Wines made from the same variety
Kisi is a less distributed grapevine variety of Kakheti providing high quality table white wine.
Synonyms of Kisi among native viticulturists and written sources are unknown, only in some villages of Telavi district is it mistakenly called “Tsobenura (in the village of Kistauri) and Dampala (in the village of Khodasheni).
Kisi originates from a local family of domesticated grapevine varieties. By the botanical and agro-technical characteristics it is very close to the major white grape varieties of Kakheti and, together with them, should belong to the ecological-systematic group of Prol. pontica subprol. Georgica Negr.
It can be said that Kisi has taken the middle place between two major industrial varieties of Kakheti – Mtsvane and Rkatsiteli. For instance, by the general appearance of the vine, particularly the shape of the leaf blade, Kisi is similar to Rkatsiteli, while by the coloring of berries and strong original aroma it reminds one of Mtsvane as well as by other characteristics. All of these give reason to consider Kisi as a natural hybrid of Mtsvane and Rkatsiteli. By the quality of wine, Kisi is not inferior to Rkatsiteli and in some years can exceed even Mtsvane. The characteristic sensitivity to powdery mildew Kisi has might have been taken from Mtsvane. Therefore, by its morphological and agro-technical characteristics, Kisi is very close to the major industrial varieties of Kakheti and, together with them, must have originated from the local family of grapevine varieties.
Historical materials about its age are not available. Based on the botanical and agricultural characteristics, Kisi should be considered as a much younger variety than Rkatsiteli which, according to academician Iv. Javakhishvili (4) might have originated in the 5th or later centuries A.D. making Kisi an indigenous, younger grapevine than Rkatsiteli and also other varieties.
Currently, Kisi is distributed in Kakheti, mostly in Telavi and Gurjaani districts as a conglomeration together with Rkatsiteli and Mtsvane, rarely is it grown exclusively in its own vineyards. More frequently it can be found around the Telavi-Akhmeta line (in Ikalto, Ruispiri, Kistauri, Khodasheni, Akhmeta and so on). On the other side of the river Alazani it is cultivated in the villages of Maghrani, Babaneuri, Liliskuri, Fshaveli, Artana, Nafareuli and others. In Gurjaani district, Kisi can be found in Vazisubani, Bakurtsikhe, Kardanakhi, Kolaka, Vejishi and others, as single vines in the vineyards of Rkatsiteli and Mtsvane. The entire scope of Kisi is around several hectares. It was more widespread in the past.
As we understand, the invasion of phylloxera was connected with the great damage of vineyards and, as with other varieties Kisi was damaged almost to the point of extinction. It is also extremely vulnerable to powdery mildew- an additional reason for its limited distribution. However, the wine made from Kisi is particularly valuable and qualitative. Kisi, together with Khikhvi, Chitistvala and Mtsvane, has gained great merit in high valuable wine production.
After much investigation, Kisi has manifested as a high qualitative prospective varieties will be reproduced and assigned to the governmental commission of varieties for examination and introduction.
The botanical description of Kisi was conducted in the Experimental Collective of the Institute of Viticulture and Enology in the village of Vazisubani – in the collective vineyeards of Kakhetian vine varieties that were cultivated in 1928 on the north-eastern slopes of the Tsiv-Gombori Mountain, situated at 565m above sea level. The vineyard is formed on stake-wire following Georgian rule. Vines are grafted on Berlandieri X Riparia 420a.
The young shoot. The crown and first two not even fully opened leaf-bracts of the developing shoot (15 - 20cm) are intensively covered with web-like hair and are white with bordering pink lines. The leaves of the second row (from third) are less covered on the upper surface and are yellow, while on the underside they are the same – intensively covered and a bronzish white color.
The one year sprout. Completely developed one year sprout is yellowish-brown in autumn; the distance between its axils is 8 - 10cm; the axils are darker than the space between them.
The leaf. The leaves of the middle row (9-12) are of average size (18.5 x 18.0cm), roundish, slightly oval, dark green, mostly three-lobed or rarely five. Their surface is wrinkled like a web, rarely covered with small blisters. The blade of a leaf is similar to a funnel.
The upper incisions are superficial and not quite deep, with the shape of either an opened lyre or closed oval. More frequently can be seen incisions of a lyre shape with narrow throats and sharpened basis, rarely with parallel edges.
