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                                                       SAPERAVI

Saperavi is a traditional, widespread grape variety in Georgia; one of the best representatives in the world red wine assortment. Particularly, the high quality table red wine produced from Saperavi in its homeland in Kakheti, while the best strong and dessert wines are made from it in Crimea and Uzbekistan. 

In viticulture literature sources, and also among local viticulturists, Saperavi is known by many other names as this is very old variety and embodied in many variations. The scholars L. Jorjadze (7), S. Kvariani (14) and P. Averkini (8) have differentiated the real Saperavi: male, female, Budeshuri-like and Saperavi with small and large berries. 

The majority of the mentioned variations are saved and presented in the collective vineyards of the Institute of Viticulture and Enology. 

Saperavi is a Georgian grapevine. Realistic notes about the time and place of its genesis are unavailable. According to academician Iv. Javakhishvili (6), the agricultural history of Georgia is not attainable, and nothing prior to the 13th century has been found. However, there are indirect sources according to which the origin of Saperavi can be estimated. 

For this point, the biological characteristics should be an emphatically mentioned specific of Saperavi; only characteristic for Saperavi - and for no other Georgian varieties. This rich variety can be explained by the long period of domestication and cultivation in different natural conditions. Other evidence of Saperavi’s ancient origins is also its morphology – the thick web-like covering of the underside of its leaves, the dark, intensive coloring of its berries, and the domination of other parts. From the self-pollinated seeds of Saperavi, distinguished, brunched, and roundish graft can be generated. This fact inspired scientists such as Prof. A. Negruli (16) who stated that “some currently distributed varieties might represent the old form that is originated from a self-pollinating plant that was created several thousand years ago.” 

A similar conclusion was reached by Prof. Cholokashvili and Doc. N. Chakhnashvili (20) but through a different route, namely based on exploration of the flower types of the wild and domesticated grapevine varieties. According to them, “these varieties (Saperavi, Rkatsiteli and Chkapa) might be the prototypes of those varieties which are at a transitive stage between the wild and domesticated and are one of the ancient varieties.” 

According to old historians – Ksenofonte, Herodotus, Strabo and others, at the time of a dawn of Europe’s political life, viticulture and enology were widely developed in Georgia. All of these mentioned facts provide great possibilities for considering some currently cultivated varieties as ancient grapevine, or close relatives of ancient grapevines. 

It should also be noted that some ancient records and information about the origin of Saperavi, and especially those from foreign sources, are sometimes wrong and distorted. For example, a passage from a German journal “Weinlaube” says that Saperavi is recommended to Germany “as a variety of Greece and Crimea, distributed in the mountains of Kakheti.” 

Unfortunately, in the work of academician S. Korjinski (15) “The ampelography of Crimea,” the issue of Saperavi’s origin is not clarified. There is written: “Saperavi is a variety of Asia, wide spread in Caucasia; Guioni got it from Palestin. Maass and Piula got five different varieties by the name Saperavi from Caucasia, but the family variation.” Obviously, such statements are based on misunderstandings. 

We want to note that such mass cultivation of Saperavi in Kakheti, its Georgian name, the variety of forms and characterization of similar morphological and agricultural-technological features to many native varieties, are proof of Saperavi’s local origin and great age. 

According to academicien Iv. Javakhishvili (6), at first time Saperavi was cultivated in old Georgian province – Shavshet- Klarjeti, several centuries earlier than in Kartli, where it is first mentioned in written accounts of the 17th century. This is found in “Vakhtang VI’s “Dasturlamali” about the act of Ateni’s vineyards, but besides its name, there is nothing much written about it.” 

According to this, we must presume that Saperavi originated from the eastern coast of the Black Sea – from an old Kolkhetian family and was then transmitted to Eastern and south-eastern Georgia via Kartli, finally being established in Kakheti by the end of 17th century. This supposition is supported by the botanical characteristics of Saperavi by which it is closer to Kolkhetian varieties than that of the Alazani group. 

Saperavi has been distributed in neighboring republics. In Azerbaijan, mostly throughout the old Georgian province – Saingilo, where Saperavi and Rkatsiteli are currently cultivated on their original root, as high and low formations of vine. In Armenia, Saperavi is less distributed, mostly in adjacent districts of Alaverdi, Shamshadini and Ijevani. In Dagestan, Saperavi is spread throughout Sakheti, mostly in the Darubandi and Makhachkala districts. 

In Crimea, Saperavi is directly sent from Georgia. 80-100 vines were first spread in “Magarichi” in 1853. We think that the cultivation of Saperavi had to have happened earlier than this. Academician Iv. Javakhishvili (6) has noted case No1752, found in the archive of the King’s Governor by historian Iase Tsintsadze, from which can be clarified that in 1847 from Crimea to Georgia was sent gardeners I. Friki and S. Fedorovi to collect certain seeds and plants. They were ordered to describe Georgian vine varieties, fix their names and so forth. As is also mentioned, these persons returned in Yalta on 14 November 1847 with five large boxes of collected material.

It is possible that the very same I. Friki and S. Fedorovi first took Saperavi to Crimea in 1847. 1853 was acknowledged by G. Tsabeli to have been the time not of the first import but of its further distribution, when they would not plant 80-100 new (unfamiliar) vines. 

From Georgia and Crimea, Saperavi was gradually distributed in Russia, in other viticulture districts.

In the area that is now called Krasnodari, Saperavi is cultivated mostly in the districts of the Black Sea coast. Around the Done, Saperavi was firstly cultivated in the vineyards of Razdori Viticulture School, in Khutor Pukhliakovski, in approximately 1906.

In the central Asian republics, Saperavi was imported in 1860 together with European varieties.

Abroad, basically in France, Saperavi appeared after French Longeili, who lived in Kutaisi, systematically began to send Georgian vine varieties to France to the ampelograph Piula. For example, in 1868, Longeili sent 25 Imeretian grapevine varieties to Piula. Among the varieties sent were three different varieties of Rkatsiteli. In a newly sent group of grapevine varieties in 1875, two varieties of Saperavi were to be found, namely: “Saperavi of Kakheti” and “Saperavi Krikina.” In addition to Piula, Saperavi was cultivated by Giulon, Odari and others. In France, according to French ampelograph Odari, even in 1874 you could buy the grafts of Saperavi in Bordeaux at Chartons, in Monpelie – at Mares and also in Belgium – at Papeleux. 

The relatively wide distribution of Saperavi as much in the Soviet Union viticulture districts, as further afield was definitely related to its high agricultural-technological characteristics.

The director of Nikita Garden Hartvisi, G. Tsabeli, Odari, and others have praised Saperavi and evaluated it highly. For example, Odari by the use of an account by Hartvisi has written: “everything gives me the right to think that Saperavi is superior and the best over and among other varieties for making red wine; I can consciously and surely recommend trying it.”

Saperavi is presented in nearly all viticulture districts of the Soviet Union. The major massives are situated in Georgia, mostly in Kakheti and Kartli.

According to the 1940 complete description of vineyards, 2,737.6 hectare of vineyards was dedicated to Rkatsiteli in Georgia, while according to 1953 data this scope was defined as 2,540 ha. The vineyards of Rkatsiteli consist of 4.8% of the total vineyards in Georgia, while in Kakheti – 11 % (1,872 ha) (see Table 1).

In the past in Kakheti, before the appearance of phylloxera, a larger scope of land was dedicated to Saperavi that consisted about 25%. Saperavi is very susceptible to phylloxera and therefore by the influence of phylloxera it was degraded and decreased in scope while the vineyards of Rkatsiteli were gradually enlarged. In order to improve the situation, Saperavi should be cultivated by grafting on phylloxera resistant rootstocks.

Among the neighboring republics of Georgia, Saperavi is much more distributed in Azerbaijan, mostly in Kakhi, Zakatala, Shamkori, and Kirovabadi districts, at about 75 ha.

In Armenia, Saperavi is less cultivated- mostly in the north-eastern districts. From 1927, the wide cultivation of Saperavi started on the Soviet farm of Ararat. In Dagestan, Saperavi is mostly present in the Soviet and collective economies at about 33.6 ha, mostly in the Darubandi and Makhachkala districts.

Saperavi is the most spread in Crimea, taking 3% of the entire vineyard scope. On 1 January 1940, the land-scope dedicated to Saperavi consisted of 300 ha. The major massives of Saperavi are situated along the southern coast of Crimea. 

Among central Asian republics, Saperavi is mostly cultivated in Uzbekistan – in Orjonikidze, Kalinini, Upper Chirchiki, Iangi-Uli, Chipazi and Bulunguri districts. According to 1940 data, 255.2 ha in Uzbekistan were dedicated to Saperavi. Out of this, 147 ha were taken up by 10 Soviet economies of “Uzbeki-Wine”. In Kazakhistan, 61.3 ha are dedicated to Saperavi. In other central Asian republics, Saperavi is less distributed. 

In the “SFSR” of Russia, Saperavi can be found mostly in Orjonikidze and Krasnodari areas. Along the coast of the Black Sea, it is cultivated at about 156 ha, while in the remaining districts of this area its scope is defined as 20ha. Around the Done, Saperavi is less distributed, mostly in collective and experimental vineyards. Approximately the same scope is dedicated to Saperavi in Ukraine. Totally, in the Soviet Union Saperavi takes up 3600ha.

