Wines made from the same variety
Chitistvala is a local, less distributed grapevine varieties that provides quality white table and dessert wines.
Due to its limited distribution, there are no similarly named varieties known either among native viticulturists or in viticulture literature.
Chitistvala originates from a family of local grapevine varieties, and by its morphological and agro-technical features, it belongs to the eco-geographical group – Prol.pontica subprol. Georgica Negr, and stands close to the representatives of this grape; more specifically, to the main industrial varieties. For example, by the leaf shape and bunch it is similar to Rkatsiteli; by the coating and coloring it resembles Mtsvane; by berry shape and taste – to Khikhvi. It is possible that Mtsvane, Khikhvi, Chitistvala and Rkatsiteli had a common basis in the past from which they originated, or they are results of differentiations in natural hybrids. The age of Chitistvala can be supposed based on its morphological characteristics which have indicated that it may be older than Rkatsiteli and Green.
The name Chitistvala (bird’s eye) is related to the shape and size of its grain, as it resembles the eyes of a bird- round and small.
Nowadays, Chitistvala is distributed in Kakheti, mostly in Gurjaani, Telavi and Sighnaghi, while in other districts of Kakheti it can rarely be found included in the vineyards of Mtsvane and Rkatsiteli.
If Khikhvi is frequently grown together with Rkatsiteli, Chitistvala accompanies Mtsvane, as, for example, it does in the Soviet farm of Mukuzani. In Tsinandali and Vazisubani vineyards, Chitistvala is cultivated in Mtsvane vineyards; perhaps this was in order to obtain a higher quality wine.
In the past Chitistvala would have been more widely cultivated, but because of low resistance to phylloxera, the number of vines has decreased.
We recognize Chitistvala as a prospective grapevine variety that is to be reproduced and given to the governmental body working on vine exploration and implementation.
This variety was described in the village of Vazisubani, in a vineyard that belongs to the Institute of Viticulture and Enology. This is cultivated on a north-eastern slope of the Tsiv-Gombori Mountain, 565m above sea level. The vineyard is formed by two-sided cordon, on stake-wire.
The young shoot. Young shoots are 15 - 20cm long, greenish-white in color, accompanied by a wine-colored margin around the crown and leaves. The leaves of the second row are lightly coated and yellowish-green on the upper surface, while on the underside are strongly coated and, in response to this, becomes grayish-white, slightly pink across the leaves.
The one year sprout. One year sprouts are reddish brown and pink during the autumn. The axils are darker in coloring, distanced by 8 - 10cm from each other and patterned with slightly noticeable lines.
The leaf. The leaves of the middle rows (9 - 12) are middle in size (19.5 x 20cm), roundish or mostly wide-oval; are dark green, often three-lobed, rarely – five-lobed or complete and un-lobed. The surface of the leaf is covered with small down and wrinkled like a net. The major veins are lightly coated with web-like down and have a bright green coloring.
The depth of the upper incision varies slightly; mostly being superficial, or rarely quite deep. The incisions are either similar to an egg or closed-eye shaped; more frequently they resemble a lyre. The bases of the incisions are acute.
The lower incisions are slightly deep, or unnoticeable, often similar to acute angles or lyre-like with parallel margins.
The shape of the petiole’s incision varies from lyre-like to closed eye; more often like an open arch.
The major margins of the leaf end in rounded or acute teeth. The lateral teeth are triangular.
The coating of the underside of the leaf is quite thick, consisting of web-like down.
The petiole of the leaf is longer than the major vein or, rarely, equal. The petiole is smooth and bright wine-colored.
The flower. Flowers are hermaphroditic with five or rarely six vertically standing stamens. The proportion of stamens’ thread to the height of the pistil is 1.0, rarely – 1.25. The pistil is cone-cylindrical, with well-depicted columns and a small roundish nose.
The bunch. Bunches are middle sized- 12 - 22cm long and 6 - 12cm wide. The average sized bunch is 17 x 8cm. They are cone-cylindrical, or rarely cone-shaped. The bunch is often quite dense, rarely thin or very dense. The average weight of a bunch is between 120 - 160g; those with perfectly developed berries weigh 250-300 g. The number of berries on a bunch totals 80 - 225, the average – 120 - 150. Having small berries is not characteristic for this variety. The petiole of the bunch is green, from the middle part becoming woody and is about 2 - 4cm long; the average being 2.5 - 3.0cm. The petiole of the berry is bright green and 5 - 6mm long. The pedicel is cone-cylindrical and rough.
