The origins of Khikhvi’s name are unknown, but it grows widely in eastern Georgia, especially in Kakheti it originated. Most plantings are on the East-Southeast reaches of the province, on the right bank of the Alazani River, and there are some plantings in Kartli. The vine sports large leaves, which are three-lobed, circular and almost round. Its medium-sized bunches are conical, winged, and somewhat loose, with medium-sized, greenish-yellow, thin-skinned berries. Budburst occurs in the first half of April and matures in September. An early ripener, it is recommended for higher-altitude, cooler mountain plantings.
Khikhvi is versatile, and can be produced in light dry, semi-sweet, sweet, and, as in PDO Kardenakhi, fortified styles. Its aromatic signature is distinctive: floral notes of boxwood and wild flowers heighten broader flavours of ripe yellow fruits and apricot. The light wines appear both in European and Qvevri versions; the latter wines accentuate the dried fruit and flower character. With moderate alcohol levels and soft acidity, Khikhvi may stand alone as a single varietal wine, or may contribute high-tones to enhance a blend. It is a grape that deserves greater attention.