BOTANICAL DESCRIPTION

The botanical description of Saperavi was conducted in the experimental base of the The Institute of Viticulture and Enologyin the village of Vazisubani. The collective vineyard is cultivated on the slope of the Tsiv-Gombori Mountain, 556 m above sea level. The soil is humus-carbonate, consisting of a satisfying amount of  calcium carbonate (from 20% in A horizon, to 75% in C horizon). In mechanical structure, it is heavy, clay and quite integrated with the upper horizon. The vineyard is low, planted in 1926, formed by the two sided rule on a stake and wire. The feeding area of a vine is 2.15 m2, while the height of a body is 50-55 cm. The vine is grafted on Berlandieri X Riparia No.420a rootstock.

The young shoot. Young shoots are 15-20 cm long, with a crowned tip and two closed leaf-buds covered with felt-like down surrounded by white and bright pink lines. On the secondary leaves (3-4) the covering is less and the leaves become yellowish-green. On the underside leaves are more densely covered and have a grayish-white, slight pinkish tone.

The young shoot, when approaching the basis, loses its cover and becomes green.

The one year sprout. A developed one year sprout is quite thick (7.5 x 8.0mm) and has characteristic easily-breakable skin. In autumn, after the full ripening of a grape, the sprout turns reddish-pink. The distance between the axils is of the middle length (8-10cm), and is well-shaped and more thick and dark in the middle area. 

The leaf. The developed leaves of the middle row (9-12) are of an average size (22 x 20cm). Leaf blades are rounded, sometimes oval, bright green and quite rough and are most often three-lobed, rarely – five-lobed or lightly divided and nearly even.

The surface of a leaf is like a net, rarely with small bumps. The divisions of a leaf are wide and slightly splayed. Upper incisions are quite deep, or shallow, with the shape of a lyre or closed oval, having sharp basis.

Lower incisions are less expressed, commonly smaller or sometimes non-existent. Often, they have the shape of a gap or a lyre with parallel edges.

The shape of the petiole’s incisions can be open, similar to an arch, or elliptic and closed; more often it is narrow with sharp angles and similar to a lyre, while, rarely, closed incisions with oval eyes can be found. 

The major veins of a leaf often end with triangular or rounded teeth. The underside of the leaf surface is thickly covered, being felt-like or similar to a web, having hair and down. A leaf is bare or lightly covered on the top surface with web-like hair across the veins. The petiole of a leaf is slightly covered with web-like hair and thin bumps, generally it is shorter that the major vein, rarely equal. It is greenish, but sometimes reddish-wine colored.

The flower. Flowers are hermaphroditic with well-developed pistil and stamens. In a flower there are five stamens, rarely four or six. The stamens are slightly longer than the pistil – 1.0 - 1.2 proportionally or 1.5 and more. The nose is similar to a jug with a well shaped short column.

The bunch. The bunches of the Saperavi grape are of a medium size – from 13 to 21cm long and 7.5 - 12cm wide, commonly with the shape of a cone. Often, they are shallow while rarely quite dense. In a bunch there are about 100-120 berries. The average weight of a bunch comes to 140-160g in Kakheti. The length of a bunch’s petiole is between 4 and 6cm, on average 4-5cm, easily picked, similar to grass but solid at the end, like wood. The petiole of a bunch is narrow, longish (6 - 8mm) and smooth. Its pedicel is narrow with a cone shape or rarely wide, and is bright red. During the ripening of a grain, its petiole also becomes bright-red.

The grain. Grains are of a middle size, from 1.3 to 2.0cm long and 1.2 - 1.85cm wide. The average berry is commonly 1.6 x 1.45cm, oval, wider in the central part, while at the end – roundish. The berry of Saperavi is dark blue, nearly black, and is thickly covered with wax-like spots. It has thin but solid skin, its fruit is juicy, slightly solid around its seeds, and has a pleasant sweet taste.

The seed. In a berry are about one to four seeds. Of 1000 berries, 20% are berries with one seed, 56% - with two, 21 % - with three, and 3% - with four seeds. Hence, the average number of seeds in one berry equals 2.04. The body of a seed is roundish, narrowed toward the tip and lengthens. Seeds are around 7.0mm long and 4.0mm wide, bright brown and yellowish near the tip. Their bases are roundish and slightly deep, and have bumpy abdomens with well-depicted yellow veins. The length of a tip is 2mm, has a brown slightly orange color whilst over the underside surface, its tip is spotted and deviated toward the abdomen.

AGRO-BIOLOGICAL DESCRIPTION

The sequence of vegetative phases.

Observation was done in the collective vineyard of the Institute of Viticulture and Enology that is cultivated on Tsiv-Gombori slopes, in the village of Kurdgelauri, 562.3 m above sea level. The sequence of pheno-phases is related to the data of a neighboring meteorological station. According to the given research, Saperavi is a variety of middle ripening. It can ripen from the second half of September to the first half of October; the earliest ripening occurs in Uzbekistan at the end of August, while, for making strong and dessert wines, it is recommended to have it peak at the beginning of September. The sequence of the vegetative period and its phases are shown in Table 2.

tAs it is indicated in Table 2, the vegetation period for different districts is significantly diverse. It is longer in the northern districts than in southern situated vineyards. For example, in Ukraine, the vegetation period of Saperavi continues up to 172 days, while in central Asian republics – 138 days; 34 days fewer.

In the northern districts, the sum of a active temperature which is necessary for the full ripening of Saperavi berries, is defined as 3200o (in Novocherkassk - 3037o, in Odessa – 3290o) while in the southern districts it increases up to 3500o. 

According to this, the temperature sum should be considered important for the full ripening of varieties; when cultivating new vineyards this is easily determinable – for Saperavi totaling 3200 o on average. 

In Kakheti, one year sprouts are able to reach the full ripening 

period freely, and for the time of leaf fall, the sprouts ripen fully at 100-120 cm length.

Saperavi should be considered as a middle growing variety. In some areas where the climate and soil conditions are more suitable, it can grow more strongly for example, in central Asian republics, such as in the Krasnodar area, around the Done and so forth.

The productivity. As with other Georgian varieties, Saperavi provides its first sign of harvesting early, from the second year of planting, while from the third year it can reach nearly half of its full harvest capability. In the past, in every Prince’s land, vineyards of un-grafted vines of Saperavi in a 2x2 feeding area, produced 65-70 centner of grape. The largest amount of Saperavi production was characteristic for Mukuzani, followed by Tsinandali and Nafareuli. In some fertile soils, about 100-150 centner could be picked per ha, for example, in Chumlakhi and Kikianteuli vineyards – in Mukuzani and in Zurabaanteuli and Saniore vineyards – in Nafareuli.

In the same places, in the Soviet economies, vine productivity was relatively lower before applying optimal loading, apart from in the Soviet economies of Khirsi, Gurjaani and Kulari. This can be explained by the fact that the same vine was cultivated there for a hundred consecutive years, resulting in the exhaustion of the soils, and also in the increase of the feeding area without complementary agro activities.

In the recent period, critical agro-technical activities have been encouraged and the productivity has increased, more so than it was before the War.

To illustrate the agricultural characteristics of Saperavi, we present the data from the Soviet economies of Samtresti (see Table 3).

As Table 3 shows, Saperavi is very harvestable in Kakheti, as well as in other viticulture districts. In Crimea, Saperavi took the fourth place among 15 tasted varieties, while among red grapevine varieties – the second place. In Krasnodari area, the productivity of Saperavi can be from 35.2 (in Praskovei School) to 70 - 78.4 centners (in the Mikhako, Krasnodari area). 

According to Prof. G. Gogol-Ianovski (10), on the Soviet farm Abreu-Burso, the 1924 Saperavi was ranked as first by its harvest (118 centners) and exceeded the index of productivity even of such varieties as Aligote. In these economies, the average of 10 years consisted of 56 centners, while in 1951 it was 90 centners.

Saperavi is also highly productive in Azerbaijan. According to the Soviet farm, Trest of Azerbaijan, the five year average of Saperavi productivity was 70/92 centners in the Karaeri vineyard.

Saperavi is more harvestable in Dagestan. According to the regional viticulture station, in Dagestan the average productivity of three years was defined as 192 centners, while in the Kizlari district on the Soviet farm Proletari, the two year average was 140 centners.

In Armenia, in the Soviet economies of Ararattresti, the productivity of Saperavi- consisting of 20 - 22% sugar was defined as 100-110 centners, while on the collective farm of Mikoiani – 184 centners per hectare.

In Uzbekistan, on the soviet farm Uzbekistan-Wine the productivity of Saperavi came to 84 centners on average, while in particular vineyards – 145 centners. In other soviet economies (No.6, 7, 10 and in Bulunguri), there were 122-164 centners of grape picked per hectare.

In Kirgizstan, on the soviet farm Vasilevski, 68 centners of Saperavi grape could be harvested with a maximum of 105 centners. In Kazakhstan, on the soviet farm Isoki– 85 centners could be harvested, while in particular vineyards even – 124 centners per hectare were achieved. Saperavi is the most harvestable in the central Asian republics. In Uzbekistan, in the Experimental Station of Ak-kovaki, the viticulturist Rizamat Musa Mukhamedovi, could maintain about 230 centners of Saperavi grape production per hectare. Therefore, as the given information indicates, Saperavi is distinguished by its high productivity in nearly all viticulture districts and has taken first rank amongst local varieties. 

