the Institute of Viticulture and Enology (in Telavi).
The growth of the vine and ripening of its vegetative parts. In suitable ecological conditions, and by use of advanced agro-techniques, Tavkveri is characterized with very strong growth and development and for this reason it is sometimes formed as a canopy. Not only the general development, but also the growth of particular sprouts is strong, sometimes reaching 2 - 3m in length.
By the time of full grape-ripening, the sprouts of Tavkveri are also ripe, sometimes only their tips remaining un-ripe, yet this does not cause a negative influence.
The productivity. Tavkveri provides the first signs of fruiting from the second and often from the third year of planting, while full productivity is achieved from the fifth year. This grapevine variety is characterized with high productivity, especially in irrigated and fertilized places (about 250 - 300 centners per hectare). Its productivity is often diverse and decreases if the climate conditions are hazardous for the blossom, or if it is cultivated on separate land.
As Tavkveri is characterized with defective stamens, it requires artificial pollination or cultivation together with hermaphroditic grapevine varieties. These procedures have been actively used in the viticulture districts of Azerbaijan, resulting in 200 - 300 centners of productivity per hectare. In Eastern Georgia, this grapevine variety, where it is formed by Georgian rule and is loaded with 10 - 12 buds, provides 80 - 100 centners per hectare of production. The productivity will increase if it is cultivated among other vines whereby it can provide 2.5 - 3kg of grape per vine and consist of 84 - 99% productive sprouts. The sprouts generated from old parts of vines are unproductive. The coefficient of productivity is 1.2 - 1.3.
There are often two developed bunches on a sprout; if the blooming happens inadequately and insufficiently then 65 - 70% parthonogenic berries can generate. Such berries are often seedless. According to a five-year observation conducted in the testing station (in Telavi) of the Institute of Viticulture and Enology, the productivity coefficient of Tavkveri is 1.16, while the production of one vine formed by Georgian rule weighs 2kg or more.
In Tbilisi, Bolnisi, Gori, and some other districts, Tavkveri is formed as low canopies, by loading vines with 5 - 7 fruiting sprout (with 40 - 50 buds). These vineyards are very productive (about 10 - 12kg per vine) and constituted with well-developing vegetative parts.
Resistance to fungal diseases and phylloxera. Tavkveri is less resistant to fungal diseases, it is especially vulnerable to downy mildew that causes great damage to its green vegetative parts and generally of the productivity of this grapevine variety. To avoid this negative influence, Bordeaux mixture should be administered 4 - 5 times more than is custom during the vegetation period. It is slightly more enduring of the impact of powdery mildew, but in a hot and damp climate, the situation can be very disastrous.
The negative influence of gray rot should also be mentioned as this fungus is also very hazardous.
Its resistance to phylloxera has not been tested or explored; however, based on observations in industrial vineyards (in Tana and Lekhuri gorges, in Gldanim Dighomi and others) it is characterized with higher resistance around the banks of the Tana; while in comparatively dry, heavy clay soils it is less resistant. Such a picture is shown also in Gldani and Dighomi. Tavkveri is less resistant to phylloxera, for which it should be grafted on phylloxera resistant rootstocks.
Response to environmental changes. As was noted above, Tavkveri is a very strongly growing grapevine variety especially in deep, strong, clay and sandy soils, while in a dry climate and in stony soils, the growth of this grapevine variety is significantly retarded. Like many other varieties, Tavkveri is not vulnerable to droughts.
Regarding the quality of its production, Tavkveri is more successful in maintaining a high quality of production on southern and south-eastern slopes around the rivers Tana (Gori district) and Lekhuri (Kaspi), and in Gldani and Dighomi (the suburb of Tbilisi).
Specific research to understand the endurance to frosts has not been conducted; however, it can be said that this grapevine variety is frost-resistant, because, during the severe winters of 1948, 1949 and 1951, the vines of Chinuri (parts placed over-land) were completely frozen in the central zone of the Mtkvari (around Tana and Khidistavi), while Tavkveri vines in the same vineyards were not damaged at all.
Of the specific characteristics of this grapevine variety, the directivity of flowers deserves mention- causing significant changes to its productivity. If the blossom period comes and is followed by inadequate production, per hectare there will be only 5 - 10 centners. To avoid this poor result, artificial pollinating should be carried out twice. Tavkveri is not sensitive to the length and form of pruning; it is well adaptable as much to short as to long pruning, as well as to light or heavy loading. Yet observations show that it is more productive when it is heavily loaded and is formed, for example, by two-sided cordon and loaded with 20 - 34 buds. In strong soils, the form can also be used that consists of many hangers and by loading with 40 - 48 buds. Such pruning and forming will help the vine provide 200 centners grape per hectare.
By use, Tavkveri is a wine grapevine variety successfully used as well alone as by blending with the production of other grapevine varieties for the making of original wines of local importance.
