Chinuri is one of the prominent white grapevine varieties, historically known in Georgia as giving quality production as much for wine as for table grape.
With its botanical-biological features, it belongs to the vine group of Kartli, taking one of the leading places in the standard assortment of white grapevine varieties in this region.
Among the residents of Kartli, Chinuri is also known by the names Kaspuri and Kaspuri White (in relation to the district Kaspi); these names are also present in viticulture literature (7,8).
There is no information about the origin and evolution of Chinuri, though it is thought to have developed in Kartli.
It is believed that, as with many other indigenous vine varieties of Georgia, it generated from the wild varieties through natural reproduction, which were then domesticated with direct interference from humans, and localized in the Kartli zone. This idea is supported by its morphological-biological characteristics, such as the structure of the sprout, leaf, flower type, the number of stamens (5 or more), bunch constitution, berry shape, color and consistency, the number of seeds in a berry and structure. Also, the strength of the vine’s growth, the sequence of its biological phases, the duration of the vegetation period and the late ripening of the grape; all generally characteristic for Kartlian vine varieties.
The name ''Chinuri'' indicates, also, its indigenous nature. According to scientist Iv. Javakhishvili (8), ''It's name should be expressive of the coloring of the berries'' and actually, when fully ripening berries takes on a greenish-yellow beautiful coloring that in the old Georgian language is known as ''chini'' (4). Therefore, Georgian viticulturists often gave names to different vine varieties that related to their coloring- further examples being: Shavkurdzena [black-grape] and Tsitlani [red] in Guria; Peraddi [colorful] – in Kartli; Perovani [colorful] – in Racha; Chitashe [golden] – in Samegrelo and so on).
By using the root ''chini,'' people in Kartli used the name ''chinebuli'' (very fine) because it is outstanding and distinguished with many positive characteristics (strong growth, high productivity, beauty of bunches and berries, the capability of keeping well, and transportability), quite good resistance to the fungal diseases and phylloxera, and high quality wine. For these characteristic features it is called Chinuri – Chinebuli (meaning magnificient, perfect). Before the spread of phylloxera and fungal diseases, Chinuri was widely distributed in central Kartli, mostly in the districts of Gori and Kaspi, where it was used to provide high quality table white wines, known by the name ‘Atenuri Wine’.
The influence of fungal diseases and pests significantly restricted and damaged the vineyards of Kartli, in general, and Chinuri too, but it demonstrated a lot of strength and resistance compared to other varieties and, nowadays, remains quite widespread throughout Kartli.
According to 1953 data, Chinuri is distributed in Kartli districts in the following way (see Table 1).
In addition to Kartli, Chinuri is also cultivated in Kakheti – in Gurjaani (2.42 ha) and Telavi (0.06 ha); in Vani (Imereti) – 0.19 ha and Gudauta (Abkhazia) – 0.02 ha.
Totally, 725.44 hectares are dedicated to Chinuri in Georgia.
In the mentioned districts, Chinuri is generally cultivated as low vineyards, while in some micro-districts even as canopies.
In the districts of Kartli, it is mostly cultivated on its own roots as much in collective farms as in private vineyards.
Chinuri was described in the village of Khidistavi (Gori) on the testing base of the Research Station of Skra and in the village of Tsedisi, in the vineyard of V. Bestavashvili
The young shoot. The cone of growth is bright green and lightly covered with whitish-gray down. The first and following leaves are lightly coated on both sides; are bright green, reddish and brownish. The margins of the leaf are bare and brilliant with a reddish hue. This reddish-purple and brownish-bronze coloring is the exact feature that distinguishes Chinuri from other native varieties. A similar coloring is characteristic for the second leaf, which is lightly coated only on the underside, while on the upper surface it is bare. The leaves that follow are colored bright green and nearly bare on both sides. The petiole of the young leaves is lightly coated, often colored reddish-bronze on one side.
The young shoot (13 - 15cm) is round and to the sun’s side is bright green; lightly coated with whitish-gray hairy down.
The one year sprout. The developed sprout has a middle thickness, roundish shape and becomes bright brown or dark purple by the time of full maturity. It has dark, quite flat lines. The
axils are darker, distanced by 6 - 12.5cm from each other, with the average being 7 - 9 cm.
The leaf. The mature leaf is roundish and middle sized, about 16.5 - 17.8cm long and 16.4 - 17.5 cm wide, with a bright greenish-yellow coloring.
The incision of the leaf’s petiole is open and similar to an arch, with square-shaped basis; rarely, lyre-like. On the basis one plain tooth is sometimes developed; rarely, the incision of the petiole is closed and similar to an egg in shape.
The upper incision is quite deep, sometimes closed and either elliptical or egg-shaped, with sharpened basis.
The lower incision is more superficial and often slightly deep.