The fall of the flowers and small berries. Flower fall is a common phenomenon characteristic for all grapevine varieties, but for Saperavi it is particularly prevalent, depending on different factors like the district, age, climate and so forth. Below is data about the grain’s knot in different viticulture districts (see Table 4).

As Table 4 indicates, the knot of a berry can be from 24.3 to 45.65 %. A relatively lower knot is characteristic in Telavi, perhaps determined by the rootstock of Rupestri Dulo. 

According to this data, Saperavi can be classified as a grape variety with average ability of knotting.

Saperavi is not characterized by small berries; only in bad weather conditions can it generate 5-6% small berries. In order to maintain a normal level of flower fall and berry size, the shoots should be sharpened before blossom period or at the very beginning.

Durability against pests and diseases. Saperavi is characterized by high resistance to powdery mildew and dowry mildew. It is especially resilient to powdery mildew, more so than other grapevine varieties in Kakheti, for example – Rkatsiteli, Mtsvane, Khikhvi and Caberne. It is relatively sensitive to fungal diseases in Western Georgia, Dagestan and Crimea, while in the remaining viticulture regions it shows high resistance. 

Saperavi is quite weak against the influence of phylloxera nearly everywhere (in Georgia, Azerbaijan, Ukraine) and can be greatly damaged by it.

Saperavi is much stronger against frosts. As is known, its resistance to frosts depends on the varieties, land exposition, relief, one year sprout’s ability of ripening and their cultivation quality, on soil conditions and other factors. In its homeland, Kakheti, Saperavi is comparatively more sensitive to frosts than other leading industrial varieties such as Rkatsiteli and Mtsvane. In other viticulture districts, Saperavi is distinguished with a higher ability to endure frosts; in comparison with European varieties it has an honorable place. According to Prof. P. Bolgarevi, in the mountainous districts of Crimea, during the extremely cold winter of 1933-34 (when temperatures dropped to -19.8o), Saperavi took third place for its resistance. Also in Crimea, according to N. Khilkevichi, in the 1939-1940 winter, when the temperature fell to -27o, Saperavi was rated first among other varieties (with 26% injured buds). In Kirovabadi district (according to A. Gukasovi, 11), in Anapa, Darubandi and in the central European republics, Saperavi is very resistant to frosts. During experiments which were conducted by Prof. A. Negruli (16) and I. Kondo, the method was undertaken of artificially freezing the different grapevine varieties (during eight days, at -20o) and Saperavi took first place together with the most resistant varieties against frosts – Rislingi.

AGRO-TECHNICAL CHARACTERISTICS

Saperavi belongs to the typical grapevine varieties group. According to the ecological conditions where it is cultivated, it can be defined as the major branch of an industry. For example, in a temperate, warm climate, Saperavi- with its chemical consistency -is better used for making table red wine, while in cold districts it is mostly used in strong and dessert wine production.

The mechanical structure of grape. The mechanical and chemical composition of the Saperavi grape is variable according to the location and climate, time of harvest and other factors, but these characteristics are also the major determinants of a preferable industrial branch. Table 5 consists of data illustrating the mechanical composition of its grape in the different viticulture districts. 

The results of a chemical analysis provide the right to consider Saperavi a pure wine variety.

The chemical composition of its grape juice is quite different in particular districts and years. Data about the chemical characteristics of Saperavi’s grape juice in different regions and years is given in Table 6- showing that Saperavi is distinguished by good values in nearly all districts, containing the desirable proportion of sugar and acidity.

The use of grape and the characterization of its production. Saperavi is an outstanding wine varieties, providing the best material for all kind of wines. 

The necessary climate conditions for making high quality table wine from Saperavi are presented in Kakheti, while for dessert wine – in Uzbekistan. The red wines from Kakhetian Saperavi are very high quality and not inferior to the famous Bordeaux and Burgundy wines with their intensive dark pomegranate coloring, temperate strength, energy, completeness and cheerfulness; also by their original aroma and taste.

Such value has the dessert wine of Saperavi, also, which is produced in Uzbekistan. The brand wine Uzbekistani is really high quality and distinguished by its dark ruby-coloring, full, harmonious, pleasant consistency and original aroma and taste, having the aroma of black currant.

In Kakheti, the best red table wines are produced from Saperavi that is cultivated on the right bank of the Alazani on the Tsiv-Gombori slopes, mostly on humus-carbonate soils. They are similar to Burgundy wine, for example the wines of the upper Khodasheni, Tsinandali, Shashiani, Vazisubani, Akhasheni, Mukuzani, Gurjaani and others.

Relatively weak, full, harmonious wines of a Bordeaux type are made from Saperavi that is cultivated on the left bank of the Alazani – along the Caucasus Mountains, mostly in calcium-carbonate and iron- alluvian non-carbonate soils. They are the high quality red wines of Kvareli (Kindzmarauli), Nafareuli, Sabue, Artani (Sanavardo) and others.

The local Kakhetian type wine is very high quality, and rich in flesh. Complete red wines are produced from Saperavi in the Kardanakhi and Bakurtsikhe districts, mostly in brown and dark brown forest soils. These soils are not heavy in their mechanical structure, consisting of quite a large amount of calcium carbonate, iron, and lime (which are supporting attributes for the wine’s intensive coloring), completeness, body, harmony and aroma.

The distinguished values of Saperavi have been mentioned by famous viticulturists: Prof. K. Modebadze (2) described Saperavi wine as “intensively colored, full, pleasant; competitive with the best wines of France.” According to the leading viticulturist of Samtresti, Val. Kandelaki, “Kakhetian red wines are the best in the Soviet Union, with intensive coloring, completeness and- with age -are similar to Bordeaux and Burgundy wines.” Such high evaluations for Saperavi wines have also been expressed by enologists – Prof. M. Khovrenko (19), G. Gogol-Ianovski (10), M. Gerasimovi (9) and others.

Obviously, Saperavi- with its high organic nature and high quality characteristics -is one of the best red table wines in the world.

The taste features and a general description of its quality are given in Table 7 in passages from the official records of Degustation Commission meetings (see Table 7).

In addition to high organic characteristics, Saperavi is also interesting for the harmonious composition of its parts. Together with a high level of alcohol, it consists of quite a good amount of acidity, flesh and other components. To illustrate the chemical nature of Kakhetian Saperavi, data is given in Table 8.

Saperavi is very adaptable to its environment and is cultivated successfully in nearly all districts.

In Crimea, Saperavi is used for dessert and table wines, four major brand wines: 1) dessert wine “Aiu-Dagi” of Kagori type, consisting of 18-20% sugar and 16o spirit; 2) Kagroti from the industrial Trest of Kirimi; 3) red table wine “Masandra” and 4) red table wine “Saperavi.”

According to Prof. M. Khovrenko (13), in Crimea Saperavi gives a product which has encountered all conditions and characteristics for the making of a special type; a tender table wine either similar to Burgundy (in Kvareli) or Bordeaux (in Crimea and Oreadna). 

Saperavi has shown good results in Uzbekistan where it is applied for the best Kagori wine- Uzbekistani. It is famous for being a high quality dessert wine. In Moscow, at a Degustation Commission meeting on 5 August 1942, it was awarded 9.5 and 9.8 points. Saperavi also has good results in Ukraine. According to the oenologist N. Okhremenko, “the variety is characterized by high quality, sugar and harmonious mix of tenderness and flesh, while the nature of its wine is original and complete).

Around the Done, according to the information of the Institute of Viticulture and Enology of Russia, “Saperavi produces dark, full, harmonious, quite fleshy and cheerful wine.” The strength of Done’s Saperavi wine is 12-13%, while the acidity 5-7%.

In Azerbaijan and Armenia, Saperavi provides dark wine that is good but lacking completeness and harmony.

In Kazakhstan, Saperavi is used for making dry and dessert wines. The Saperavi table wine from the farm Isiki was awarded 7.3 and 7.5 points by a Degustation Commission in Moscow. Saperavi wine in Kazakhstan has a dark pomegranate color, flesh and original aroma, but as a table wine is quite heavy.

Saperavi wine that is cultivated in Kirgistan has better value. Here, high quality material was produced for Kagori, having the tone of black currant, strong aroma and harmony of components. At a Degustation Commission meeting, it was awarded with a high evaluation (9 points). Also, good dessert wine was produced in the following years with a dark ruby coloring, original aroma and tenderness. 

Variations and clones. Among Georgian grapevine varieties, Saperavi is distinguished with a rich variety of forms. From the variations that were known in the past, we have maintained the following forms of cultivating in the explorative vineyards of the Viticulture Institute:

1. Saperavi-Budeshuri. Saperavi with this name is first described in the villages around the Ivri in 1895 by S. Kvariani (12). This is distinguished from the common Saperavi by longer, sharper ended berries and much earlier ripening. This variation is interesting for its agricultural characteristics; it provides good yield, maintains an intensive coloring and a smaller body. This variation is still cultivated by scientist V. Loladze and, in the future, will be distributed in the Soviet economies and collective vineyards together with common Saperavi. This variation is more prospective for cultivation in cooler districts than Kakheti (such as in Ukraine, Moldova and the north Caucasus).