Its organic characteristics also make it suitable for table grape.
The data given in Table 3 shows the high outcome of its juice (84%) in all three zones. However, in spite of a long vegetation period and a late harvest, the grape does not accumulate much sugar. Based on samples taken from certain zones, the sugar concentrations vary from 19 to 21%. The two year mean is 20 - 21% in Dighomi, perhaps determined by quite a large sum of active temperatures during the reproductive period.
Below, in Table 3, is presented the general analysis of berries on a bunch of Tavkveri which indicates that, in the case of inappropriate blooming, the bunch of this vine variety consists of many small berries that implicate negative results of productivity and quality.
Based on the analysis conducted in the educational vineyard of Mukhrani (Mtskheta), there are two-three times more parphenogenic berries on a bunch, as, for example on a moderate bunch where 43 normal and 203 parthenogenic berries were found; on other bunches – 76 normal and 137 parthenogenics, on another– 94 normal and 163 small, while on the fourth – 87 normal and 220 small, and so on. It should be underlined that such a negative picture can take place only if the blossom period occurs inadequately.
Parthenogenic berries are often seedless or consist of under-developed seeds which can be found only in comparatively largeger parthenogenic berries.
According the data of the Institute of Viticulture and Enology, the average weight of a bunch is 200 - 240g, made up of 90 - 120 berries. The weight of a large bunch is 300 - 400g made up of 165 - 180 berries, while of the small – 70 - 100g, presenting 30 - 69 normally developed berries. The outlet of grape juice is 86.4%, while of pomace– 13.6%.
The results of the last five-year chemical analysis of Tavkveri grape samples are presented in Table 4.
As the given data indicates, the production of Tavkveri can be used only for original type wines.
The wine of Tavkveri is characterized with low ability of preservation and transportability. As much in an admixture as alone, the wine of Tavkveri is light in flesh, moderate in consistency of alcohol, and with slightly excessive general acidity.
In Kartli, it also produces bright red wines for mass-use. Only in particular years especially in Khidistavi zone, is it characterized with high quality production.
To prove the above-mentioned, below are presented the results of the chemical analysis and taste evaluations of Tavkveri wine which were conducted by the Institute of Viticulture and Enology (see Table 5).
From the digital data shown in Table 5, the change of chemical and taste characteristics of the wine-material of Tavkveri are indicated- from district to district of Kartli and Kakheti in accordance with the location and agro-technical background.
From among the mentioned districts, comparatively high quality production is characteristic in the Khidistavi zone, wherein the necessary amount of warmth allowed the wine to be distinguished with a ruby coloring, temperate level of alcohol, harmony and with extract and cheerfulness.
The gorge of Ateni, and especially the viticulture zone of Khidistavi, is historically famous for the production of Tavkveri wine. As was mentioned in the introduction, in the past the population used it for making cheerful red table wine for mass local use. In addition, its production was used as a supplementing wine-material for the making of the famous “Khidistauri Tsiteli” wines consisting of Chinuri, Goruli Mtsvane and Tavkveri. The juice of Chinuri and Goruli Mtsvane was fermented on the juice and pomace of Tavkveri (10 - 15%) and then the wine was poured into clean bottles. This provided a bright red, full and balanced wine.
GENERAL EVALUATION AND DISTRIBUTION BY DISTRICT
Based on the observations provided throughout many years, it has been affirmed that the production of Tavkveri can be successfully used infor the making of red table wines of extensive mass use. To get a higher quality table wine, the harvest of this variety in the districts of Kartli is recommended to be carried out later (10 - 15 October) in order to help accumulate more sugar and lessen the general acidity; this latter being sometimes strongly depicted in newly made wines of Tavkveri.
Tavkveri is very interesting with its especially high productivity and outlet of juice; however its productivity can deteriorate in case of improper blooming, for which it requires artificial pollination or cultivation together with hermaphroditic grapevine varieties.
The production of Tavkveri is used as a table grape only among the local population, as it is less transportable.
In addition to high productivity and a good outlet of juice, Tavkveri is distinguished also with high resistance to frosts that makes it highly prospective for wider cultivation in gorges and in the villages of Kartli.
Tavkveri is well adaptable to Georgian rules of pruning and forming, as much to two-sided as to one that consists of many hangers. Observation has also shown that it can be successfully used in canopy form, by which- in case of appropriate care and fertilizing -its production can increase substantially in comparison with low vineyards.
Tavkveri should be considered as a prospective grapevine variety for making bright red colored wines for mass use, and its phylloxera-resistant grafts should be cultivated widely in the following districts: Gori, Kaspi, Mtskheta, Kareli, Khashuri, Dusheti and Bolnisi.
Extensive research activities should be dedicated to the biological issues of Tavkveri in order to explore its specific characteristics, conduct selection and reveal such clones which will massively be hermaphroditic in order to remove the necessity of artificial pollination.
Wines made from the same variety