The grain. Grains are middle sized, from 1.2 to 1.5cm in length and 1.1 - 1.45cm wide. The size of the average berry is 1.3 x 1.25cm and the shape, roundish; wider in the middle part with a rounded end, and greenish-yellow in color. The skin is thin, transparent, and easily detachable from the flesh which is quite thick, and has a sweet juice with a tender, harmonious taste and original aroma. The berry is covered with wax-like spots and is tightly attached to the pedicel- not falling during harvest.
The seed. In a berry there are about one to four seeds, mostly 2-3. The seed is roundish-oval, brown, 6.5 - 7.0mm long and 3 - 3.5mm wide. The basis is well depicted and placed in the upper part of the seed; is oval and has noticeable margins. The lines to the inside are deep and run parallel to the tip. The tip is cylindrical, 1.5 - 2.0mm long, and bright orange.
The vegetation period and course of phases. The observation of the vegetation period and phases of Chitistvala was carried out in the village of Kurdghelauri, in the collective vineyard of the Institute of Viticulture and Enology. The vineyard is cultivated on the Tsiv-Gombori mountainous slope 562m above sea level, formed as a two-sided cordon.
The vegetation period varies from 129 to 157 days; the mean of 11 years is 147 days. The sum of active temperatures varies from 2639 to 3214 °.
The sequence of particular vegetative phases is also very different depending on meteorological conditions. Below is given data illustrating this variation (see Table 1).
As Table 1 indicates, the time of the budding is more variable than the following phases, such as blossoming and ripening, but the phase of full maturity of the grape differs by approximately 10 days, if we do not consider 1945 and 1947 data (when the full ripening time was extremely early - 5 September,). Chitistvala belongs to the group of the second period of full ripening.
In Kakheti, the one year sprout of Chitistvala is quite mature by the time of full grape ripening, and readily faces winter frosts. It can also reach its maturity period in rather cooler places than Kakheti.
Chitistvala is characterized by intermediate growth. In similar ecological conditions, in collectives and reproductive vineyards, Chitistvala has revealed a middle rank among other varieties.
The productivity. Chitistvala is of the early harvesting varieties. The first sign of harvest (that is 30 bunches per 42 vines) appear from the third year of planting- in a reproductive vineyard that consisted nearly 1/3 of normal harvest. In the same vineyard in the following, fourth, year, 424 bunches were picked per 42 vines, i.e. 10 bunches per vine, while from the fifth year the harvest of Chitistvala was defined as 3560g per vine.
Chitistvala is of the very productive varieties, characterized by a coefficient of harvest – from 1 to 2 with an average 1.3 - 1.4 bunches per vine. The average weight of a bunch totals 120 - 160g, and 250 - 300g of the particular bunches.
According to observations conducted in industrial and reproductive vineyards, the harvest of Chitistvala (1946-1959) was between 2 and 4 kg; on Nazvrevi and Mukuzani Soviet farms, in old vineyards, with small feeding areas, its average harvest equals 1.56kg per vine, meaning 80 centners per hectare. Below is material illustrating this (see Table 2).
As Table 2 indicates, the vine is highly productive: the number of sprouts with two bunches double those with one. Also, the harvest of two rows of 20 - 20 vines (20 in each) varies depending on how strongly they are loaded. The calculated total harvest from this vineyard consists of 80.0 centners per hectare, which would be 70 - 80 centners per hectare.
The length of the distance that is left between the sprout and the root is an unimportant determinant of productivity, as it is in case of other varieties.
Also to be noted is that Chitistvala provides better quantitative harvest, if it is planted more densely, for example in the vineyard of the Institute of Viticulture and Enology it gives a higher yield where it is dedicated a 2.15 m2 feeding area, than when given 3m2. Chitistvala is of the middle growth varieties and cannot be dedicated a large feeding area. Therefore, new vineyards of Chiristvala should be arranged by dedicating a 1.5 x 1.5 or 1.5 x 1.25 feeding area to the vines. The pruning should be conducted by the method of two-sided cordon, so to define the exact number of loading in relevance to the strength of growth. First of all, the cultivation of vineyards by the use of advanced agricultural methods is crucial to achieving high productivity.
Durability against pests and fungal diseases. Chitistvala is quite strong against fungal diseases- this resistance in relation to powdery mildew is evaluated as higher that intermediate. However, with regards to phylloxera, Chitistvala is more vulnerable to it, and more sensitive than other varieties. In this characteristic it is similar to Saperavi (of Kakheti). The impact caused by other pests has not been detected. Chitistvala’s resistance to berry rot should be underlined.