2. Didtanakvavilovani Saperavi. About three vines of this variation were first found in 1936 in land belonging to an institute, in the city of Telavi. In the following years, it was found in the villages of Nasomkhari, Beghanasfsha and Shashiani. This is a widespread variation, characterized by a huge branched flower about 38cm long, while its particular branches are 26cm long. The number of flowers in one receptacle sometimes comes to 15-20,000, or can equal 30,000 (while, in common, Saperavi is defined as having 500-600 flowers). The flower is hermaphroditic, generally with five stamens, or four. The length of a stamen’s thread in relation to the pistil’s height varies, often coming to 1.5 - 2.0 or more. By its agricultural nature this variation is uninteresting, as it is less productive, comes into blossom late; and is characterized by strong flower-fall and late ripening. The number of normal berries in one bunch is 85, while small berries without seeds make up 150. It is interesting for scientific reasons as it can be used in selection works. 

3. Mskhvilmartsvala Saperavi. This variation was revealed by scientist V. Loladze in 1932. It is distributed in experimental vineyards. It is different from the common Saperavi by the structure of bunches and the width of grain. The flower is hermaphroditic. By agricultural characteristics, it is inferior to real Saperavi. Its productivity is not more than 1kg per vine, while in 1945 this increased up to 2 kg. It has a high

 

concentration of sugar and proper level of acidity (23% - 8.2%),and good quality wine can be produced from it. It is necessary to investigate and examine this variation in such districts where common Saperavi is cultivated unsuccessfully, characterized by low quality and yield, in order to select a suitable place for it.

4. Kvavilmtsvivani Saperavi. This variation is distributed in the vineyards of the village Kvareli and is known by the name “Male Saperavi.” Its flower is hermaphroditic, while its receptacle is small. This form is characterized by flower-fall. In one bunch, 5 - 30 berries are generated, out of which 1/3 are normal while others are small or seedless. It is low harvesting and can bear 130-159g grape per vine. Over 10 years its productivity came to 1.5 - 2.0 kg only in 1945. It is interesting for selection as it is able to accumulate a great amount of sugar (28%), while maintaining an acidity level of 8%.

GENERAL EVALUATION AND DISTRIBUTION BY DISTRICT

Saperavi is a high quality vine of the third period of ripening. This is cultivated in nearly all viticulture districts of the Soviet Union, providing very high quality red table wine in Kakheti, while also fine dessert wine in Uzbekistan and Crimea.

By its agricultural and technological features, it is the best among red vine species of the world. It is distinguished by relatively high productivity, good adaptability to natural conditions and high quality wine. The best red vine species of the world, such as Caberne-Sauvignon and Black Pinot, are significantly less productive and not higher in wine quality. Saperavi wine of Kakhetian best places is truly competitive against the famous Caberne of Bordeaux and Pinot of Burgundy. 

The major value of Saperavi is the balance of its agricultural and technological characteristics that is embodied in its comparatively high productivity; good resistance to fungal diseases, frosts and other natural conditions and hazards; the high quality of its wine (it can be used for making nearly all kinds of wine: table, strong, dessert); and the fact that it has very strong agricultural features.

The negative aspect of Saperavi is its low resistance to phylloxera and also, in some locations, extensive flower shedding. Both weakness can be overcome by certain activities; firstly, by the planting of phylloxera-resistant grafts and, in relation to the second problem, by sharpening the shoot’s tips before or during the blossom period.

Such valuable agricultural characteristics are the reason for Saperavi’s wide distribution throughout the viticulture districts of the Soviet Union and there is a plan to cultivate it more widely. Nowadays, Saperavi vineyards taken up 3.600 ha land in the Soviet Union.

Saperavi is included in the standard assortment of the Soviet Union for nearly all regions and is soon to be spread in larger scopes. In Georgia, apart from in Kakheti, it should be increasingly cultivated in the south-eastern part of Kartli (in the districts of Tbilisi, Mtskheta, and Kaspi) and in the remaining districts of Kartli. It should be more distributed in Western Georgia, in Upper Imereti – in Zestafoni and Sachkhere districts, in Abkhazia – in Gudauti and Sokhumi districts and in Racha-Lechkhumi – in Ambrolauri and partly in Tsageri districts. The samples of Saperavi (from Saguramo, Mukhrani, Argveti, Gulripshi, Ambrolauri and others) have indicated and proved the necessity of Saperavi’s distribution in the mentioned districts. Moreover, better red wine species than Saperavi cannot be found these places.

Saperavi is also prospective for the southern, south-western and south-eastern regions of the Soviet Union, in order to get a profusion of production and the best wines. 

Saperavi is a traditional, widespread grape variety in Georgia; one of the best representatives in the world red wine assortment. Particularly, the high quality table red wine produced from Saperavi in its homeland in Kakheti, while the best strong and dessert wines are made from it in Crimea and Uzbekistan. 

In viticulture literature sources, and also among local viticulturists, Saperavi is known by many other names as this is very old variety and embodied in many variations. The scholars L. Jorjadze (7), S. Kvariani (14) and P. Averkini (8) have differentiated the real Saperavi: male, female, Budeshuri-like and Saperavi with small and large berries. 

The majority of the mentioned variations are saved and presented in the collective vineyards of the Institute of Viticulture and Enology. 

Saperavi is a Georgian grapevine. Realistic notes about the time and place of its genesis are unavailable. According to academician Iv. Javakhishvili (6), the agricultural history of Georgia is not attainable, and nothing prior to the 13th century has been found. However, there are indirect sources according to which the origin of Saperavi can be estimated. 

For this point, the biological characteristics should be an emphatically mentioned specific of Saperavi; only characteristic for Saperavi - and for no other Georgian varieties. This rich variety can be explained by the long period of domestication and cultivation in different natural conditions. Other evidence of Saperavi’s ancient origins is also its morphology – the thick web-like covering of the underside of its leaves, the dark, intensive coloring of its berries, and the domination of other parts. From the self-pollinated seeds of Saperavi, distinguished, brunched, and roundish graft can be generated. This fact inspired scientists such as Prof. A. Negruli (16) who stated that “some currently distributed varieties might represent the old form that is originated from a self-pollinating plant that was created several thousand years ago.” 

A similar conclusion was reached by Prof. Cholokashvili and Doc. N. Chakhnashvili (20) but through a different route, namely based on exploration of the flower types of the wild and domesticated grapevine varieties. According to them, “these varieties (Saperavi, Rkatsiteli and Chkapa) might be the prototypes of those varieties which are at a transitive stage between the wild and domesticated and are one of the ancient varieties.” 

According to old historians – Ksenofonte, Herodotus, Strabo and others, at the time of a dawn of Europe’s political life, viticulture and enology were widely developed in Georgia. All of these mentioned facts provide great possibilities for considering some currently cultivated varieties as ancient grapevine, or close relatives of ancient grapevines. 

It should also be noted that some ancient records and information about the origin of Saperavi, and especially those from foreign sources, are sometimes wrong and distorted. For example, a passage from a German journal “Weinlaube” says that Saperavi is recommended to Germany “as a variety of Greece and Crimea, distributed in the mountains of Kakheti.” 

Unfortunately, in the work of academician S. Korjinski (15) “The ampelography of Crimea,” the issue of Saperavi’s origin is not clarified. There is written: “Saperavi is a variety of Asia, wide spread in Caucasia; Guioni got it from Palestin. Maass and Piula got five different varieties by the name Saperavi from Caucasia, but the family variation.” Obviously, such statements are based on misunderstandings. 

We want to note that such mass cultivation of Saperavi in Kakheti, its Georgian name, the variety of forms and characterization of similar morphological and agricultural-technological features to many native varieties, are proof of Saperavi’s local origin and great age. 

According to academicien Iv. Javakhishvili (6), at first time Saperavi was cultivated in old Georgian province – Shavshet- Klarjeti, several centuries earlier than in Kartli, where it is first mentioned in written accounts of the 17th century. This is found in “Vakhtang VI’s “Dasturlamali” about the act of Ateni’s vineyards, but besides its name, there is nothing much written about it.” 

According to this, we must presume that Saperavi originated from the eastern coast of the Black Sea – from an old Kolkhetian family and was then transmitted to Eastern and south-eastern Georgia via Kartli, finally being established in Kakheti by the end of 17th century. This supposition is supported by the botanical characteristics of Saperavi by which it is closer to Kolkhetian varieties than that of the Alazani group. 

Saperavi has been distributed in neighboring republics. In Azerbaijan, mostly throughout the old Georgian province – Saingilo, where Saperavi and Rkatsiteli are currently cultivated on their original root, as high and low formations of vine. In Armenia, Saperavi is less distributed, mostly in adjacent districts of Alaverdi, Shamshadini and Ijevani. In Dagestan, Saperavi is spread throughout Sakheti, mostly in the Darubandi and Makhachkala districts. 

In Crimea, Saperavi is directly sent from Georgia. 80-100 vines were first spread in “Magarichi” in 1853. We think that the cultivation of Saperavi had to have happened earlier than this. Academician Iv. Javakhishvili (6) has noted case No1752, found in the archive of the King’s Governor by historian Iase Tsintsadze, from which can be clarified that in 1847 from Crimea to Georgia was sent gardeners I. Friki and S. Fedorovi to collect certain seeds and plants. They were ordered to describe Georgian vine varieties, 

Saperavi

Location:
Characterization:

                                                       SAPERAVI

Saperavi is a traditional, widespread grape variety in Georgia; one of the best representatives in the world red wine assortment. Particularly, the high quality table red wine produced from Saperavi in its homeland in Kakheti, while the best strong and dessert wines are made from it in Crimea and Uzbekistan. 

