Otskhanuri Safere is an indigenous, quite widely cultivated grapevine variety of Imereti, used for making quality table red wine and also in blended wines to give them better coloring.
In viticulture literature Otskhanuri Safere is not known by any other name.
Otskhanuri Safere is a local grapevine variety, originating from the Kolkheti family of domesticated grapevine varieties, belonging to the eco-geographical group prol pontica, sub prol. georgica Negr. (11). By some characteristics, it seems to be a transitional grapevine variety between domesticated and wild groups. The thick down, strongly lobed leaves, small flower, characteristic small dense bunches, small, round, unequal-sized berries are the evidential proof for considering this grapevine variety as very old and brought from the wild. Generally, Otskhanuri Safere is accustomed to high forming and should be cultivated as relatively high vineyards like canopies. With its morphological and agricultural features, Otskhanuri Safere can be classified as one of the ancient grapevine variety, not long domesticated, however having been influenced by humans and its positive characterizes gained this way.
The name Otskhanuri Safere is related to the village Otskhana (in Guria) from where it may have originated, and Safere, in reference to its value for crfeeding stronger coloring.
Otskhanuri Safere is cultivated mostly in viticulture districts of Imereti; more often found in Sachkhere, Zestafoni, Terjola, Chiatura, and Maiakovski. In the remaining districts of Chiatura it is less cultivated: based on the1940 descriptive data of vineyards, Otskhanuri Safere was dedicated 94 hectares in total, white by 1953– 112 hectares, out of which 38.58 was dedicated in Sachkhere, 31.45 hectares – in Zestafoni, 12.7ha – in Chiatura, 7.0 ha – in Terjola, 3 ha – in Maiakovski, 3.57 – in Orjonikidze district, 2.2 hectares – in Kutaisi, 1.60 ha in Tkibuli, and 12.10 hectares throughout the remaining districts.
Otskhanuri Safere was not included in the industrial standard assortment of grapevine varieties, and its further distribution was not planned, while nowadays this situation is changed and it is included in the standard assortment of grapevine varieties.
This grapevine variety was described in the village of Obcha (Maiakovski district), where the vineyard is cultivated on a north-western slope consisting of lime-clay soil. The vine is grafted on Rupestri Dulo, formed by high cordon; and was also explored in the collective vineyard of the Institute of Viticulture and Enology where the vineyard is cultivated on the north-eastern slope of the Tsiv-Gombori Mountain situated at 562.3m above sea level. Formed on a stake-wire by Georgian guideline at two-neki, and at two opposite fruiting buds, on a 3m2 feeding area; this vineyard has been cultivated since 1934, graften on Rupestri Dulo.
The young shoot. The 10-15cm young shoot, with its crown and first two leaves, is covered with a thick felt-like coating and is white with a pinkish circle. The coating of the underside of leaves (of middle rows- 3-4) are coated insignificantly and are greenish-yellow, with a bronze hue.
The mature one year sprouts are yellowish-red and grayish in the autumn. The axils are brighter in coloring than the distance between them, which ranges from 5 to 14 cm, with the average length being 6cm.
The leaf. The well-developed leaves of the middle row (9-12) are middle-sized or smaller (16 x 15cm), dark green. with the shape the leaf being rounded or longish. The leaf is three or five-lobed. The middle margin is often an obtuse-angled. The blade is smooth or wrinkled like a net. The surface of leaves is straight, with slightly curled margins.
The upper incisions are often deep, rarely moderately cut; The incisions are always opened, like a gap or lyre, often with narrowed or stretched throat, and flat or sharp basis.
The lower incisions are often superficial, rarely – quite deep. The incisions are always open, lyre-like with sharp or rounded basis. The lower incisions sometimes are totally undeveloped.
The incision of a petiole is open, arch-like, with sharp basis, rarely being lyre-like with rounded or sharp basis.
The underside of a leaf is covered with a thick felt-like coating and web-like down.
The major veins of a leaf end with narrow or wide triangular teeth. The lateral veins end with wide or narrow triangular teeth.
The petiole of a leaf is significantly shorter than the major vein, which is smooth and bright green,with a pinkish line.
The flower. The flower is hermaphroditic, consisting of 5 or 6 standing stamens. The proportion of stamen's length to the height of a pistil equals 1-2, mostly 1.25-1.50. The pistil is small, roundish cone-shaped consisting of short column ending with a small nose.
The bunch. The bunch is smaller than average, from 8 to 13 cm long and 6 - 8cm wide (10 x 7cm). Usually, it is cone-shaped or cone-cylindrical, rarely cylindrical. The bunch is dense, consisting of a shoulder, unequal-sized berries. The consistancy of small berries is characteristic (6-10% ). The petiole is grass-like, to the basis – woody, is bright brown, from 2.5 to 5.0cm long. The receptacle of a berry is green, and 5-6mm long and the berry is firmly attached it.