Mechanical structure of the bunch. Based on the appearance of the bunch and berries, on their mechanical characteristics and composition of the juice, Chitistvala is classified as a wine variety.
To characterize the mechanical constitution of Chitistvala, below is given data about the mechanical analysis of its bunch and berries (see Table 3).
When pressing in laboratory conditions, the outcome of Chitistvala’s juice is 75 - 78%, while of the residues – 22 - 25%. In semi-industrial conditions the outcome of juice is 76%, while residues – 24%.
Chemical structure of grape juice. Chitistvala accumulates a lot of sugar and keeps a satisfying level of acidity. During the harvest, in relation to different years, the sugar consistency is between 18.3% and 22.8%, while the acidity is between 5% and 10%.
The data about sugar and acidity consistency is given in Table 4 (Table 4).
This characteristic distribution of sugar and acidity determines the quality of the wine. Chitistvala can also accumulate a lot of sugar and increase in value if the harvest occurs late. Over time it generates improvement from the berries consisting of higher sweetness that is appropriate for the making of dessert wine. The variety is prospective to the obtaining of naturally semi-sweet wines.
Use of grape and characterization of production. From the grape of Chitistvala is provided mostly table wine; generally used as a blend with Mtsvane or, rarely, with Rkatsiteli. In Gurjaani district were many vineyards of Chitistvala and people made good wine from it but nowadays it is not cultivated alone; only with other varieties.
A sample of Chitistvala wine was evaluated as quite valuable; bright straw-colored, with an original, unique aroma and tender, harmonious taste. As mentioned, Chitistvala was used together with Mtsvane or Rkatsiteli, and it might be supposed that it was complementary to the general character of Mtsvane and Rkatsiteli wines. In order to get stronger evidence of this idea, an old method of vinification must be modeled and used in the same way as was used in the past; then the fact will be conceded.
It is of note that, in the past, high quality wine from Chitistvala was made following the Kakhetian rule. The samples of Chitistvaa wines taken for evaluation were mostly made by the European method. As much nowadays as in the past, Chitistvala wine is more aromatic and qualitative when made by the Kakheti method. Unfortunately, because of its low distribution, Chitistvala has not been properly investigated and there is no comprehensive picture about its all positive characteristics.
The samples of Chitistvala wines always received high evaluations at meetings of the Degustation Commission. Chitistvala wine, made in the Kakheti way- which is characterized by a bright tea coloring, being full, fleshy, with a fruity aroma -had not been presented at the Degustation Commission.
In 1943 and the following years, special portvein type wines were produced from Chitistvala, which were characterized by good qualities, with strong unique aromas. In the following years, dessert wine samples, made by Prof. D. Natsvlishvili, proved the great value of Chitistvala dessert wine which can be extended in the future.
The chemical characteristics of Chitistvala wine are given below (see table 5)
Chitistvala is a truly prospective variety that can be widely used in vinification, as much for table as for sweet and dessert wines- especially in Gurjaani and Sighnaghi. It satisfies all the necessary requirements for this – a strong capacity to accumulate sugar, and a sweet, pleasant unique aroma.
GENERAL EVALUATION AND DISTRIBUTION BY DISTRICT
Chitistvala is a less distributed grape variety but is a prospective wine variety for the providing of high quality white table wine. The wine of Chitistvala is quite valuable, is bright straw-colored, clear; has a pleasant original aroma, and tender taste and harmony. This wine is also qualitative when prepared using the Kakheti method, but in such case is more fleshy and aromatic.
In the past, Chitistvala was used to improve the nature of white wines. It was cultivated together with Mtsvane, rarely, with Rkatsiteli and they were pressed all together.
Among the positive characteristics should be noted a high harvest, and the quality of its production, propriety for different types of wines – for European, Kakheti, naturally half-sweet and dessert wines. Another positive feature is its relatively high resistance to downy mildew and rot or berry drying.
Among the negative characteristics are included its sensitivity to phylloxera and powdery mildew, which are easily preventable: first – by grafting on phylloxera resistant rootstocks and second – by additional administering of pesticide / fungicide.
Chitistvala is definitely a prospective vine. Recently, several explorative works have been done, after which Chitistvala was included in the standard assortment of Kakheti.
In addition to this, Chitistvala shout be extensively cultivated for investigation reasons in the districts of Kakheti and Kartli. As an early variety, Chitistvala is prospective for cultivation in mountainous zones, as well as in the south and south-eastern districts of the Soviet Union.
Wines made from the same variety