In viticulture literature sources, and also among local viticulturists, Saperavi is known by many other names as this is very old variety and embodied in many variations. The scholars L. Jorjadze (7), S. Kvariani (14) and P. Averkini (8) have differentiated the real Saperavi: male, female, Budeshuri-like and Saperavi with small and large berries. 

The majority of the mentioned variations are saved and presented in the collective vineyards of the Institute of Viticulture and Enology. 

Saperavi is a Georgian grapevine. Realistic notes about the time and place of its genesis are unavailable. According to academician Iv. Javakhishvili (6), the agricultural history of Georgia is not attainable, and nothing prior to the 13th century has been found. However, there are indirect sources according to which the origin of Saperavi can be estimated. 

For this point, the biological characteristics should be an emphatically mentioned specific of Saperavi; only characteristic for Saperavi - and for no other Georgian varieties. This rich variety can be explained by the long period of domestication and cultivation in different natural conditions. Other evidence of Saperavi’s ancient origins is also its morphology – the thick web-like covering of the underside of its leaves, the dark, intensive coloring of its berries, and the domination of other parts. From the self-pollinated seeds of Saperavi, distinguished, brunched, and roundish graft can be generated. This fact inspired scientists such as Prof. A. Negruli (16) who stated that “some currently distributed varieties might represent the old form that is originated from a self-pollinating plant that was created several thousand years ago.” 

A similar conclusion was reached by Prof. Cholokashvili and Doc. N. Chakhnashvili (20) but through a different route, namely based on exploration of the flower types of the wild and domesticated grapevine varieties. According to them, “these varieties (Saperavi, Rkatsiteli and Chkapa) might be the prototypes of those varieties which are at a transitive stage between the wild and domesticated and are one of the ancient varieties.” 

According to old historians – Ksenofonte, Herodotus, Strabo and others, at the time of a dawn of Europe’s political life, viticulture and enology were widely developed in Georgia. All of these mentioned facts provide great possibilities for considering some currently cultivated varieties as ancient grapevine, or close relatives of ancient grapevines. 

It should also be noted that some ancient records and information about the origin of Saperavi, and especially those from foreign sources, are sometimes wrong and distorted. For example, a passage from a German journal “Weinlaube” says that Saperavi is recommended to Germany “as a variety of Greece and Crimea, distributed in the mountains of Kakheti.” 

Unfortunately, in the work of academician S. Korjinski (15) “The ampelography of Crimea,” the issue of Saperavi’s origin is not clarified. There is written: “Saperavi is a variety of Asia, wide spread in Caucasia; Guioni got it from Palestin. Maass and Piula got five different varieties by the name Saperavi from Caucasia, but the family variation.” Obviously, such statements are based on misunderstandings. 

We want to note that such mass cultivation of Saperavi in Kakheti, its Georgian name, the variety of forms and characterization of similar morphological and agricultural-technological features to many native varieties, are proof of Saperavi’s local origin and great age. 

According to academicien Iv. Javakhishvili (6), at first time Saperavi was cultivated in old Georgian province – Shavshet- Klarjeti, several centuries earlier than in Kartli, where it is first mentioned in written accounts of the 17th century. This is found in “Vakhtang VI’s “Dasturlamali” about the act of Ateni’s vineyards, but besides its name, there is nothing much written about it.” 

According to this, we must presume that Saperavi originated from the eastern coast of the Black Sea – from an old Kolkhetian family and was then transmitted to Eastern and south-eastern Georgia via Kartli, finally being established in Kakheti by the end of 17th century. This supposition is supported by the botanical characteristics of Saperavi by which it is closer to Kolkhetian varieties than that of the Alazani group. 

Saperavi has been distributed in neighboring republics. In Azerbaijan, mostly throughout the old Georgian province – Saingilo, where Saperavi and Rkatsiteli are currently cultivated on their original root, as high and low formations of vine. In Armenia, Saperavi is less distributed, mostly in adjacent districts of Alaverdi, Shamshadini and Ijevani. In Dagestan, Saperavi is spread throughout Sakheti, mostly in the Darubandi and Makhachkala districts. 

In Crimea, Saperavi is directly sent from Georgia. 80-100 vines were first spread in “Magarichi” in 1853. We think that the cultivation of Saperavi had to have happened earlier than this. Academician Iv. Javakhishvili (6) has noted case No1752, found in the archive of the King’s Governor by historian Iase Tsintsadze, from which can be clarified that in 1847 from Crimea to Georgia was sent gardeners I. Friki and S. Fedorovi to collect certain seeds and plants. They were ordered to describe Georgian vine varieties, fix their names and so forth. As is also mentioned, these persons returned in Yalta on 14 November 1847 with five large boxes of collected material.

It is possible that the very same I. Friki and S. Fedorovi first took Saperavi to Crimea in 1847. 1853 was acknowledged by G. Tsabeli to have been the time not of the first import but of its further distribution, when they would not plant 80-100 new (unfamiliar) vines. 

From Georgia and Crimea, Saperavi was gradually distributed in Russia, in other viticulture districts.

In the area that is now called Krasnodari, Saperavi is cultivated mostly in the districts of the Black Sea coast. Around the Done, Saperavi was firstly cultivated in the vineyards of Razdori Viticulture School, in Khutor Pukhliakovski, in approximately 1906.

In the central Asian republics, Saperavi was imported in 1860 together with European varieties.

Abroad, basically in France, Saperavi appeared after French Longeili, who lived in Kutaisi, systematically began to send Georgian vine varieties to France to the ampelograph Piula. For example, in 1868, Longeili sent 25 Imeretian grapevine varieties to Piula. Among the varieties sent were three different varieties of Rkatsiteli. In a newly sent group of grapevine varieties in 1875, two varieties of Saperavi were to be found, namely: “Saperavi of Kakheti” and “Saperavi Krikina.” In addition to Piula, Saperavi was cultivated by Giulon, Odari and others. In France, according to French ampelograph Odari, even in 1874 you could buy the grafts of Saperavi in Bordeaux at Chartons, in Monpelie – at Mares and also in Belgium – at Papeleux. 

The relatively wide distribution of Saperavi as much in the Soviet Union viticulture districts, as further afield was definitely related to its high agricultural-technological characteristics.

The director of Nikita Garden Hartvisi, G. Tsabeli, Odari, and others have praised Saperavi and evaluated it highly. For example, Odari by the use of an account by Hartvisi has written: “everything gives me the right to think that Saperavi is superior and the best over and among other varieties for making red wine; I can consciously and surely recommend trying it.”

Saperavi is presented in nearly all viticulture districts of the Soviet Union. The major massives are situated in Georgia, mostly in Kakheti and Kartli.

According to the 1940 complete description of vineyards, 2,737.6 hectare of vineyards was dedicated to Rkatsiteli in Georgia, while according to 1953 data this scope was defined as 2,540 ha. The vineyards of Rkatsiteli consist of 4.8% of the total vineyards in Georgia, while in Kakheti – 11 % (1,872 ha) (see Table 1).

In the past in Kakheti, before the appearance of phylloxera, a larger scope of land was dedicated to Saperavi that consisted about 25%. Saperavi is very susceptible to phylloxera and therefore by the influence of phylloxera it was degraded and decreased in scope while the vineyards of Rkatsiteli were gradually enlarged. In order to improve the situation, Saperavi should be cultivated by grafting on phylloxera resistant rootstocks.

Among the neighboring republics of Georgia, Saperavi is much more distributed in Azerbaijan, mostly in Kakhi, Zakatala, Shamkori, and Kirovabadi districts, at about 75 ha.

In Armenia, Saperavi is less cultivated- mostly in the north-eastern districts. From 1927, the wide cultivation of Saperavi started on the Soviet farm of Ararat. In Dagestan, Saperavi is mostly present in the Soviet and collective economies at about 33.6 ha, mostly in the Darubandi and Makhachkala districts.

Saperavi is the most spread in Crimea, taking 3% of the entire vineyard scope. On 1 January 1940, the land-scope dedicated to Saperavi consisted of 300 ha. The major massives of Saperavi are situated along the southern coast of Crimea. 

Among central Asian republics, Saperavi is mostly cultivated in Uzbekistan – in Orjonikidze, Kalinini, Upper Chirchiki, Iangi-Uli, Chipazi and Bulunguri districts. According to 1940 data, 255.2 ha in Uzbekistan were dedicated to Saperavi. Out of this, 147 ha were taken up by 10 Soviet economies of “Uzbeki-Wine”. In Kazakhistan, 61.3 ha are dedicated to Saperavi. In other central Asian republics, Saperavi is less distributed. 

In the “SFSR” of Russia, Saperavi can be found mostly in Orjonikidze and Krasnodari areas. Along the coast of the Black Sea, it is cultivated at about 156 ha, while in the remaining districts of this area its scope is defined as 20ha. Around the Done, Saperavi is less distributed, mostly in collective and experimental vineyards. Approximately the same scope is dedicated to Saperavi in Ukraine. Totally, in the Soviet Union Saperavi takes up 3600ha.