As a rule, the leaf is three-lobed, rarely five. The edge of the tip creates an obtuse angle to the blade, rarely – right.
The teeth of margin tips are wide-triangular, sometimes with convex sides and rounded tips. The secondary teeth are much narrower and triangular, often having rounded tips. Leaves are, by nature, funnel-like in the shape. The upper surface is smooth and bare, sometimes wrinkled like a net, and on the underside is coated with short hairy down, especially around the veins.
The proportion of the petiole to the major vein is 0.9 - 1.0, is reddish-pink, while near to the basis it is pink. The petiole is lightly coated with short hairy down.
The flower. The flower is hermaphroditic with normally developed pistil and stamens. The stamens are generally longer than the pistil, sometimes equal. In a flower there are 5-6 stamens, though seven can also be found. In the flower-receptacle there are about 200 - 350 flowers.
The bunch. The pedicel of the bunch is 3 - 3.5cm long, becoming woody by the time of grape-ripening, while the part including the shoot is bright greenish-yellow.
The bunch is mostly cylindrical; sometimes cone-cylindrical and with a wing that often comes to half the bunch’s length. The variety is characterized by a middle density of bunches, or thin; from 14.2 to 23cm long, the average being 17 - 18cm, and 6.5 - 13.5 cm wide, with the average 9 - 10cm wide.
The grain. The pedicel of the grain, together with the receptacle, totals 4.5 - 9.5mm; is green, wrinkled and wide-cone shaped. The berry is tightly connected to the receptacle.
By the time of full ripening, the berry takes on a greenish-yellow or amber-like coloring. Grains are middle-sized, and roundish or oval. The middle part is wide, has a rounded end and is symmetrical. Generally, it is 14 - 18mm long and 13 - 17.5mm wide. The length of large berries is 20mm, while the width – 18.5mm. The skin is easily detachable from the flesh, which is fleshy and quite juicy, and has a pleasant sweet taste. The skin is covered with wax-like spots.
The seed. In a berry there one to four seeds, more frequently 2-3. The length of a seed is 5.87mm, while the width – 4.5 - 5.2mm. Seeds are bright brown, slightly reddish; on the inside yellowish. The basis is slightly oval and is placed in the middle of the rear. The rear side is smooth and slightly wrinkled to the basis. The tip is bright-yellowish and about 2mm long.
In the Khidistavi village (Gori district) and Tsedisi, the vegetation period of Chiniuri is 185-188 days, from the budding to full grape-ripening, while according to Prof. N. Chakhnashvili (18), in the village of Ateni it does not exceed 191 days, and in Dighomi zone the duration is determined as 180 - 182 days.
Below is given the mean data of the phonological observations in the above-mentioned places (see Table 2)
Observation indicates that budding of Chinuri takes place during the middle of April; the blossoming mostly in the first half of June and mass-ripening starts from the middle of October. Leaf-fall ends around the 20-25 November, but in some years when the winter is long and frosty, leaves fall early resulting in negative effects on the future development of the vine; deterioration of the quality of the wine and champagne.
As the given material illustrate, the vegetative phases happen several days earlier in Dighomi than in Gori. Also, the impact of winter frosts is insignificant and the vine completes its vegetation time properly, by the third part of November.
As Table 2 indicates, the vegetative phases of Chinuri are similar in Kartli and Kakheti, however, in Kartli the grape becomes ripe only around the 15-20 October, while in Kakheti not later than the 27-30 September, this difference is caused by the distinction in temperature and warmth.
The growth of the vine and the maturity of the sprout. The strength of growth is middle but, if better nurtured and cultivated, it gains in strength. In the gorge of Tana (Khidistavi and Ateni) the length of its sprouts, by the end of the vegetation period, reach 2 - 2.5m and for this reason it is sometimes formed as canopies. Nearly the same growth is characteristic in the Mukhrani (Mtskheta) and Dighomi (the suburb of Tbilisi) viticulture zones. By the time of grape maturity, 80 - 85 % of sprouts also come into maturity, while, at the end of the vegetation period – 100%.
The productivity. With proper cultivation and in suitable ecological conditions, Chinuri is very productive. The first sign of harvest comes in the second or more frequently the third year, white full harvest takes place from the fourth or fifth years. On a sprout there are two bunches; rarely, one or three. The harvest of one vine when loaded with 24 - 30 buds totals 2.5 - 4.0 kg, meaning 80 - 130 centners per hectare. The coefficient of harvest is 1.5. The shoots generated from substitute buds are characterized by average growth, giving a 1.1 coefficient of harvest. However, shoots generated from dormant buds can grow but are more productive.
According to Prof. N. Chakhnashvili (18), the harvest of Chinuri in the districts of Gori and Kaspi is determined by 60 - 70 centners per hectare, while in Mukhrani (Mtskheta) it totals 40-55 centners per hectare.
