Georgia is known for its amazing wines, some of them still being made in the same way as they were made centuries ago, which makes them unique in the world. The Kvevri wine is one of those wines, which are part of the wine culture and tradition in Georgia, a wine that needs to be tasted once you reach this country. But, to understand this wine better, you need to know its story first. From the beginning of time, the people that lived in the South Caucasus gathered wild grapes for their juice. For its safe keeping, they used Kvevri, a type of clay vessels, which they would fill with grape juice and bury them underground. But, when left there for too long, the grape juice fermented and turned into wine. This is how people learned to make wine in this area, even since ancient times.
The practice with the use of the Kvevri vessels was kept since then, the method being perfected in thousands of years until these very days. There are still many families in Georgia that make wine by following this very old tradition, having special areas beneath the floor of their homes, in their cellars, a place called Marani, where the grape juice is left to ferment. Archeologists that searched for ancient vestiges on Georgian land discovered many very old Kvevri vessels, some of them of impressive dimensions. The artifacts were in great shape, being considered by specialists some of the best earth ware they ever discovered throughout Georgia. So, it appears that Georgians were very skilled when it came to make vessels out of clay that were durable and sturdy enough, the fact that they resisted for so many millennia in the ground being sufficient evidence.
Because of the impressive age of this wine making tradition and its importance to the Georgian wine making background, on the 4th of December 2013, UNESCO assigned the status of intangible cultural heritage to this amazing method of making wine in Kvevri vessels. In the families that still practice this method, children learn from rather early ages how to take this method further. They learn how to tend for the vines, how to best press the grapes, how to collect clay and make the Kvevri, and how to ferment the wine. It takes somewhere between 5 to 6 months for the grape juice, stalks, pips, and skins to produce the famous Kvevri wine. After being buried in the ground, the Kvevri vessel is sealed, so that it won’t escape during the fermentation process.
If you want to try incredible tasty Kvevri wine assortments, here are a few suggestions you could try:
Pheasant’s Tears,Tsolikauri, Imereti, Georgia 2013
This wine is a very light one, a wine that will easily become enjoyable due to its flavor of fresh green apples and a drop of exotic fruits. It stays up to 9 months in the Kvevri before reaching its final shape.
Pheasant’s Tears, Saperavi, Kakheti, Georgia 2013
This is a wine with a fuller taste, as you will be able to feel the tannins of the fruits and its acidity on your tongue as you savor it. It is the type of wine that spends the longest time in the Kvevri vessels, which is up to 10 months until it is ready.
Ramaz Nikoladze Tsolikouri 2013
This is an incredible wine that comes from grape vines that are over 100 years old. It has pleasant floral flavors with touches of dry fruits, being ready after 6 months in the Kvevri.