Wines made from the same variety
Khikhvi is a local less-spread standardized variety of vine providing high quality table white wine, and, in some micro-districts, good quality dessert wine.
There is no available information about the origin of the name in literature sources. In Telavi and Akhmeta districts in Kakheti, the vine is called “Jananura” after the village Janaani, but in Gurjaani and Signaghi it is called Khikhvi. The vine was tested in the Vazisubani collective plot and compared with vines from Ruispire (Telavi district) and Kardanakhi (Gurjaani district). In foreign ampeolography, Khikhvi is described and shortly characterized by name Khikva (Mtsvane).
Based on its morphological signs and data of character – down on the bottom part of the leaf, round berry and agro-biological characterization – the vine originates from the local area. Khikhvi-according to its morphological and agricultural features- Prol. pontica subprol. Georgica Negr. (15) -belongs to the ecological-geographical group of vine varieties.
In Georgia, the vine originated from Kolkheti and Alazani valleys and the two differ from each other in their morphological and agricultural features. The Kolkheti vine has rounded berry and its leaves, on the undersides, have small blisters covered by thin web-like hairy down. The Alazani vine is either slightly downy or bare and has an average or large oval bunch.
It is impressive that Khikhvi and its similar names are known in other parts of Georgia: in Kakheti – Khikvi; Racha – Khikhva; Letchkhumi – Khikhvi; Samegrelo – Khemkhu; and in Guria – Khemso. The full botanical description is found about Kakheti, Racha and Lechkhumi Khikhvi, according to which it is downy-leaved, round, white-grained and whose varieties are extremely different from each other. The subject of debate is the origin of Khemso and Khemkhu, as such has not yet been discovered and nothing is known about their botanical description. According to Iv. Javakhishvili (7), with regards to Khikhvi, Lhilhva, Khemkhu, Khemso, the phonetical change of name is a result of the time period (in which century it was given); further information to help scientists to make any conclusion does not exist.
It is acceptable to assume that Khikhvi was related to Georgian vines, but had a different rootstock. Over time it was spread in other regions of Georgia, but saved its name of origin. It is possible that other varieties of vines appeared from Khikhvi.
The definition of age is difficult, as there are no agricultural-historical sources. In this case Iv. Javakhishvili, in order to define the age, relies on the analysis of the name. The study of the formation and changes of names could be helpful in defining the age. Based on this idea, Iv. Javakhishvili believes that, in origin, Khikhvi is an older vine than Rkatsiteli and begins from 5 AD.
Before fungal diseases and phylloxera appeared, Khikhvi was widely spread in Kakheti. In Akhmeta, Ruispiri, Ikalto, Bakurtsikhe, Kolaga and other areas, Khikhvi was considered as a high quality wine. It was found on both its own rootstock and mixed with Mtsvane or Rkatsiteli.
Its durability against oidium is low and, if necessary actions are not taken - such as treatments with sulphur to protect the vine from oidium diseases, –the entire harvest can be lost. Evidence was shown by scientist V. Geevski and G. Shareri (10) – “The second provided the strongest harvest, (but) because of oidium diseases, Khkhvi became completely extinct. It had a very sweet grain, a soft table-wine taste and ripened earlier than other vines.
At present, Khikhvi is cultivated either on it own rootstock on Samtrest Soviet farm, or mixed with Mtsvane or Rkatsiteli on the collective plot.
Based on the 1940 statistics, Khikhvi is spread mostly in Kakheti – in Terjola, Gurjaani, Akhmeta, Sigmaghi, and Kvareli districts, covering approximately 16 hectares. More specific details about Khikhvi are shown below (Table 1).
As is shown from the table, in 1953 Khikhvi was spread only on 57.5 hectares, mainly on Kakheti and Meskheti Soviet farms. As a mixture, it was never cultivated in collective vineyards. The largest amount of mixed Khikhvi could be found Telavi, Gurjaani, Sagarejo and Akhmeta districts. On Ruispiri farm there is “Kurdjen - Tavtavi” where 1/3 of Khikhvi is mixed with Rkatsiteli. In Racha-Lechkhumi Khikhvi is cultivated on 1.93 hectares. In other vineyard districts of the Soviet Union, Khikhvi is less cultivated. It can be found in the Institutes of Viticulture and Enology of Ukraine, Daghestan, Moldova and Uzbekistan testing stations. In Georgia, for the better development of vineyards and quality viticulture, a thorough testing was carried out of all Georgian vine varieties in terms of consistency and value, including historically well known and famous vines which were destroyed for various reasons (ie due to small harvest, lack of durability against fungal diseases and so on) were added to the regional list for future development and recovery. The same happened to Khikhvi.
