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Why Georgian Qvevri are so efficient at making natural wine

collection of qvevri wine clay pots

A hole in the ground, this is the mystery of the 8000-year-old Georgian wine-making.

In fact, the hole in the ground that the Georgians invested in is called a Qvevri in Georgia. Wine lovers are talking more no about the upsurge of Qvevri as we get to know their importance as ‘natural’ wine growers using Qvevri as a way of making unadulterated wine. You may be asking, how do these work? and the difference between the  Qvevri and the Kvevri? Let’s have a look at all this in a way it can be explained to beginner wine tasters.

Archaeologists excavating the villages in the nation of Georgia found pieces of clay pots containing residues of the world’s oldest wine. ‘World’s oldest wine found in 8,000-year-old jars in Georgia Scientists say 8,000-year-old pottery fragments have revealed the earliest evidence of grape wine-making.

This makes the former Soviet state, located in the Caucasus region south of Russia, the world’s oldest wine-producing country.

A glass of Saperavi wine Traditionally, Georgian wines carry the name of the source region, district, or village, much like French regional wines such as Bordeaux or Burgundy.

Georgian winemaking method joins UNESCO heritage list Georgia’s traditional winemaking method of fermenting grapes in earthenware, egg-shaped vessels has been added to the world heritage list of the United Nations Educational, scientific and cultural organisation (UNESCO).

The UN body said this month that Georgia’s ancient qvevri winemaking method is part of the Intangible Heritage of Humanity.

Yet the number of qvevri winemakers is growing: Today at least 30 artisanal winemakers use the ancient vessels exclusively, and larger wineries are adding qvevri series to their lineups. “To stand out from the crowd, it’s good to have the qvevri wine.

Irakli Cholobargia, from the Georgian National Wine Agency, says they are now increasingly focusing on western Europe and North America. “In volume,we are not the big country,” he says. “Our maximum capacity [for production] now is 300 million bottles a year, which is the size of one big Australian winery. “We cannot compete with France, Spain, Chile and South Africa [in size], but what we offer is our uniqueness, our grape varieties, and qvevri wine, our history. “Our strategy now is to be established in the Western and Asian markets, and to diversify the whole export market.” One Georgian winemaker who is increasing his exports is Gia Piradashvili, founder of Winiveria.

In the meantime, it seems that the essential art of Qvevri winemaking is likely to remain as it has for the past 8000 years. 

Traditionally, Georgian wines carry the name of the source region, district, or village, much like French regional wines such as Bordeaux or Burgundy. As with these French wines, Georgian wines are usually a blend of two or more grapes. Georgian wines are classified as sweet, semi-sweet, semi-dry, dry, fortified and sparkling. The semi-sweet varieties are the most popular. (en.wikipedia.org)

henryswines.co.uk has grown from strength to strength delivering some of the best wines from Georgia for several years. Henry selects the wines personally from Georgian wine growing, visiting the vineyards and only choosing the ones he believes will be extraordinarily popular in the United Kingdom.

Try henry’s Georgian wines online only shop that delivers to UK and Ireland.

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Henry Mchedlishvilli

Passionate about Eastern European wines, spirits and liqueurs. Helping you experience the real taste of wine-making history.

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