The grain. Grains are small, some of them can be quite large, about 12-13mm long and 11-12mm wide, the size of some particularly large berries being 15.1 x 14.0. The berry is round or roundish, dark violet or almost black, covered with wax-like spots.The skin is thick and firm, easily separable from flesh that is firm and juicy. The juice is clear or pinkish, the taste – sweet, with a slight original aroma.
The seed. There are mostly one or rarely two seeds, with the mean characteristic: 1.05. The seed is bright brown, on the inside – orange, about 5-6mm long and 4 - 4.5mm wide. The beak is 1mm long. The basis is placed in the upper part of the body, is roundish or slightly oval, with a straight or slightly concaved surface. The channels on the inside are quite deep; the seed is bumpty. The beak is short, orange and often divided into two.
Vegetation period and phases. The course of vegetation phases was described in the collective vineyard (in Telavi) of the Institute of Viticulture and Enology, in the Institute of Viticulture and Enology of (Odessa), and in Sakare testing station (Zestafoni). In Table 1 (below) we can see that it belongs to the late vine varieties, such as Otskhanuri, which ripens at the end of October or beginning of November. It develops well and can ripen in such places such as South Ukraine (Odessa). It is characterised by a 'dark color, softness and durability to heavy loading'. In Kakheti, Otskhanuri Safere ripens from the beginning of October, thus it come half a month later in comparison with local wines, and accumulates 18-21.4% of sugar with a high level of acidity at 8-13%. It is known that Safere ripens better in Imereti, than in Kakheti, as it accumulates more sugar and acidity. The grape belongs to table type wines.
As is shown from Table 1, as the vegetation period shortens, the the vine gets later ability to fully ripen. In some places – Odessa (South Ukraine), humidity supports the ripening process (small sediment). The same process happens in Kakheti, and that is why ripening in both districts is behind Imeretian vine.
Otskhanuri Safere's one year shoot, in moderate humid conditions in vegetation period, reaches its full ripeness at a 100-120 cm length before the leaf-fall process and has strong resistance to winter frosts.
Safere has an average and more than average strength of good growth. In low land conditions, it provides average productivity, but in the fertile soil it gives heavy productivity. Its growth, in comparison with local vines, is average.
The productivity. Otskhamuri Safere is characterized with significantly higher productivity than that from Crimea. This example underlines the importance of cultivation and the influences of climate, soil, and generally of the environment. The productivity of Otskhamuri in the dry climate and stony soils of Crimea has decreased and worsened over half a century of domestication. In these changed conditions, instead of table wine, it gives quality material for dessert wine. However, even here it has kept the character of early ripening. From the fourth year of planting its productivity coefficient equals 1.4; whereas in Crimea it begins full ripening from the sixth or seventh year of planting, earlier in irrigated places. Therefore, in Kakheti, the productivity of Otskhamuri brought from Crimea is 30 - 45 centners per hectare, while from Imereti– 40 – 80 centners per hectare. For example, in 1949, in Telavi, the average productivity of a vine produced 2.467kg of grape, also- of some vines -even 3.5 - 4 kg. Otskhamuri is characterized by good productivity in Darubandi, with an indicated productivity of 100 centners per hectare.
Like the majority of basic local grapevine varieties, Safere starts harvest early. One year grafts give the first signs of productivity from the third year of planting, while full harvest is given from the fourth or fifth years. The mass cultivation of this vine took place in Zestafoni, Sachkhere, Mayakovsky, Chiatura, and Terjola districts and its shoot is pruned in olikhnari formation.
It is characterized by quite high productivity in Imereti districts, in poor soils – providing 1.5kg; while in strong, rich soils, its productivity equals 3.5kg per vine, meaning 60-70 centners per hectare (in Mayakovsky); in specifically rich soils it can also bear 80-100 centners per vine.
Its coefficent of productivity is good: in Imereti ranging from 1 to 1.6; in Kakheti 1-2 and on average totaling 1.5-1.6.
Resistance to fungal diseases and pests. Safere is quite resistant to fungal diseases. Its resistance to downy mildew in central and upper Imereti is identified as higher than average, as it is in Kakheti. It is also relatively resistant to powdery mildew, proved also by observations in Kakheti. Safere is less resistant to phylloxera. The major weakness of this grapevine variety is its vulnerability to rot, particularly in rainy weather. This tendency has been mostly shown in Imereti, mostly in lowland areas. In Crimea, in dry climate conditions, rot does not affect it, however, another threat emerges – berries can dry easily. In Telavi, the grape of Otkhanuri does not tend to rot, only doing so during the wet autumn.
Adaptability to rootstocks. Otskhanuri is well-adaptable to rootstocks of grapevine varieties, and can be successfully grafted on Riparia X Rupestri 3309 and 3306. For lime soils it is recommended for grafting on Berlandieri X Riparia hybrids No.5bb or 420a; for other soils – Riparia X Rupestri hybrids 3309 and 3306, while for dry stony soils even Rupestri Dulo can be successfully used.
Response of species to different environmental conditions. Otskhanuri Safere is cultivated in central or upper Imereti. There are no major frosts there, but in case of a strong cold winter, it has the capacity to resist. The vine is not much affected by the type of soil. In Imereti it develops almost everywhere.