In a short time, Khikhvi will be cultivated on 200 hectares. The use of modern technology will promote Khkhvi’s best features.
The botanical description of Rkatsiteli was made in the testing station of the Institute of Viticulture and Enology of the village of Vazisubani (Gurjaani district). The vineyard is cultivated on a lightly declining slope of the Tsiv-Gombori Mountain at 565m above sea level.
The young shoot. The tip of the young developing shoot is, along with the crown and two leaf buds, covered with quite thick web-like hair which is white with a slightly greyish color. The leaves of the 4th and 5th rows are relatively less covered, especially on the topsides. These leaves are greenish-yellow and bright reddish in color, while on the lower part are silver-white with a pink hue.
The one year sprout. One year sprouts are a yellowish color with a brown hue during the autumn which, from a distance, looks more greyish-brown. The distance between the axils is about 8 - 10cm. The axils are darker than the spaces between them.
The leaf. The leaves of a middle row (9 - 12) are round, larger than medium size (26 x 26cm), while the lower row leaves are longer and oval. Most commonly, three-lobed leaves are found, rarely, five-lobed. The blade of a leaf is web-like, sometimes taking the shape of a funnel. The lower row leaves are balloon-like. The incisions of the leaf are sloped which gives the leaf a cup-like shape (typical for vine).
The upper incisions areas are often of a middle depth. The deep incisions are closed and oval, while the shallow incisions are open. Most often, lyre-shaped incisions of average depth can be found, more rarely –incisions with parallel sides.
Lower incisions are less developed and shallower. In shape they are similar to gaps with parallel sides or like a sharply cut angle. Sometimes incisions are not depicted at all.
The incision of a petiole is deep, lyre-like or like a stretched arrow, with a basis that is often sharp or roundish.
The end tooth of the major veins of leaves is often triangular and has a sharp tip. Lateral teeth are triangular and like saw teeth and are sharp on one side.
The underside of leaves is covered with thick web-like hairs across the veins and bumps; more intensively on the leaves of the lower row. When touched, the web-like hairs become similar to waxy flakes.
Generally, the leaf petioles are lower than the major vein, rarely equal, and are covered with a red wine colored surface and green lines.
The flower. The flower has a normal construction, is hermaphroditic, and has well developed stamens and pistil. There are often five, or rarely six stamens. The length of stamens’ thread in relation to the height of the pistil is 1.0 and rarely 1.25 or 1.5. The pistil is cone-shaped, having a well developed column and nose, and sometimes deviates to one side.
The bunch. The bunches of Khikhvi are less then medium size, from 12 to 16 cm long and from 6 to 8 cm wide. The size of a medium bunch is 13 x 8cm while the length of a well developed bunch is 16.5 x 8cm. They are mostly cylindrical-cone and cylindrical, though rarely cone shaped bunches can be found. The length of a bunch’s wing is often 1/2 of the bunch’s size. Sometimes it begins from the bunch’s pedicel and is characterized with two sides. Most commonly, bunches are quite dense, rarely being very dense or thin. The number of berries in a bunch is 60 - 160, on average 70. 2/3 of berries in a bunch are thick, the rest thin or medium. The average weight of a bunch is 80 - 200g, while of very dense bunches is 100-120g. The pedicel of a bunch is green and is 3 - 5cm long. The receptacle is wide cone-shaped.
The grain. The majority of berries are of a medium size; from 1.4 to 1.8 cm long and from 1.35 to 1.76 cm wide. The length of large berries is 1.60 x 1.55cm. Grains are oval, having a wider middle and round end. Grains are a green-yellow color.
The skin of berry is thin and firm, covered in wax-like middle-sized spots. The fruit is fleshy and juicy, the juice being clear, the taste – pleasant and harmonious, while the original aroma is very significant.
The seed. The number of seeds in one berry is between one and three. About 1.6 seeds are found in an average grain.
The body of the seed is round-oval; gradually narrowing to the tip, and is about 7 - 8 mm long and 5 - 6mm wide. Its kalaza is placed in the center, and is convex and oval shaped. The outer line of its body is narrow and deep. The line from the basis to the tip is well depicted. The inside part is bumpy, having deep parallel lines.
The sequence of the vegetation phases. Layered observation of the vegetative period and its particular phases was conducted in the collective vineyards of the Institute of Viticulture and Enology in Kurdgelauri village. The data about vegetative periods is given in Table 2.
As shown in Table 2, the duration of the vegetation period depends on annual meteorological conditions. The less sediment produced during reproduction and vegetation periods, the shorter the period and smaller the sum of active temperature. According to the duration of the vegetation period and the date of full ripening, Khikhvi belongs to the second period ripening varieties. Khikhvi ripes 9 - 10 days earlier than Rkatsiteli, so it cannot be considered as an active temperature vine.
