When we are talking about Georgian wine and the country’s own technology, the first thing that comes to mind is Qvevri. It is no surprise: Georgia is the birthplace of wine, is known for its various grape species, but the most iconic part of Georgian winemaking culture is Qvevri – an egg-shaped earthenware vessel used for making, aging, and storing wine, that gives wine exceptional color and taste.
What is Qvevri?
Qvevri (or Kvevri) is an earthenware vessel used for making, aging, and storing wine. It has been used by Georgians for almost 8000 years. It’s the oldest way of making wine and because of its history and uniqueness, in 2013, Unesco added to its list of the world’s intangible cultural heritage. This fact underlines Qvevri’s importance, not only for Georgian culture but also for the world’s winemaking industry.
How a qvevri is made?
Qvevri is made of clay and limestone. Sometimes, a few metals are also used, for example, gold, silver, or copper. Limestone goes into a chemical reaction with wine acid. This process is important for three reasons: First – after a chemical reaction, Qvevri walls are much more solid, than before. Second – we get a natural antiseptic, which prevents spreading bacterias (it’s a very important part, because, there are more than 400 bacterias in winemaking, and Qvevri makes it possible, to neutralize them naturally). And the third one – Qvevri wine has a unique aroma and flavour, which is characteristic only for this type of wine.
Qvevri’s making process is maybe easy on the eye, but it needs more than three months. Most of the time is necessary for building up walls. After that, qvevri is taken into a special oven to get dry. That’s when it is ready to use.
Why is Qvevri so special?
Mostly, Qvevri is buried into the ground. This gives Qvevri an advantage, to be stored around 13°-15°. Of course, this temperature never changes, despite the weather or other factors. This temperature is ideal for fermentation and aging as well. Qvevri has almost everything, that today’s high-tech vessel has in the winemaking industry.
During fermentation, wine needs stirring a couple of times a day. After the wine is fermented, grape pips and sediment settle to the bottom of the Qvevri. It is the time when it is very easy to get rid of them.
Qvevri should be roofed with stone lids for hermetic seal. Wine is usually left for a minimum of 4-6 months to mature. After that, wine is poured out to a cleaned Qvevri or another storage vessel until bottling. Sometimes, it is bottled right away.
The form of Qvevri that we see now, was invented during the bronze age. Before that, there was Qvevri’s original form, which was created 8000 years ago. By the way, this earliest Qvevri is one of the most important pieces of evidence, that proves the fact, that Georgia is the cradle of wine – archaeologists have traced the world’s first Qvevri in 2017.
An old type of Qvevri was different in size and shape. The height was about 1-1.5m, the bottom was flat. Modern Qvevri has an egg form shape and is much larger – most Qvevris have a capacity of 1-2 tones, but some of them are even bigger.
Importance of qvevri in Georgian Culture and winemaking
There is no other country but Georgia, where even a film was made about alcoholic drink reservoir. Maybe for some people, Qvevri is just one of some ordinary wine vessels, but for Georgian people, everything associated with wine is part of their national identity – so is the Qvevri. That’s the reason why Georgians even have a film named “Kvevri” released in 1970.
We have already mentioned the fact, that Qvevri wines are very different from others. Qvevri wine is very familiar for Georgian people, but for foreigners, especially for them, who are eager to find new tastes and smells, it is the best thing they can try. Maybe some very famous grape species are still very marketable, but at the end of the day, wine tasters realise, that French Chardonnay, Italian Barolo, and Spanish Tempranillo are very special, but all of them are produced by the same technology. Qvevri wine is a completely different thing, with its unusual smell, texture, color, taste, and way of winemaking.
Winiveria and qvevri wine
Winiveria makes both of them, Georgian and classic European wine. Most Georgian wines are made in a traditional way – fermented and aged in Qvevri. For example Qvevri Saperavi – distinguished by its full body, dark color, the aromas of cherry and black currant. We can also mention Khikhvi with its dark straw color and distinctive mixture of almond, apricot, tobacco, and spices aromas.
Winiveria’s mission is to offer high-quality products to our customers both in Georgia and abroad. The company is proud of being in this business and gaining Georgian wine’s name on the international market. The popularity of Winiveria wines is steadily growing abroad. Our wines are distinctive with their outstanding flavour and great quality. If you want to taste aromas that you have never had before, have a look at our catalog.