Otskanuri Safere, from external appearance, mechanical and chemical consistencies, signifies it as a good table wine grain. In truth, Otskanuri safere is used only as a table grape
The mechanical consistency of Otskhanuri Safere grape is shown below, with results from the Sakare testing station (by V. Demetradze and V. Kintsurashvili). (see Table 2)
The data given in table 2 is provided from grape laboratories. The productivity of juice is high and in some meteorological conditions it ranges from 70% to 79.5%. During the process, the juice eventually reaches from 70% to 75%. For example: in 1946 in Tskhratskaro village, 19.7% of pomace, 5.0% berries and 75.3% sugar was recieved per tone, and for 1947 the sugar was 70.5%
Chemical structure of grape juice. The chemical structure of grape juice and mechanical structure of grape are the most important characteristics for defining the industrial branch of any grapevine variety, as well as for determining the wine type.
Generally, it should be noted that Safere is characterized with a high ability to accumulate sugar. For example, in Imereti district, the grape of Safere contains 19.5% sugar; when from upper Imereti it ranges from 18.5 to 21% and even more.
The sugar-acidity during the harvest from 1939 to 1950 was tested by upper Sakare villages Tskhratskaro, Argveti, Sazano and so on. The test proved that the sugar reaches from 19.6 to 23.3 % and acidity 7.7 - 10.4%. In Orjonikidze district, in the Kaksa and Lamiskhevi villages its acidity was 18.5-21% and 10.6% - 11.4%; in Telavi – 19.5-21.4% and 7,9 – 13.9%; and in Ukraine sugar was 19.1-21.8% and acidity 10.8-14.3 %.
The statistics indicate Otskanuri for table wine in every district, also in Ukraine, where the containment of sugar-acidity is a normal level. Imeretian vine provides the most of sugar-acidity, more so than Kakheti and then Ukraine. In Ukraine, 19-21% sugar is present during harvest but acidity is also high 10.8-14.3‰
Below are provided the statistics from Sakare testing station (by V. Demetradze, V Kintsurashvili) (See table 3)
Through studying ripeness during the vegetation process, it is clear that the amount of sugar volume rises from September until the end of October, After that, the quantity of sugar reduces.
Use of grape and quality of wine.The majority of Otskhanuri Mtsvane which is cultivated in upper and central Imereti is used for the preparation of red table wine. The local population uses the wine for its color to paint other not-so-good quality wines. Among local red wines, Otskhanuri is the best. It is true that Otskaanuri Safere wine offers quality but in Zestafoni disrict: Safere (Sviri Obcha, Sakare Tskhratskaro village).
The Academy of Science of Georgia, with the leadership of the Agricultural Department, in 1944 sampled Otskhanuri Saferi wine in Sviri village. The Degustation Commission described it as: 'well colored, rich in materials and a good typical aroma'. It was awarded 7.45 points out of ten. K. Modebadze and V Demetradze gave it a high evaluation.
They considered that Otskhanuri was the best vine among other varieties in Imereti. Mostly, K. Nadibadze was fond of Tskhratskaro village wine, which had a softness, harmony and pleasant tatse.
It is possibly that soon, from vine, rose champange product will be made. Tests were conducted and only the results will prove the prosperity of Otskhanuri champagne.
For preparation of table wine, Otskhanuri Safere should be harvested when the sugar ranges from 20-22% and acidity 8-9‰ and for champagne wine materials 18-20 % and acidity 9-10‰. For table wines, the sugar-acidity period begins from Imereti after the second half of October and continues until the first half of November.
For the chemical analysis of Otskhanuri wine m Kintsurashvili, made by K.Modebadze(4.4) V. Demetradze and Kintsurashvili (1), see Table 4.
The consistency of alcohol in Otskhanuri table wine ranged from 10 to 12.5%; and acidity from 6 -10 %- 8.3%
It must be mentioned that Otskhanuri has a long preservation ability. The 1906-1919 old experimental wine is still kept in Sakare Testing collective departments (Enotheka). It is characterised as: having a dark color, soft bouquet and pleasant taste.
For table consumption grape, Otskanuri is not suitable. Its small berries are not popular. Also, it is suggested to make only grape juice from Otskhanuri.
There are no different varieties in this vine: although it was cultivated from nature, at present it belongs to the vine group.
GENERAL EVALUATION AND DISTRIBUTION BY DISTRICT
Otskhanuri is a local wine, with late harvesting ability. Mostly cultivated in upper Imereti where it is allocated approximately 1120 hectares.
It is mostly used for table red wine. Sometimes it is used to paint different white wines. Otskhanuri has an intensive color, tasty, harmonic and pleasant taste.
It is considered that among other Imeretian wines, Otskanuri is different by its color, harmony and durability against rot.
The negative aspect of the wine is its short period or late harvest and small harvestability in low land, which is why it should be more cultivated in high lands. The variety has good interaction with nature, also, with modern mechanism and care, it might become the best wine in Imereti.
Wines made from the same variety