The underside incisions are less depicted, mostly superficial or quite non-existent, often with a gap shape.
The shape of petiole incision is less diverse, more frequently similar to the lyre with sharpened basis or similar to an arch.
The main veins of leaves are equipped with sharp triangular teeth. The lateral teeth are mostly similar to a saw, with roundish tips.
The underside of the leaf is intensively covered like a web and has middle sized felt-like down. The petiole is shorter than the major vein, or equal, and is lightly covered with a web-like surface and is bright green with a pinkish hue, mostly near to the basis.
The flower. The normally structured flower is hermaphroditic. In a flower are five, rarely six stamens, which are raised in a line. The length of a stamen’s thread to pistil is 1.25, rarely 1.50. The pistil is cone-shaped or similar to a bottle, often having a two-part nose and well depicted column.
The bunch. The bunch is of the middle size, 12 - 24 cm long and 5 - 12cm wide, on average 18x10cm. The shape of a bunch is not very diverse. More often it is similar to a cone or rarely – cylindrical-cone; sometimes bunches have a wing, about half of the bunch’s length. The berries are quite dense, rarely shallow or very dense. Small berries are not characteristic. The weight of a bunch can be from 80 to 450g, with the average being 120 - 160 g. The pedicel of a bunch is woody and bright green becoming brownish near to the basis. The pedicel of a berry is bright green, 0.6 - 0.8cm. The receptacle of a berry has the shape of wide cone; rarely a narrow cone.
The grain. Grains are middle sized, from 1.5 to 1.85cm long and from 1.45 to 1.63cm wide, with the average size – 1.75 x 1.54cm. They are oval, rarely can also meet roundish berries. In the middle is wide and has rounded end. the grain’s coloring is greenish yellow with grayish tone, covered with quite thick waxy spots, has thin skin and quite juicy fruit, pleasant taste, harmony and well expressed aroma.
The seed. In a berry are about 1-3 seeds, the average number of seeds is 1.3. It is yellowish-brown, longish and roundish, 7mm long and 3.5mm wide, has 2mm long and 1.0-1.2 wide beak. The basis is placed in the upper part of a seed, is oval and slightly deepens in the middle. Its stomach is rocky. Has quite deep veins parallel going to the beak and gradually disappear. The beak is cylindrical bright yellow with orange tone.
The vegetation period and course of phases. Observation was carried out in the collective vineyard of the Institute of Viticulture and Enology in the village of Kurdghelauri. In these ecological conditions, the vegetation phases of Kisi are placed between 125 - 153 days and the average of 11 years equals 142 days. The duration of the vegetation period is defined according to the sum of active temperatures, from 2647o to 3142o with the average – 2935o.
The sequence of vegetation phases is illustrated in Table 1.
As Table 1 indicates, the diversity of phases is most expressed in the first phase, while regarding other phases they are placed between 10 - 15 days; the difference of vegetation period being around 23 days. The time of full ripening in relation to different years is defined as 5th to 20 September, mostly starting from 10 September. According to given data, Kisi is specified as a variety of the second ripening period.
As the table indicates, in some years Kisi can ripen in 125 days when the sum of active temperatures is 2695o. It is recommended to cultivate Kisi to in cooler districts of Georgia and also in the southern districts of the Soviet Union as it is able to approach to its full ripening time during 142 days when the sum of temperatures is 3056 o.
In Kakheti, a one-year vine of Kisi freely approaches its ripening at the time of full grape-ripening. They can also be successfully cultivated in districts cooler than Telavi.
The growth of Kisi in comparison with other varieties (in the same ecological conditions) can be considered and evaluated as the average. So appear the vines of Kisi in Telavi and Vazisubani collective vineyards. As is known, in a suitable climate and with correct cultivation, the variety grows strongly and gives a large yield, for example in the Soviet farm of Khirsi.
The productivity. As other major grape varieties of Kakheti, Kisi gives its first sign of harvesting early. The observation conducted in the Telavi Collective Vineyard has shown that Kisi provides about 1/3 of its full harvest, while in the fourth year it maintained a normal yield; 96 bunches per 10 vines. Such early harvesting was shown in experimental vineyards in the third and fourth years from planting.
