Qvevri: Georgian ancient winemaking method
By Chelti
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Qvevri, a traditional Georgian winemaking vessel, has fascinated wine enthusiasts and historians alike for centuries. This unique clay vessel, known for its role in producing exceptional natural wines, represents an ancient winemaking tradition that continues to thrive in the modern world. In this article, we'll delve into the history, construction, and significance of Qvevri in winemaking.


The History of Qvevri

The use of clay vessels for winemaking dates back over 8,000 years, making it the oldest winemaking techniques in the world. However, it is in Georgia where the Qvevri has been most prominently embraced. Georgian winemaking history intertwines deeply with Qvevri, as evidenced by the country's UNESCO-recognized intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

Construction and Characteristics

Qvevri are handcrafted, egg-shaped clay vessels, typically ranging in size from 200 to 2,000 litres. These vessels are fashioned from local clay, which imparts unique mineral characteristics to the wine. The inside of a Qvevri is coated with beeswax, preventing the wine from coming into direct contact with the clay, thus preserving its purity.

Georgian qvevri

Winemaking Process in Qvevri

The winemaking process in Qvevri is distinct and involves minimal intervention. Grapes are typically crushed and placed in the Qvevri along with their skins, seeds, and stems. Fermentation occurs naturally, thanks to the indigenous yeast strains present in the winery's environment. This hands-off approach allows for the development of complex and expressive wines, often with distinctive earthy and tannic qualities.

Significance in Modern Winemaking

Despite the advent of modern winemaking techniques, Qvevri has retained its significance in the world of wine. Winemakers, particularly those embracing natural and biodynamic practices, continue to employ Qvevri to create wines that showcase terroir-driven flavours and textures.

In Conclusion

Qvevri represents a timeless connection between winemaking and history. Its unique construction, historical importance, and role in crafting exceptional wines have solidified its place in the world of winemaking. Whether you're an ardent wine connoisseur or simply curious about the traditions behind winemaking, exploring Qvevri is a journey well worth embarking upon. This ancient clay vessel stands as a testament to the enduring legacy of winemaking that has persevered through millennia.

At Chelti Winery, we proudly produce both red and white wines utilising Qvevri, employing a meticulous six-month skin contact process. Our dedication to this traditional method has yielded noteworthy recognition, including accolades such as the esteemed Best in Show, Double Gold at Mundus Vini, and the prestigious Platinum Award as well as Best in Show at Decanter. Moreover, our amber wines have earned esteemed gold medals in renowned Award Shows across Japan, Georgia, and over 10 different countries . These accolades reflect our commitment to excellence in winemaking and the recognition of our wines' outstanding quality on a global scale.



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Khikhvi Qvevri 2019


Khikhvi Qvevri 2019