They are meditative wines, sumptuous and subtle.
Combining winemaking traditions that span centuries.
Georgia is home to a unique winemaking tradition that has survived for thousands of years. Grapes are crushed, then fermented skin-on for several months in buried earthenware vessels called qvevri. Prolonged contact with the skins produces wines that are rich in tannins, which lend depth and dryness, plus great stability and structure.
Because qvevri are buried underground, where the earth’s temperature remains fairly consistent, they provide a controlled environment for fermentation. And the vessels’ unique pointed shape allows sediment to collect at the bottom, while the wine moves freely around the wider center. After fermentation, wines are transferred to another qvevri to age, acquiring even greater dimension.
Many Georgians consider the traditional Georgian way of making wine to be an inseparable part of their cultural identity and inheritance. Now, this method is serving as a catalyst for global interest in Georgian viticulture.
Commercial winemakers in Georgia also employ European methods to produce wines—using equipment and adjusting temperature to control the fermentation process
Despite its distinctiveness, qvevri wine still represents a tiny portion —less than 1 percent —of commercially produced Georgian wines. The number of qvevri winemakers is growing, however: at least 30 artisanal winemakers are currently using the ancient vessels exclusively, larger wineries are adding qvevri series to their offerings. And many winemakers are experimenting with incorporating both European and Georgian methods in their production.