According to 5 years of research, the harvest coefficient of Chinuri, in the testing vineyard in Telavi (1945-1949), was 1.19; 3186 g per vine.
In some districts of Kartli (Tbilisi and Mtskheta), Chinuri was formed as a canopy. In this case, the harvest is considerably higher; the vines are loaded by leaving 45 - 60 buds, but in spite of such heavy loading, the vine develops strongly and provides great productivity: about 10 - 12kg per vine.
Durability against phylloxera and fungal diseases. In the districts of Kartli, Chinuri displays quite good resistance to fungal diseases and particularly to powdery mildew; even though in some districts around Tbilisi (such as Mstkheta and Kaspi) where Chinuri is cultivated on its own root, people do not generally apply phosphorus. Yet this does not cause a negative impact as the disease in nearly unnoticeable. Chinuri is more sensitive to downy mildew, especially in lowland and high-moisture areas, for which it requires spraying with Bordeaux mixture 4 - 5 times.
Among Georgian grape varieties, Chinuri is significantly more resistant to phylloxera, proved in some places (Mtskheta, Kaspi, and Gori), where it is cultivated on its own roots. But in other ecological conditions this resistance would be hypothetical. As Prof. S. Cholokashvili states (7), Chinuri is not able to fight against such a severe enemy as phylloxera.
Response of species to different environmental conditions. Chinuri is not characterized by great sensitivity to ecological conditions. It is successfully cultivated as well in plain, as in sloping locations, in stony soils; clay, sand, and calcium-carbonate soils. But it gives high quality production around rivers, on south or south-eastern slopes consisting of quite a significant amount of calcium carbonates and stones.
According to research that was conducted by Prof. R. Kikacheishvili (2), Chinuri can be quite well grafted on Berlandieri X Riparia 5bb and Riparia X Rupestri 3309.
The variety adapts to long as well as short pruning, also to forms of light and heavy loading. It can be successfully formed as low vineyard and canopies.
Prof. R. Kikacheishvili conducted research on the Soviet viticulture farm in Dighomi (2) in order to explore the best methods of pruning and forming. For this reason, the pruning was provided by leaving 2 - 3, 5 - 6, 8 - 9, 11 - 12 and 13 - 14 buds on each sprout and each vine was loaded with 16 buds.
According to the results, the best option of the given methods appeared to be pruning at 8 - 9 buds which provided 36 - 37% more harvest than in the case of pruning at 2 - 3 buds, and 15% more in comparison with pruning at 13 - 14 buds. Therefore, this method of pruning – at 8 - 9 buds –is considered as the best and can also be used in relation to other vine varieties which are similar to Chinuri in growth and development.
Having investigated one and two-sided cordon by 4 and 6 fruiting-holder, and the form of many hangers by 4 - 8 fruiting-ring, the loading of the vines was from 12 to 70 respective to the form. It is confirmed that by increasing loading, the vines generate more shoots but the number of developed and harvestable shoots is lower. This is especially obvious in the case of overloading vines. Heavy loading causes also increases the number of shoots having one bunch and decrease the shoots which have two bunches. By loading up to 36 - 40 buds, the number of bunches, the coefficient of harvest, the average weight of a bunch, and other properties can be increased. The additional increase in loading causes the decrease of the general productivity, the quality and of the vine’s development.
Of the mentioned forms for Chinuri, the form of many-hangers should be used- by leaving 36 - 40 buds and two-sided cordon by 20 - 24 buds. As a rule, heavier loading requires conducting advanced professional and careful agricultural activities.
Chinuri can be cultivated successfully as a canopy around roads and houses, because this is a historically proved and exercised form.
By the agricultural value, Chinuri is dedicated to quality white table wines and as material for champagne wine.
The production of Chinuri can also be used for table grape; after all, it has taken the leading place among the white vines varieties of Kartli.
Below are given the three-year mean characteristics of the mechanical-chemical analysis of the Chinuri grape (see Table 3).
As Table 3 indicates, the average weight of a Chinuri bunch is about 172 - 175.5 g and generally consists of 68 - 78 berries. The average bunch is made up of 95.9% berries, 3.5% shoots, 15.6% skin, 3.3% seed and 77.78% - juice.
The average weight of 100 berries totals 220 - 226g. In 100 berries there are 220 - 230 seeds weighing 8.5g, out of which 28% have one seed, 35% two, 22% three and 15% four.
In Gori, when maintaining the harvest in normal time-periods, the grape of Chinuri consists of 21.2% sugar and 8.4 % acidity- completely satisfactory for cheerful table wines. In order to get useful material for champagne, the harvest should be conducted when the grape consists of 17 - 18% sugar and 9 - 10 % acidity. In Dighomi viticulture zone the situation is slightly different: during the reproductive period, in spite of normal temperature and warmth, the grape never accumulates higher than 19.5 - 20 % sugar and 7.1% general acidity.