According to observation in the Experimental Vineyard of the Institute, Kisi is classified as middle-harvesting, less than Rkatsiteli and Mtsvane. The average productivity of Kisi in Telavi comes to 1 - 2.5kg, precisely 1.8kg; 58 centners per hectare. In Vazisubani, in more densely cultivated vineyards, the productivity of Kisi is 70.0 centners. To illustrate the characteristics of Kisi productivity, below is data according to which the coefficient of productivity is placed between 0.56 and 1.5; the average 1.2. Comparatively less diverse is the common weight of grain, equaling 120-160g. Therefore, the productivity of one vine per 20 sprouts equals 2360g. For more detailed characterization below is the data from Telavi and Vazisubani (see Table 2).
As Table 2 shows, Kisi is able to generating quite a large number of productive sprouts (85 - 90%) and is characterized by a relatively low coefficient of harvesting. The number of sprouts with two bunches is twice lower than those with one bunch and only rarely can sprouts be found with three bunches. Based on this calculation, the productivity of Kisi in Telavi is 76 – 86 centners per hectare, while in Vazisubani 102 centners. This difference can be explained by the density of vines in Vazisubani.
If we take into account that the calculated number is always higher than the actual then the average harvesting of Kisi will become 60-80 centners per hectare. It should also be noted that in the Soviet farm of Khirsi, in more fertile soils, Kisi is characterized with higher productivity, by the coefficient 1.6; consisting of well-developed bunches of 38-40; weighing 5 - 6kg. The productivity of the varieties is dependent on the feeding area of the vines, their form, and their cultivation. Of two possible options, Kisi has shown better results when the feeding area is 2.15m2, with double cordon forming, than when it is on 3.0m2 feeding area, because, in Telavi, as the land is very fertile, such could not be applied to the whole given area. For example, according to 1948 recordings by the Institute of Viticulture, in its experimental vineyards the cutting of vines was produced by two hangers in 65%, while in 35 % - by one. The loading was defined by 15.3 sprouts. In a large feeding area (3.0m2) such light loading was related to a higher number of unproductive shoots, about 45%, so resulting in a decrease in the coefficient of harvest up to 0.72, whereas in the case of productive sprouts it was 1.32.
As a result, the following agricultural rules and activities can be defined which are important for the improvement of grape production:
1. Less declined slopes should be selected, with fertile and strong soils to cultivate new vineyards;
2. The major form of vine formation should be chosen: a two-sided cordon or short cordon with a 1.5 x 1.5m2 feeding area. Generally, the feeding area has to be calculated in consideration of the climate and soil conditions, while the loading of the vine should be calculated to the strength of its growth.
3. Kisi is sensitive to the fertility of its soil and requires systematic fertilizing with organic and mineral fertilizers.
4. Finally, as it known, Kisi is quite vulnerable to fungal diseases, against which it requires additional administering of a fungicide as well as proper cultivation.
Durability against fungal diseases and winter frosts. After long term observation in Vazisubani and Telavi, Kisi has shown its relatively high resistance to downy mildew, while against powdery mildew it is more vulnerable. In these, Kisi is closest in character to Mtsvane and requires the additional administering of a fungicide.
Kisi is much stronger against frosts. The buds of Kisi did not get damaged by the influence of the harsh winter of 1935, when the absolute minimum in Telavi decreased to -16.5o (10 January) while on some days it was -14.5o. Also, the winter frosts did not cause significant damage in 1936, when the temperature was -17o and -16o; only 6% of the buds of Kisi, when the damage to Rkatsiteli buds totaled 4.8%. In the same conditions, the western European and the middle Asian vine varieties demonstrated greater negative impact from frosts.
Kisi is more resistant to drought in comparison with other varieties. But in some rainy years it is considerably damaged by rot, especially in lowland areas.
Mechanical structure of bunch and juice. The appearance of the bunches and berries, their mechanical constitution and the chemical composition of the grape juice characterize the grape of Kisi as being useful for making table wine. Actually, Kisi provides high quality table wine by both European and Kakhetian methods. To illustrate this, below are the results of the Kisi grape mechanical analysis (see Table 3).
As Table 3 indicates, in a laboratorial environment Kisi is able to provide a good outcome of juice, from 75.9% to 77.8%; the average being 77%. In semi-industrial conditions, it offers a lower outcome of juice –76% on average -and 24% pomace. According to this, Kisi belongs to a wine variety.
