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In 1783, Irakli II, the King of Kartli-Kakheti (a region in the South-East of modern Georgia) awarded Prince Garsevan Chavchavadze (1757- 1811) with wine estates in Kakheti for his services to the Kingdom during the signing the Treaty of Georgievsk, an agreement which established Georgia as a protectorate of Russia. Zegaani vineyards were among the given lands.


In 1811, at the age of 26, the son of Garsevan Chavchavadze, Alexander (1786- 1846) inherited the estate after the death of his father. Since 1812, Alexander was actively involved in the Civil war, foreign campaigns, and rose to prominence as an aide-de-camp to Barclay de Tolly during the siege of Paris. During this part of his life, Alexander Chavchavadze, who was a godson of Catherine the Great, got an opportunity to explore the German and the French ways of life, architecture, culture and traditions of these European countries. He also made himself familiar with the peculiarities of European viticulture and winemaking, many of which were later adopted in Georgia.


It is believed that prior to Alexander Chavchavadze’s return to his homeland in 1817, the wine in Georgia was made using the local traditional Kakheti technology, and the many vineyards were not divided by micro-regions. Thus, the majority of historians and archaeologists agree that despite the fact that the wine industry has existed in Georgia since 7000-8000 BC, the culture of winemaking came to Georgia from Europe and its founder was Alexander Chavchavadze – also the founder of Chateau Zegaani.


In 1820, the construction of Alexander Chavchavadze’s wine estates in Kakheti  was completed, as evidenced by the memoirs of the French consul in Tiflis, Jacques François Gamba (1763-1833). In his memoirs, he emphasizes the obvious similarities of Prince Chavchavadze’s estate and gardens with European buildings of the 19th century. The park where Chateau Zegaani is located, is perfectly preserved to this day.


After the death of Prince Alexander Chavchavadze in 1846, the estate was inherited by his son, David Alexandrovich Chavchavadze.


In 1854, Imam Shamil launched another attack on Kakheti, Georgia. He sent a vanguard, which stormed the family estate of Prince David Chavchavadze - Tsinandali, located 65 km from Tiflis (modern Tbilisi). They kidnapped Prince’s wife who was vacationing there, 28-year-old Anna Ilyinichna Bagration-Gruzinskaya and her 6 young children; her sister, 26 -year-old Princess Varvara Orbeliani with a six-month-old son; Varvara’s niece, 18-year-old Princess Nina Baratova; and the children’s French governess Madame Anna Drancey.


Unfortunately, during this treacherous abduction, Chavchavadze estate in Tsinandali was completely burned down (it was later restored, and it now houses the museum of Prince Alexander Chavchavadze). Imam Shamil demanded that Prince David pay a ransom of 1,000,000 silver rubles for the captives. Prince David Chavchavadze was forced to appeal to the Russian Emperor Nicholas I (1796 – 1855) to lend him this amount to buy back his family. The captives were ransomed from Shamil unharmed, but as a result, the Chavchavadze family estate had to be eventually transferred to repay the debt in 1886 to the Russian Emperor Alexander III (1845 - 1894), and it belonged to the Romanovs until the revolution of 1917. There is plenty of documentary evidence of the period, confirming the love of the Russian Emperor Alexander III for Kakhetian wines.


During the so-called "Soviet" period of Georgian history, which began in 1922, the development of Georgian wine-making in the European direction was suspended. This, in turn, significantly narrowed the boundaries of distribution geography. Unfortunately, this trend continued in the first years of the post-Soviet period.


Since 1998, Chateau Zegaani has been privately owned, and, along with the vineyards, belongs to the Georgian family Tatulashvili .


Today, within the walls of the 19th-century wine-making castle so unique for Georgia, the wines are being produced from the harvests of local vineyards, as they were hundreds of years ago. To this day, they are stored in the cellars laid by Prince Alexander Garsevanovich Chavchavadze.

Garsevan Chavchavadze
Aleqsander Chavchavadze
Nikolai I
Aleqsander III
Anna Bagration-Gruzinsky