According to these materials, Khikhvi was brought from Meskheti district for testing purposes. In Zikiliashi village of Akhaltsikhe district the grape ripened so much in 1946, that it was considered as a semi-sweet grape. Based on this, Khikhvi belongs to the standard assortment of Meskheti district and Tsriokhi Soviet farm where it is cultivated on 9 hectares (Akhaltsikhe district).
Among Kakhetian vines, Khikhvi unquestionably ripens the earliest. The issue of its ripeness in northern and high land viticulture regions is uninteresting; for example, Khikhvi in Odessa district- Ukraine -ripens satisfactorily. The same can be said of the Akhaltsikhe district. Based on observation, the one meter height of the vine ripens completely.
In Kakhetian conditions, the growth of Khikhvi is average in comparison with Ukrainian (Odessa district) conditions, where it is characterized by a higher speed of growth than other species.
The productivity. As with the majority of Georgian grapevine varieties, Khikhvi produces its first harvest from the second year after planting. Half harvesting happens from the third year, while from the fourth year it gives full productivity.
The harvest of Khikhvi is less then average. It requires better care and extra pesticide against oidium and fungal disease. According V. Geevski and G. Sharer (10) “The second provided the strongest harvest, (but) because of oidium diseases, Khkhvi became completely extinct.” Khikhvi was a very harvestable grapevine before the diseases. Although the quality of care has improved against diseases and modern mechanisms are used, it still provides small yields, which can be explained by violation of the treatment (fungicide/pesticide) period. The vine is more sensitive to environmental conditions- becoming softer and requiring specific care-treatment. The productivity of Khikhvi is shown below (see Table 3).
As is shown in Table 3, the productivity of Khikhvi on Soviet farms increases annually, as does productivity on different farms mixed with Rkatsiteli. For example, on Tsinandali and Kardanakhi Soviet farms, the harvest of Khikhvi is lower when compared with Rkatsiteli; on Mukuzani and Algeti Soviet farms, the average productivity of Khikhvi and Rkatsiteli is equal; on Kvareli and Telavi Soviet farms the productivity of Khikhvi is slightly higher than Rkatsiteli. The highest harvest of Khikvi was received from Khirsi Soviet farm, even though Rkatsiteli productivity was still higher. During three years (1938-1940) the average harvest of Khikhvi was lower than Mtsvane and Rkatsiteli, but in 1941 it significantly exceeded both of them.
Based on Samtrest statistics, in 1951, on Telavi Soviet farm there were 46 centners of Khikhva harvest; in 1952 – 58 centners; 1954 – 55 centners of grape; and in 1953, on Kvareli Soviet farm, 60 centners of grapes.
Durability against pests and fungal diseases.
In Kakheti, Khikhvi is not distinguished by significant resistance to fungal diseases or oidium. Only in some (Ikalto, Ruispiri and partly Akhmeta) micro-districts is it resistant to downy mildew and needs to have additional fungicide administered. It could be explained by a lack of environmental conditions for pests and fungal diseases; the reason for it being that Khikhvi is cultivated mostly in the villages of Telavi and Akhmeta zones. The productivity of Khikhvi in this zone is higher than in Telavi and Tsinandali districts.
Khikhvi is quite sensitive to powdery mildew. It is relatively resistant to phylloxera and grape worm.
Thus, for better, stable and higher quality harvest it is necessary to apply systematic care and to have an additional fungicide treatment. The exact dates of treatment must be taken into consideration.
Mechanical structure of grape. Khikhvi can be used for making high quality table wine, because of its mechanical structure and chemical characteristics. Khikhvi also used to, and at present, provides fine table grape for local consumption. Mostly Khikhvi is used for wine production with great values such as dry table and dessert type wine named “Khikhvi”.
. The mechanical consistency of the grape is very important. The data of mechanical analysis is given below in relation to particular districts and years (see Table 4).
Table 4 shows that the outcome of sugar and acidity is defined with high number. In Gurjaani, Kardanakhi micro-district, the sugar of Khkhvi consisted of 26 - 27%, sometimes 30% and even more. Khikhvi accumulated a large quantity of sugar in Ukraine. In Odessa, the sugar was 27%. Below is shown the sugar-acidity indicators by districts and years (Table 5).
USE OF GRAPE AND QUALITY OF WINE.