The data of the chemical analysis of Chinuri grape samples from Telavi is given in Table 4.
Even though the harvest of Chinuri was conducted in a timely manner in the given years, the results of the analysis revealed distinctions. For example, in 1945, the grape consisted of quite a good proportion of sugar and acidity, useful for quality wine, whereas in 1947 and 1947 the grape samples lacked in sugar as well as in acidity (6.09% - in 1947; 4.5% - in 1948). This kind of material is inconvenient as much for quality wine as for champagne production.
From this data we can conclude that Chinuri in the Telavi zone seems suitable for dedication to table grape use or original wine.
In the districts of Kartli, the production of Chinuri is applied for quality table white wine, while in Tana, as the source of the famous original table white wine, Atenuri.
The production of Chinuri is also successfully used as material for making champagne, by picking it early, when the grape consists of 17 - 18.5% sugar and 9 - 10% acidity.
Below are given the results of the chemical analysis of table and champagne wines made from Chinuri, in Table 5.
The results of the analysis indicate that Chinuri can be successfully engaged in table wine as well as champagne production. To illustrate this, examples are given which show normal consistency of alcohol (10.9 - 11.5o in table wine; 10.2 - 10.7o in champagne), quite a good amount of general acidity (7.8 - 8.1% in table wine, 9.1 - 9.5% in champagne), the lack of volatile acids (0.47 - 0.65; 0.55 - 0.61), and harmony in other components.
PP The presented samples took the following evaluation at a Degustation Commission meeting:
Table wine – bright straw-colored, very clear, soft in taste, tender, quite full, consisting of a normal proportion of alcohol and acidity; it presents a quality table wine.
Champagne wine-material – slight straw-colored, very clear, with pleasant softness and cheerful acidity, harmonious; with a very low volatile acidity; it presents the best material for making quality champagne wine.
Below are given the chemical characteristics of Chinuri wine according to Prof. G. Beridze (see Table 6).
As Table 6 indicates, the production of Chinuri in Kartli, around the gorges of Mejuda and Ateni, dedicates quality material to table white wine and champagne; with its tenderness and normal cheerful acidity, creates the perfect characteristics of immature table wine. In Meskheti, Chinuri is more appropriate for dedication to table wine as it consists of a normal proportion of extract and tanning components, a lot of alcohol with low acidity.
From 1942 to1944, Chinuri was acknowledged as the best material for the producing of a new brand wine, in the agricultural branch of the SSR Academy of Science of Georgia.
From the given evidence, it is obvious that all samples consist of a normal level of alcohol and acidity (alcohol – 10 - 11o; acidity – 7 - 8%). The actual acidity – from 2.2 to 3.37 is determined by the early harvest of the grape, when it consists of 17 - 18% sugar and 8 - 10% acidity.
The concentration of extract, tannin and other components is convenient for making champagne wine.
In the gorge of Tana, particularly in the Tsedisi zone, ‘Yellow Chinuri’ is cultivated. This is implemented in the vineyards of Chinuri, characterized by stronger growth and larger, more profuse, bunches with thick, yellowish berries. By the visual appearance and taste qualities, Yellow Chinuri belongs to the table grape variety and is less harvestable.
GENERAL EVALUATION AND DISTRIBUTION BY DISTRICT
After long exploration, and based on research, it has been proved that the production of Chinuri can be used successfully as much in table wine as in the champagne industry.
To get high quality material for table wine, the harvest of Chinuri should be conducted in the middle of October (15 - 20 October) in the central districts of Kartli, at which time the grape consists of 21 - 22% sugar and 8 - 9% general acidity- quite satisfying for table wine; whereas for champagne wine it should be left until the first half of October (when grapes consist of 18% sugar and 9 - 10% general acidity).
The products of Chinuri can be successfully used as a table grape, as it is very beautiful in color, shape of berries, consistency and is distinguished with perfect qualities of taste, as well as being transportable and able to be kept for quite a long time. For this reason, it should be widely distributed in the surroundings of Tbilisi.
Of the pruning forms, in industrial vineyards, Georgian two-sided cordon and form of many-hangers should be used, while along roads and in residential areas, it can be successfully formed as a canopy that will bring both beauty and higher productivity than in the case of low vineyards.
The subsequent distribution of Chinuri should be produced in relevance to its use and utility. Around the major gorges of central Kartli (of Tana, Mejuda, Lekhura, Liakhvi, Ksani, and Aragvi), it should be cultivated to produce quality table wine. In the same area, but in more mountainous zones (in Khashuri and Kareli), as well as in the districts of Meskheti (Akhaltsikhe and Aspindza), it should be dedicated mostly to champagne wine, while in the surroundings of Tbilisi it should be cultivated as a table grape variety, in order to supply the population of Tbilisi in quality table grape.
Wines made from the same variety