Located between the borders of Russia, Turkey and Armenia, Georgia is a region that is receiving attention for it’s viticulture and traditional winemaking using unique vessels called ‘qvevri’.
Tracing back to 6,000BC, the early Georgians, specifically the people of the South Caucasus, unraveled the creation of wine after burying grape juice in qvevri during the winter seasons, with some remaining underground for up to 50 years. Some of the indigenous grapes that are found in Georgia include rkatsiteli, mtsvane, and saperavi.
Directly translating to ‘buried’, qvevri (or kvevri) are Georgia’s unique egg-shaped clay vessels used to make their famous traditional wines assisting with fermentation, maturation, and storage. Originally used for additional purposes such as food storage, qvevri are now used more for winemaking, not only in Georgia, but also countries such as Italy, the United States and Austria.
The process of fermenting qvevri wine begins with a well-cleaned vessel lined with beeswax where the crushed grapes, along with its stems, skins and pips, are poured inside, covered with a lid and then sealed with either beeswax or clay. As the mixture ferments, the alcohol from the mixture is produced and the acidity decreases, stabilising the wine while flavour is intensified. Finally, the wine is decanted into bottles unless further ageing of the wine is required in which the wine is placed in a fresh qvevri.
Image one: Katiekk2 on Getty Images.
Image two: Photo courtesy of Kapistoni Wine.
Georgian qvevri wines are usually quite dry and tart, light in body and easy to drink with its fine tannins from skin contact and maceration. They also often have lovely herbal aromas thanks to the the grapes of Georgia. If you’re keen to have a taste, you have to try our top three favourites or browse the rest of the collection HERE if you want to have a cheeky browse.
You can enjoy these with annnny meal!