BOTANICAL DESCRIPTION

The botanical description of Saperavi was conducted in the experimental base of the The Institute of Viticulture and Enologyin the village of Vazisubani. The collective vineyard is cultivated on the slope of the Tsiv-Gombori Mountain, 556 m above sea level. The soil is humus-carbonate, consisting of a satisfying amount of  calcium carbonate (from 20% in A horizon, to 75% in C horizon). In mechanical structure, it is heavy, clay and quite integrated with the upper horizon. The vineyard is low, planted in 1926, formed by the two sided rule on a stake and wire. The feeding area of a vine is 2.15 m2, while the height of a body is 50-55 cm. The vine is grafted on Berlandieri X Riparia No.420a rootstock.

The young shoot. Young shoots are 15-20 cm long, with a crowned tip and two closed leaf-buds covered with felt-like down surrounded by white and bright pink lines. On the secondary leaves (3-4) the covering is less and the leaves become yellowish-green. On the underside leaves are more densely covered and have a grayish-white, slight pinkish tone.

The young shoot, when approaching the basis, loses its cover and becomes green.

The one year sprout. A developed one year sprout is quite thick (7.5 x 8.0mm) and has characteristic easily-breakable skin. In autumn, after the full ripening of a grape, the sprout turns reddish-pink. The distance between the axils is of the middle length (8-10cm), and is well-shaped and more thick and dark in the middle area. 

The leaf. The developed leaves of the middle row (9-12) are of an average size (22 x 20cm). Leaf blades are rounded, sometimes oval, bright green and quite rough and are most often three-lobed, rarely – five-lobed or lightly divided and nearly even.

The surface of a leaf is like a net, rarely with small bumps. The divisions of a leaf are wide and slightly splayed. Upper incisions are quite deep, or shallow, with the shape of a lyre or closed oval, having sharp basis.

Lower incisions are less expressed, commonly smaller or sometimes non-existent. Often, they have the shape of a gap or a lyre with parallel edges.

The shape of the petiole’s incisions can be open, similar to an arch, or elliptic and closed; more often it is narrow with sharp angles and similar to a lyre, while, rarely, closed incisions with oval eyes can be found. 

The major veins of a leaf often end with triangular or rounded teeth. The underside of the leaf surface is thickly covered, being felt-like or similar to a web, having hair and down. A leaf is bare or lightly covered on the top surface with web-like hair across the veins. The petiole of a leaf is slightly covered with web-like hair and thin bumps, generally it is shorter that the major vein, rarely equal. It is greenish, but sometimes reddish-wine colored.

The flower. Flowers are hermaphroditic with well-developed pistil and stamens. In a flower there are five stamens, rarely four or six. The stamens are slightly longer than the pistil – 1.0 - 1.2 proportionally or 1.5 and more. The nose is similar to a jug with a well shaped short column.

The bunch. The bunches of the Saperavi grape are of a medium size – from 13 to 21cm long and 7.5 - 12cm wide, commonly with the shape of a cone. Often, they are shallow while rarely quite dense. In a bunch there are about 100-120 berries. The average weight of a bunch comes to 140-160g in Kakheti. The length of a bunch’s petiole is between 4 and 6cm, on average 4-5cm, easily picked, similar to grass but solid at the end, like wood. The petiole of a bunch is narrow, longish (6 - 8mm) and smooth. Its pedicel is narrow with a cone shape or rarely wide, and is bright red. During the ripening of a grain, its petiole also becomes bright-red.

The grain. Grains are of a middle size, from 1.3 to 2.0cm long and 1.2 - 1.85cm wide. The average berry is commonly 1.6 x 1.45cm, oval, wider in the central part, while at the end – roundish. The berry of Saperavi is dark blue, nearly black, and is thickly covered with wax-like spots. It has thin but solid skin, its fruit is juicy, slightly solid around its seeds, and has a pleasant sweet taste.

The seed. In a berry are about one to four seeds. Of 1000 berries, 20% are berries with one seed, 56% - with two, 21 % - with three, and 3% - with four seeds. Hence, the average number of seeds in one berry equals 2.04. The body of a seed is roundish, narrowed toward the tip and lengthens. Seeds are around 7.0mm long and 4.0mm wide, bright brown and yellowish near the tip. Their bases are roundish and slightly deep, and have bumpy abdomens with well-depicted yellow veins. The length of a tip is 2mm, has a brown slightly orange color whilst over the underside surface, its tip is spotted and deviated toward the abdomen.

AGRO-BIOLOGICAL DESCRIPTION

The sequence of vegetative phases.

Observation was done in the collective vineyard of the Institute of Viticulture and Enology that is cultivated on Tsiv-Gombori slopes, in the village of Kurdgelauri, 562.3 m above sea level. The sequence of pheno-phases is related to the data of a neighboring meteorological station. According to the given research, Saperavi is a variety of middle ripening. It can ripen from the second half of September to the first half of October; the earliest ripening occurs in Uzbekistan at the end of August, while, for making strong and dessert wines, it is recommended to have it peak at the beginning of September. The sequence of the vegetative period and its phases are shown in Table 2.

tAs it is indicated in Table 2, the vegetation period for different districts is significantly diverse. It is longer in the northern districts than in southern situated vineyards. For example, in Ukraine, the vegetation period of Saperavi continues up to 172 days, while in central Asian republics – 138 days; 34 days fewer.

In the northern districts, the sum of a active temperature which is necessary for the full ripening of Saperavi berries, is defined as 3200o (in Novocherkassk - 3037o, in Odessa – 3290o) while in the southern districts it increases up to 3500o. 

According to this, the temperature sum should be considered important for the full ripening of varieties; when cultivating new vineyards this is easily determinable – for Saperavi totaling 3200 o on average. 

In Kakheti, one year sprouts are able to reach the full ripening 

period freely, and for the time of leaf fall, the sprouts ripen fully at 100-120 cm length.

Saperavi should be considered as a middle growing variety. In some areas where the climate and soil conditions are more suitable, it can grow more strongly for example, in central Asian republics, such as in the Krasnodar area, around the Done and so forth.

The productivity. As with other Georgian varieties, Saperavi provides its first sign of harvesting early, from the second year of planting, while from the third year it can reach nearly half of its full harvest capability. In the past, in every Prince’s land, vineyards of un-grafted vines of Saperavi in a 2x2 feeding area, produced 65-70 centner of grape. The largest amount of Saperavi production was characteristic for Mukuzani, followed by Tsinandali and Nafareuli. In some fertile soils, about 100-150 centner could be picked per ha, for example, in Chumlakhi and Kikianteuli vineyards – in Mukuzani and in Zurabaanteuli and Saniore vineyards – in Nafareuli.

In the same places, in the Soviet economies, vine productivity was relatively lower before applying optimal loading, apart from in the Soviet economies of Khirsi, Gurjaani and Kulari. This can be explained by the fact that the same vine was cultivated there for a hundred consecutive years, resulting in the exhaustion of the soils, and also in the increase of the feeding area without complementary agro activities.

In the recent period, critical agro-technical activities have been encouraged and the productivity has increased, more so than it was before the War.

To illustrate the agricultural characteristics of Saperavi, we present the data from the Soviet economies of Samtresti (see Table 3).

As Table 3 shows, Saperavi is very harvestable in Kakheti, as well as in other viticulture districts. In Crimea, Saperavi took the fourth place among 15 tasted varieties, while among red grapevine varieties – the second place. In Krasnodari area, the productivity of Saperavi can be from 35.2 (in Praskovei School) to 70 - 78.4 centners (in the Mikhako, Krasnodari area). 

According to Prof. G. Gogol-Ianovski (10), on the Soviet farm Abreu-Burso, the 1924 Saperavi was ranked as first by its harvest (118 centners) and exceeded the index of productivity even of such varieties as Aligote. In these economies, the average of 10 years consisted of 56 centners, while in 1951 it was 90 centners.

Saperavi is also highly productive in Azerbaijan. According to the Soviet farm, Trest of Azerbaijan, the five year average of Saperavi productivity was 70/92 centners in the Karaeri vineyard.

Saperavi is more harvestable in Dagestan. According to the regional viticulture station, in Dagestan the average productivity of three years was defined as 192 centners, while in the Kizlari district on the Soviet farm Proletari, the two year average was 140 centners.

In Armenia, in the Soviet economies of Ararattresti, the productivity of Saperavi- consisting of 20 - 22% sugar was defined as 100-110 centners, while on the collective farm of Mikoiani – 184 centners per hectare.

In Uzbekistan, on the soviet farm Uzbekistan-Wine the productivity of Saperavi came to 84 centners on average, while in particular vineyards – 145 centners. In other soviet economies (No.6, 7, 10 and in Bulunguri), there were 122-164 centners of grape picked per hectare.

In Kirgizstan, on the soviet farm Vasilevski, 68 centners of Saperavi grape could be harvested with a maximum of 105 centners. In Kazakhstan, on the soviet farm Isoki– 85 centners could be harvested, while in particular vineyards even – 124 centners per hectare were achieved. Saperavi is the most harvestable in the central Asian republics. In Uzbekistan, in the Experimental Station of Ak-kovaki, the viticulturist Rizamat Musa Mukhamedovi, could maintain about 230 centners of Saperavi grape production per hectare. Therefore, as the given information indicates, Saperavi is distinguished by its high productivity in nearly all viticulture districts and has taken first rank amongst local varieties. 