From the Khikhvi grape, table and dessert wines are made in the European and Kakheti style. European table wine provides a bright tea-colored greenish, tender, harmonious, light, specific aroma wine. Kakheti style wines are characterised by a dark tea-color, with harmony and a tender taste. During every degustation session, Khvikhvi was praised as a high quality wine. For example, on 11 April 1946, in Moscow, during the Central Degustation session, the sample of Ikalto wine “Jananura” was presented by the Academy of Sciences of Georgia with the description of 1942: “golden, specific aroma, soft harmonic taste, average point: 9.1”. At the same session, the Institute of Viticulture and Enology presented the European style Khikva wine from Zikilia testing station (Akhaltsikhe district), which was described as: “light golden, original aroma, pleasant taste, sweet. It is desirable to produce semi-sweet wine – Southern type wine - from Khikhvi”. It was awarded 7.7 points out of 8. Khikhvi received positive reference also from the Tbilisi regional Degustation Commission session.
A good quality dessert wine is provided by Khikhvi from Kardenakhi micro-district. This wine is known by the name Khikhvi. V.Kandelaki, the famous Head Winemaker from Samtrest, created this wine. It is a dark yellow color with a harmonic taste, typical for its Tokai aroma. The wine consists of 13º alcohol, 5 - 7% total acidity and 24% sugar. It always praised for its quality dessert features. For example, in 1940 Khikhvi’s harvest consisted 14.2 º alcohol, 4.3% acidity, 0.39 volatile acidity, 25% sugar, and received a remarkable evaluation of 9.1 points from the Central Degustation Commission on 2 January, 1944. It received a similar assessment from the Republican Degustation Commission. For example, it got 8 points in 1947, and 9.5 in 1945.
Khikhvi is used also as an admixture with other wine varieties. In the Telavi-Akhmeta zone (especially Ikalto-Ruspiri, Gorgorebi, Artozani, Aleksauri, and so on) its name is Mtsvane and Jananuri. In modern zones (1/3) of wines are mixed with Khikhvi. In Gurjaani district – Bakurtsikhe, Kardanakhi, Kolagi, Vejini and other villages – good quality Rkatsiteli Tetri wine is mixed with Khikvi and Mtsvane (which has a special softness and aroma).
In conclusion, for chemical characterization of Khikhvi wines, below are shown the results of analysis of table and dessert wines (see Table 6).
As shown in Table 6, the consistency of alcohol in Khikhvi table wine ranged from 10.2 to 14%; acidity from 5.9 - 8.3%. The most noticeable sample of Khikhvi came from Akhaltsikhe, and was characterised with high acidity (7.5%), alcohol (12.1%) and tannin (2.87%). The sample from Odessa was characterised with a high volume of alcohol (13.6%) and acidity (1.2%) according to the harvest in 1925. The high consistency of sugar in the wine, in cool places such as Odessa and Akhaltsikhe, indicates the prospects of Khikhvi. The highest accumulation of sugar in the wine occurred in the Kardenakhi micro-district, where it ranged from 27 - 28%, in some years up to 30%, which can raise the alcohol to 18%.
Variations and clones.
The varieties of Khikhvi have not yet been fully discovered, nor has selective work been implemented. First of all, it is important to spread the productivity of Khikhvi throughout the main districts – Telavi and Gurjaani vineyards – for further investigation of the vine’s durability against oidium.
GENERAL EVALUATION AND DISTRIBUTION BY DISTRICT
Khikhvi is a standard vine variety, providing high quality European table, Kakheti and dessert types of wine. This wine was used also for improving the quality of Rkatsiteli wine. There were Mtsvane (from Telavi) and Rkatsiteli (from Gurjaani ) in admixtures with Khikhvi, which improved the quality of those wines. In Akhmeta – Kistauri, Ikalto-Ruispiri, Bakurtsikhe-Kardanakhi, Kolagi-Vejini and the other high quality wines from different villages, were the result of either the mixture with Mtsvane or Khikhvi, or together with Rkatsiteli.
The positive features of the good quality of Khikhvi includes – European table, Kakheti natural semi-sweet and earlier ripening and preparation of semi-sweet and dessert varieties of wines. This type consists of good resistance to winter frost, mildew and phylloxera; also ripening early, which helps the possibility of extending its cultivation.
The negative aspects of Khikhvi are its low durability against oidium, lower productivity than average, and sensitivity towards environment.
The above-mentioned negativities are not the main difficulties as they can be easily solved. Khikhvi is a heavy-loading vine, which is why it requires much maintenance and treatment. First of all, during oidium periods, it is necessary to treat the vine with sulphur once or twice a year- timely and professionally. Also to search for sustainable locations.
It must be cultivated in Akhmeta, Telavi, Sagarejo and Gurjaani, where all required elements and materials are provided for high quality wine and resistance to oidium. It should also be cultivated on high lands, where Rkatsiteli rarely reaches its ripeness.
Khikhvi can also be cultivated in southern regions and mountain zones of the Soviet Union.
Wines made from the same variety