The chemical structure of juice. Kisi is able to accumulate a high level of sugar and acidity. The proportion of sugar and acidity underlines its usefulness for making high quality wines. According to long observation, Kisi accumulates about 20 - 24% sugar and 6.6 - 10.8% acidity.
To characterize the difference in sugar-acidity concentration in relation to different years and meteorological conditions, below is given 11 years data consisting of the results of the chemical analysis of Kisi grape juice (see Table 4)
As Table 4 illustrates, Kisi is able to accumulate a great amount of sugar and the given data is not limiting. If we look at the harvest periods of Kisi, it mostly takes place on September 10 - 20, yet in Kakheti it took place from 15 September to 15 October; from which we understand that even two weeks would be crucial for improving the sugar and acidity consistency that are so valuable in strong and dessert wines production.
The data about sugar-acidity distribution is a reliable indicator in the consideration that Kisi is a wine variety, sufficient for high quality wine.
Use of grape and quality of wine. From the grape of Kisi is made table wine both alone and together with other varieties. Pure Kisi wine is always valuable. High quality wines of the villages Akhmeta, Kistauri, Ruispiri and Ikalto were produced from Mtsvane, Kisi, Khikhvi- sometimes separately, while more often mixed with Rkatsiteli. In the past, Kisi was used for making a Kakhetian type good quality wine, but nowadays it is less distributed and consequently rarely used alone, but in a mixture for making wine. The data of many years research and observation by the Institute of Viticulture and Enology proves the value and quality of Kisi that is manifested in wine made as much by European as by Kakhetian method.
The wine of Kisi is quite superb: it is clear; by European method is yellow straw-colored with a golden hue; has a well-expressed aroma: and is tender and pleasant, while the taste is full and harmonious. By Kakhetian method it is more valuable; dark straw-colored, with a characteristic pleasant fruit aroma: a tender, full, contentious wine, having a harmonious, velvety taste: this is the etalon of wine.
The wine of Kisi always received high appreciation and acknowledgment at degustation commissions. To characterize the organic nature of Kisi wine below is presented a passage from the minutes of the Degustation Commission meetings handled by the Institute of Viticulture and Enology (see Table 5).
According to the Degustation Commission, Kisi is rated as a high quality grapevine. It is valuable not only in table wines production but also for producing grape juice as well as table grape. Kisi is prospective also for making naturally semi-sweet, strong and dessert wines. As a rule, it is able to accumulate up to 26% sugar easily and more; it has a strong original aroma characteristic to the varieties.
To characterize the chemical nature of Kisi wine, below are given the results of the chemical analysis from Telavi and Vazisubani, made by European and Kakhetian methods (see Table 6).
The presented descriptions demonstrated that Kisi is definitely a high-quality grapevine variety, first of all for making table and dessert wines.
GENERAL EVALUATION AND DISTRIBUTION BY DISTRICT
Kisi is a less distributed but prospective grapevine variety, providing high quality table white wine, as well as superb grape juice; and it is also used for local table grape. Kisi is prospective for making naturally semi-sweet, strong and dessert wines.
The wine of Kisi is bright straw-colored with a golden tone, having a pleasant aroma and tenderness, and a harmonious taste. The Kakhetian type wine of Kisi is dark tea-colored, with a stronger aroma and more perfect taste than that of the European type.
The positive attributes of Kisi wine are: high quality, suitability for both Kakhetian and for European semi-sweet and dessert type wines, and also its suitability for table grape and juice. Of negative properties can be specified the lower-than-average productivity, and its weakness against powdery mildew and black rot especially in rainy weather. These negative attributes can easily be overcome by the proper formation of vines and the timely cultivation of vineyards by advanced methods and working activities. Against fungal diseases, additional fungicide should be administered during periods more sensitive for the spread of disease.
We have detected Kisi as a prospective varietiy that has been cultivated since 1955 for investigative reasons and is also assigned to the governmental commission to be included in the standard assortment of districts. In addition, the varieties should be examined in the viticulture districts of Kakheti and Kartli in order to be spread more widely in there.
Kisi, due to its relatively early ripening, is prospective for cultivation in cooler districts where the local grapevine varieties are not able to fully ripening during a year. Kisi is also prospective for the southern and south-eastern viticulture districts of the Soviet Union.
Wines made from the same variety