The fall of the flowers and small berries. Flower fall is a common phenomenon characteristic for all grapevine varieties, but for Saperavi it is particularly prevalent, depending on different factors like the district, age, climate and so forth. Below is data about the grain’s knot in different viticulture districts (see Table 4).

As Table 4 indicates, the knot of a berry can be from 24.3 to 45.65 %. A relatively lower knot is characteristic in Telavi, perhaps determined by the rootstock of Rupestri Dulo. 

According to this data, Saperavi can be classified as a grape variety with average ability of knotting.

Saperavi is not characterized by small berries; only in bad weather conditions can it generate 5-6% small berries. In order to maintain a normal level of flower fall and berry size, the shoots should be sharpened before blossom period or at the very beginning.

Durability against pests and diseases. Saperavi is characterized by high resistance to powdery mildew and dowry mildew. It is especially resilient to powdery mildew, more so than other grapevine varieties in Kakheti, for example – Rkatsiteli, Mtsvane, Khikhvi and Caberne. It is relatively sensitive to fungal diseases in Western Georgia, Dagestan and Crimea, while in the remaining viticulture regions it shows high resistance. 

Saperavi is quite weak against the influence of phylloxera nearly everywhere (in Georgia, Azerbaijan, Ukraine) and can be greatly damaged by it.

Saperavi is much stronger against frosts. As is known, its resistance to frosts depends on the varieties, land exposition, relief, one year sprout’s ability of ripening and their cultivation quality, on soil conditions and other factors. In its homeland, Kakheti, Saperavi is comparatively more sensitive to frosts than other leading industrial varieties such as Rkatsiteli and Mtsvane. In other viticulture districts, Saperavi is distinguished with a higher ability to endure frosts; in comparison with European varieties it has an honorable place. According to Prof. P. Bolgarevi, in the mountainous districts of Crimea, during the extremely cold winter of 1933-34 (when temperatures dropped to -19.8o), Saperavi took third place for its resistance. Also in Crimea, according to N. Khilkevichi, in the 1939-1940 winter, when the temperature fell to -27o, Saperavi was rated first among other varieties (with 26% injured buds). In Kirovabadi district (according to A. Gukasovi, 11), in Anapa, Darubandi and in the central European republics, Saperavi is very resistant to frosts. During experiments which were conducted by Prof. A. Negruli (16) and I. Kondo, the method was undertaken of artificially freezing the different grapevine varieties (during eight days, at -20o) and Saperavi took first place together with the most resistant varieties against frosts – Rislingi.

AGRO-TECHNICAL CHARACTERISTICS

Saperavi belongs to the typical grapevine varieties group. According to the ecological conditions where it is cultivated, it can be defined as the major branch of an industry. For example, in a temperate, warm climate, Saperavi- with its chemical consistency -is better used for making table red wine, while in cold districts it is mostly used in strong and dessert wine production.

The mechanical structure of grape. The mechanical and chemical composition of the Saperavi grape is variable according to the location and climate, time of harvest and other factors, but these characteristics are also the major determinants of a preferable industrial branch. Table 5 consists of data illustrating the mechanical composition of its grape in the different viticulture districts. 

The results of a chemical analysis provide the right to consider Saperavi a pure wine variety.

The chemical composition of its grape juice is quite different in particular districts and years. Data about the chemical characteristics of Saperavi’s grape juice in different regions and years is given in Table 6- showing that Saperavi is distinguished by good values in nearly all districts, containing the desirable proportion of sugar and acidity.

The use of grape and the characterization of its production. Saperavi is an outstanding wine varieties, providing the best material for all kind of wines. 

The necessary climate conditions for making high quality table wine from Saperavi are presented in Kakheti, while for dessert wine – in Uzbekistan. The red wines from Kakhetian Saperavi are very high quality and not inferior to the famous Bordeaux and Burgundy wines with their intensive dark pomegranate coloring, temperate strength, energy, completeness and cheerfulness; also by their original aroma and taste.

Such value has the dessert wine of Saperavi, also, which is produced in Uzbekistan. The brand wine Uzbekistani is really high quality and distinguished by its dark ruby-coloring, full, harmonious, pleasant consistency and original aroma and taste, having the aroma of black currant.

In Kakheti, the best red table wines are produced from Saperavi that is cultivated on the right bank of the Alazani on the Tsiv-Gombori slopes, mostly on humus-carbonate soils. They are similar to Burgundy wine, for example the wines of the upper Khodasheni, Tsinandali, Shashiani, Vazisubani, Akhasheni, Mukuzani, Gurjaani and others.

Relatively weak, full, harmonious wines of a Bordeaux type are made from Saperavi that is cultivated on the left bank of the Alazani – along the Caucasus Mountains, mostly in calcium-carbonate and iron- alluvian non-carbonate soils. They are the high quality red wines of Kvareli (Kindzmarauli), Nafareuli, Sabue, Artani (Sanavardo) and others.

The local Kakhetian type wine is very high quality, and rich in flesh. Complete red wines are produced from Saperavi in the Kardanakhi and Bakurtsikhe districts, mostly in brown and dark brown forest soils. These soils are not heavy in their mechanical structure, consisting of quite a large amount of calcium carbonate, iron, and lime (which are supporting attributes for the wine’s intensive coloring), completeness, body, harmony and aroma.

The distinguished values of Saperavi have been mentioned by famous viticulturists: Prof. K. Modebadze (2) described Saperavi wine as “intensively colored, full, pleasant; competitive with the best wines of France.” According to the leading viticulturist of Samtresti, Val. Kandelaki, “Kakhetian red wines are the best in the Soviet Union, with intensive coloring, completeness and- with age -are similar to Bordeaux and Burgundy wines.” Such high evaluations for Saperavi wines have also been expressed by enologists – Prof. M. Khovrenko (19), G. Gogol-Ianovski (10), M. Gerasimovi (9) and others.

Obviously, Saperavi- with its high organic nature and high quality characteristics -is one of the best red table wines in the world.

The taste features and a general description of its quality are given in Table 7 in passages from the official records of Degustation Commission meetings (see Table 7).

In addition to high organic characteristics, Saperavi is also interesting for the harmonious composition of its parts. Together with a high level of alcohol, it consists of quite a good amount of acidity, flesh and other components. To illustrate the chemical nature of Kakhetian Saperavi, data is given in Table 8.

Saperavi is very adaptable to its environment and is cultivated successfully in nearly all districts.

In Crimea, Saperavi is used for dessert and table wines, four major brand wines: 1) dessert wine “Aiu-Dagi” of Kagori type, consisting of 18-20% sugar and 16o spirit; 2) Kagroti from the industrial Trest of Kirimi; 3) red table wine “Masandra” and 4) red table wine “Saperavi.”

According to Prof. M. Khovrenko (13), in Crimea Saperavi gives a product which has encountered all conditions and characteristics for the making of a special type; a tender table wine either similar to Burgundy (in Kvareli) or Bordeaux (in Crimea and Oreadna). 

Saperavi has shown good results in Uzbekistan where it is applied for the best Kagori wine- Uzbekistani. It is famous for being a high quality dessert wine. In Moscow, at a Degustation Commission meeting on 5 August 1942, it was awarded 9.5 and 9.8 points. Saperavi also has good results in Ukraine. According to the oenologist N. Okhremenko, “the variety is characterized by high quality, sugar and harmonious mix of tenderness and flesh, while the nature of its wine is original and complete).

Around the Done, according to the information of the Institute of Viticulture and Enology of Russia, “Saperavi produces dark, full, harmonious, quite fleshy and cheerful wine.” The strength of Done’s Saperavi wine is 12-13%, while the acidity 5-7%.

In Azerbaijan and Armenia, Saperavi provides dark wine that is good but lacking completeness and harmony.

In Kazakhstan, Saperavi is used for making dry and dessert wines. The Saperavi table wine from the farm Isiki was awarded 7.3 and 7.5 points by a Degustation Commission in Moscow. Saperavi wine in Kazakhstan has a dark pomegranate color, flesh and original aroma, but as a table wine is quite heavy.

Saperavi wine that is cultivated in Kirgistan has better value. Here, high quality material was produced for Kagori, having the tone of black currant, strong aroma and harmony of components. At a Degustation Commission meeting, it was awarded with a high evaluation (9 points). Also, good dessert wine was produced in the following years with a dark ruby coloring, original aroma and tenderness. 

Variations and clones. Among Georgian grapevine varieties, Saperavi is distinguished with a rich variety of forms. From the variations that were known in the past, we have maintained the following forms of cultivating in the explorative vineyards of the Viticulture Institute:

1. Saperavi-Budeshuri. Saperavi with this name is first described in the villages around the Ivri in 1895 by S. Kvariani (12). This is distinguished from the common Saperavi by longer, sharper ended berries and much earlier ripening. This variation is interesting for its agricultural characteristics; it provides good yield, maintains an intensive coloring and a smaller body. This variation is still cultivated by scientist V. Loladze and, in the future, will be distributed in the Soviet economies and collective vineyards together with common Saperavi. This variation is more prospective for cultivation in cooler districts than Kakheti (such as in Ukraine, Moldova and the north Caucasus).

