Well, it’s that time again. This month I’m bringing you a special edition of Restaurant Roundup, focused on my favorite wine bars and shops. This has been a long time coming, and is inspired by this very consistent conversation:
Me/Sean/Both of Us: Oh! We found this wine at WineMe.
Them: What’s WineMe…?
Me/Sean/Both of Us: WHAT?!
Everyone should know about these five wine stops in Tbilisi, so without further ado, let’s get into this.
Top Five Wine Stops:
Lagaza Wine Bar: This little wine bar and shop across from the Holiday Inn completely highjacked this blog post. I told Sean last week I needed one more place for this month’s roundup, so we ended up here. I expected it to be good and nicely round out this blog post, but I was wrong. This. Place. Is. Incredible. There’s not really a different way to describe the food here other than this: it’s a Georgian tapas bar. Each dish we tried was served tapas-style, and each dish was Georgian with a very distinct twist. Their wine selection is perhaps a bit on the smaller side, but still quite extensive and unique. Sean sampled their house Saparavi, and it was delicious. Lagaza also sells their own cured meats for 7 GEL per 100 grams. It’s a steal.
WineMe: WineMe is my favorite place to shop for wine. They are a small boutique shop in Vera that hand picks every wine they sell. All of their wines are organic, traditionally made, and come from family wineries. With those three requirements, you would expect high (even by Georgian standards) pricing, but somehow WineMe keeps them relatively low. We’ve consistently found wine sold here for 20-30 GEL cheaper than other larger wine stores. The staff is always friendly and helpful, and they often have several open bottles to sample. WineMe also hosts occasional wine and paint nights, tastings, and other fun events.
Dadi Wine Bar: I’ve actually written about this little shop before, but I don’t think it gets enough love, so I’m bringing it back for this special edition. Even a year later, it remains one of my favorite wine stops. It’s small but mighty. Their wine menu is extensive and a good mix of large factory wineries as well as smaller independent vineyard varieties. Prices are a little more expensive than WineMe, but they do have a lovely menu featuring both light fare and platters large enough to serve as a full meal. Staff is very knowledgeable, and we often ask them for recommendations rather than ordering something ourselves. They are located just off Freedom Square, making it easy to find for expats and tourists alike.
Vino Underground: I think a trend is emerging here: Sean and I will always opt for the natural, organic, family-owned wines when given a choice. Vino Underground is another excellent example of a wine store focused on those three requirements. Their menu is enormous and overwhelming, but helpful staff with make sure you are happy with anything you choose. They also have a smaller but still excellent menu with appetizers and in particular specialty cheeses.
8000 Vintages: I think it’s safe to say 8000 Vintages is the flagship of Georgian wine in Tbilisi. They have – literally – thousands of wine varieties at their fingertips and are waiting and ready for you to come and experience as much Georgian wine as you can. Wines sold at 8000 Vintages are carefully selected through blind tasting by the Independent Tasting Commission and are held to high-quality standards. This is one of my favorite places to send someone new to Georgian wine to get a feel for what they may (or may not) be into. 8000 Vintages also has a hearty bar menu to pair with any wine you choose.
As always, follow me on Instagram for the latest recommendations! If you have any favorite wine bars, please let me know in the comments.