2. Didtanakvavilovani Saperavi. About three vines of this variation were first found in 1936 in land belonging to an institute, in the city of Telavi. In the following years, it was found in the villages of Nasomkhari, Beghanasfsha and Shashiani. This is a widespread variation, characterized by a huge branched flower about 38cm long, while its particular branches are 26cm long. The number of flowers in one receptacle sometimes comes to 15-20,000, or can equal 30,000 (while, in common, Saperavi is defined as having 500-600 flowers). The flower is hermaphroditic, generally with five stamens, or four. The length of a stamen’s thread in relation to the pistil’s height varies, often coming to 1.5 - 2.0 or more. By its agricultural nature this variation is uninteresting, as it is less productive, comes into blossom late; and is characterized by strong flower-fall and late ripening. The number of normal berries in one bunch is 85, while small berries without seeds make up 150. It is interesting for scientific reasons as it can be used in selection works. 

3. Mskhvilmartsvala Saperavi. This variation was revealed by scientist V. Loladze in 1932. It is distributed in experimental vineyards. It is different from the common Saperavi by the structure of bunches and the width of grain. The flower is hermaphroditic. By agricultural characteristics, it is inferior to real Saperavi. Its productivity is not more than 1kg per vine, while in 1945 this increased up to 2 kg. It has a high

 

concentration of sugar and proper level of acidity (23% - 8.2%),and good quality wine can be produced from it. It is necessary to investigate and examine this variation in such districts where common Saperavi is cultivated unsuccessfully, characterized by low quality and yield, in order to select a suitable place for it.

4. Kvavilmtsvivani Saperavi. This variation is distributed in the vineyards of the village Kvareli and is known by the name “Male Saperavi.” Its flower is hermaphroditic, while its receptacle is small. This form is characterized by flower-fall. In one bunch, 5 - 30 berries are generated, out of which 1/3 are normal while others are small or seedless. It is low harvesting and can bear 130-159g grape per vine. Over 10 years its productivity came to 1.5 - 2.0 kg only in 1945. It is interesting for selection as it is able to accumulate a great amount of sugar (28%), while maintaining an acidity level of 8%.

GENERAL EVALUATION AND DISTRIBUTION BY DISTRICT

Saperavi is a high quality vine of the third period of ripening. This is cultivated in nearly all viticulture districts of the Soviet Union, providing very high quality red table wine in Kakheti, while also fine dessert wine in Uzbekistan and Crimea.

By its agricultural and technological features, it is the best among red vine species of the world. It is distinguished by relatively high productivity, good adaptability to natural conditions and high quality wine. The best red vine species of the world, such as Caberne-Sauvignon and Black Pinot, are significantly less productive and not higher in wine quality. Saperavi wine of Kakhetian best places is truly competitive against the famous Caberne of Bordeaux and Pinot of Burgundy. 

The major value of Saperavi is the balance of its agricultural and technological characteristics that is embodied in its comparatively high productivity; good resistance to fungal diseases, frosts and other natural conditions and hazards; the high quality of its wine (it can be used for making nearly all kinds of wine: table, strong, dessert); and the fact that it has very strong agricultural features.

The negative aspect of Saperavi is its low resistance to phylloxera and also, in some locations, extensive flower shedding. Both weakness can be overcome by certain activities; firstly, by the planting of phylloxera-resistant grafts and, in relation to the second problem, by sharpening the shoot’s tips before or during the blossom period.

Such valuable agricultural characteristics are the reason for Saperavi’s wide distribution throughout the viticulture districts of the Soviet Union and there is a plan to cultivate it more widely. Nowadays, Saperavi vineyards taken up 3.600 ha land in the Soviet Union.

Saperavi is included in the standard assortment of the Soviet Union for nearly all regions and is soon to be spread in larger scopes. In Georgia, apart from in Kakheti, it should be increasingly cultivated in the south-eastern part of Kartli (in the districts of Tbilisi, Mtskheta, and Kaspi) and in the remaining districts of Kartli. It should be more distributed in Western Georgia, in Upper Imereti – in Zestafoni and Sachkhere districts, in Abkhazia – in Gudauti and Sokhumi districts and in Racha-Lechkhumi – in Ambrolauri and partly in Tsageri districts. The samples of Saperavi (from Saguramo, Mukhrani, Argveti, Gulripshi, Ambrolauri and others) have indicated and proved the necessity of Saperavi’s distribution in the mentioned districts. Moreover, better red wine species than Saperavi cannot be found these places.

Saperavi is also prospective for the southern, south-western and south-eastern regions of the Soviet Union, in order to get a profusion of production and the best wines. 

Saperavi is a traditional, widespread grape variety in Georgia; one of the best representatives in the world red wine assortment. Particularly, the high quality table red wine produced from Saperavi in its homeland in Kakheti, while the best strong and dessert wines are made from it in Crimea and Uzbekistan. 

In viticulture literature sources, and also among local viticulturists, Saperavi is known by many other names as this is very old variety and embodied in many variations. The scholars L. Jorjadze (7), S. Kvariani (14) and P. Averkini (8) have differentiated the real Saperavi: male, female, Budeshuri-like and Saperavi with small and large berries. 

The majority of the mentioned variations are saved and presented in the collective vineyards of the Institute of Viticulture and Enology. 

Saperavi is a Georgian grapevine. Realistic notes about the time and place of its genesis are unavailable. According to academician Iv. Javakhishvili (6), the agricultural history of Georgia is not attainable, and nothing prior to the 13th century has been found. However, there are indirect sources according to which the origin of Saperavi can be estimated. 

For this point, the biological characteristics should be an emphatically mentioned specific of Saperavi; only characteristic for Saperavi - and for no other Georgian varieties. This rich variety can be explained by the long period of domestication and cultivation in different natural conditions. Other evidence of Saperavi’s ancient origins is also its morphology – the thick web-like covering of the underside of its leaves, the dark, intensive coloring of its berries, and the domination of other parts. From the self-pollinated seeds of Saperavi, distinguished, brunched, and roundish graft can be generated. This fact inspired scientists such as Prof. A. Negruli (16) who stated that “some currently distributed varieties might represent the old form that is originated from a self-pollinating plant that was created several thousand years ago.” 

A similar conclusion was reached by Prof. Cholokashvili and Doc. N. Chakhnashvili (20) but through a different route, namely based on exploration of the flower types of the wild and domesticated grapevine varieties. According to them, “these varieties (Saperavi, Rkatsiteli and Chkapa) might be the prototypes of those varieties which are at a transitive stage between the wild and domesticated and are one of the ancient varieties.” 

According to old historians – Ksenofonte, Herodotus, Strabo and others, at the time of a dawn of Europe’s political life, viticulture and enology were widely developed in Georgia. All of these mentioned facts provide great possibilities for considering some currently cultivated varieties as ancient grapevine, or close relatives of ancient grapevines. 

It should also be noted that some ancient records and information about the origin of Saperavi, and especially those from foreign sources, are sometimes wrong and distorted. For example, a passage from a German journal “Weinlaube” says that Saperavi is recommended to Germany “as a variety of Greece and Crimea, distributed in the mountains of Kakheti.” 

Unfortunately, in the work of academician S. Korjinski (15) “The ampelography of Crimea,” the issue of Saperavi’s origin is not clarified. There is written: “Saperavi is a variety of Asia, wide spread in Caucasia; Guioni got it from Palestin. Maass and Piula got five different varieties by the name Saperavi from Caucasia, but the family variation.” Obviously, such statements are based on misunderstandings. 

We want to note that such mass cultivation of Saperavi in Kakheti, its Georgian name, the variety of forms and characterization of similar morphological and agricultural-technological features to many native varieties, are proof of Saperavi’s local origin and great age. 

According to academicien Iv. Javakhishvili (6), at first time Saperavi was cultivated in old Georgian province – Shavshet- Klarjeti, several centuries earlier than in Kartli, where it is first mentioned in written accounts of the 17th century. This is found in “Vakhtang VI’s “Dasturlamali” about the act of Ateni’s vineyards, but besides its name, there is nothing much written about it.” 

According to this, we must presume that Saperavi originated from the eastern coast of the Black Sea – from an old Kolkhetian family and was then transmitted to Eastern and south-eastern Georgia via Kartli, finally being established in Kakheti by the end of 17th century. This supposition is supported by the botanical characteristics of Saperavi by which it is closer to Kolkhetian varieties than that of the Alazani group. 

Saperavi has been distributed in neighboring republics. In Azerbaijan, mostly throughout the old Georgian province – Saingilo, where Saperavi and Rkatsiteli are currently cultivated on their original root, as high and low formations of vine. In Armenia, Saperavi is less distributed, mostly in adjacent districts of Alaverdi, Shamshadini and Ijevani. In Dagestan, Saperavi is spread throughout Sakheti, mostly in the Darubandi and Makhachkala districts. 

In Crimea, Saperavi is directly sent from Georgia. 80-100 vines were first spread in “Magarichi” in 1853. We think that the cultivation of Saperavi had to have happened earlier than this. Academician Iv. Javakhishvili (6) has noted case No1752, found in the archive of the King’s Governor by historian Iase Tsintsadze, from which can be clarified that in 1847 from Crimea to Georgia was sent gardeners I. Friki and S. Fedorovi to collect certain seeds and plants. They were ordered to describe Georgian vine varieties, 

Wines made from the same variety