New Wine Festival 2011 Georgia

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New Wine Festival 2011 Georgia

via makhowine’s Channel – YouTube.

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The First International Qvevri Symposium – Green & Blue Wines

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In 2006, Russia imposed a ban on Georgian wine. A considerable blow and a blessing at the same time. The Russian market had been huge but entirely undiscerning, thirsty only for cheap alcohol in any form. Suddenly, Georgian producers had to find new buyers for this stuff but their initial forays into the Western markets soon revealed that against a tide of similar sewage from far more established exporters, they had almost no takers.

At the same time, some much smaller, more traditional producers were starting to get far more attention with their Qvevri wines from indigenous varietals. The big producers took notice and now a lot of big wineries still make entry level ‘technical’ wines for markets like Poland along side smaller quantities of the much more traditional.

One of the vice presidents of Constellation Brands visited Georgia recently. Constellation are one of the Dark Stars of the world; a vast, multinational company involved in the entire range of alcohols including processed, heavily branded wines. Depending on where you are with wine, such a man will either be venerated or stand for all that is amiss but the point is that at a talk he gave for local wine makers, he said that there only reason why the outside world would be interested in Georgian wine is because of the Qvevri fermentation.

Now that is really something.

And he is of course, completely right.

via The First International Qvevri Symposium – Green & Blue Wines.

Winemakers Go Wild for Qvevri – The Daily Beast

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One of the new Italian converts to qvevri is Elisabetta Foradori. Pouring her rare white, floral wine made from the Nosiola grape, she explains why she loves the qvevri. “My wines find their identity in them so much sooner.” All her production is now in qvevri, even though—don’t tell the Georgians—she too calls them amphorae.Others have added their own twist to the traditional style. Austrian Bernhard Ott makes a Grüner Veltliner labeled, simply, Qvevri. He picks his chemical-free grapes by hand. He crushes them without machinery. He pours the wine, complete with skins, seeds, and stems, into the qvevri, mimicking the way the Georgians vinify their reds. But instead of marinating his wine for a few weeks, he allows the juice to commingle with its parts for months, resulting in a slight orange color and some gritty tannin. After the wine is finished fermenting, he seals the qvevri hermetically with clay and dirt. He then forgets about the wine. Eight months later, he pries the lid open to find the crud sunk to the bottom. This is extreme hands-off winemaking. “The most pure, clear wine is left when the qvevri is opened up,” he says. David Schildnecht, who covers Austria for The Wine Advocate, calls Ott’s Qvevri “revelational.”A qvevri curiosity has now touched down in the New World—not in Napa, where you might expect, but in Virginia. And not for wine, but for cider. Here, too, all roads lead back to Gravner. When John Rhett, general manager of Castle Hill Cider, and cider maker Stuart Madany both former architects tasted Gravner’s wine, they not only loved the flavor but were also attracted to the qvevri’s egg shape. “Whenever nature wants to preserve life energy, it uses the same form, and that is the egg,” Madney says. The two men persuaded Castle Hill’s owners to shell out a hefty sum to import the vessels. This year they planted eight qvevri on Castle Hill’s grounds. Perhaps the world’s first qvevri cider, called Levity, is now available. Whether it’s the egg shape or beginner’s luck, their brew has more complexity, with a deeper flavor and more nuance, than conventional cider offerings.

via Winemakers Go Wild for Qvevri – The Daily Beast.

Abkhazia Institute – The President of Georgia met with the representatives of the local government of Kakheti in Kvare

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We have been fighting to eliminate losses in the recent years, the trademark was not protected…the people of Russian descent produced our wine in the US, practically every Georgian brand. We have now moved these people aside through the legal processes. The previous government sold Khvanchkara and other wine brands to Bulgaria and companies of other countries. It was an unbelievable chaos. Taking care of these problems took us 5-6 years, but now our top priority is an active campaign. By of the way, we have allocated money to open a wine bar in the center of the Capital of the United States

via Abkhazia Institute – The President of Georgia met with the representatives of the local government of Kakheti in Kvare.

Georgia: Betting on Clay and Kvevri for Entrée into International Wine Markets | EurasiaNet.org

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“Basically, the Italian winemakers, who took kvevri from Georgia and make kvevri wine, have created a category for the Georgians,” said Chris Terrell, a California-based importer of Georgian wines. “Their [Italian] wines are already selling very, very expensively, so now these [Georgian] wines come in and they have very good value for the people who know.”

Josko Gravner amphora wines, made with Georgian kvevris, range from $50 to $150 in the US; more than a twofold difference with the retail price of one Georgian-made kvevri wine sold in New York City.

Terrell says that the kvevri wines he imports from Georgia fare better in the “high quality, organically-farmed, all-natural wines” market than do Georgian mainstream brands in the table-wine segment. “The quality is getting better, but the labeling and packaging could use some improvement,” he elaborated.

Along with such improvements, observers also say that Georgian wine needs aggressive advertising to raise its profile in new markets like the US. To further this goal, a recent wine symposium, sponsored by the US Agency for International Development, drew a crowd of western oenophiles to Kakheti to experience kvevri culture amid the grape-harvesting season, or rtveli.

At Alaverdi, a 6th-11th century monastery set against the Caucasus’ soaring backdrop, monks served up from their kvevri cellars a heady, dry red Saperavi and a pungent, amber-tinged white Kisi wine.

As the visitors sipped the brew, one New York City restaurateur reported a growing customer interest in Georgian wine, while a Texas potter recounted how a surprise kvevri order from a local wine producer had prompted his decision to travel to Georgia and study the craft.

Yet despite all the fascination with the kvevri, specialists caution that the time-consuming, painstaking nature of making the amphora and its wine will prevent the method’s use from becoming widespread. Larger companies within Georgia are building kvevri wine cellars, but these serve as smaller attractions for tourists and wine aesthetes; not as mission-critical infrastructure.

Using amphoras, a wine company “can produce a maximum of 20-25 tons of kvevri wines,” said Tevzadze. That compares with a volume in the hundreds of tons for more modern methods. Each of the 15 Georgian wineries in the Kvevri Foundation produces just three to 10 tons of wine per season, he added.

“Making wine in a kvevri is so laborious and also expensive that it will never become mainstream,” said Tevzadze.

One successful American winemaker based in Georgia, though, says this is not necessarily bad news for the country’s kvevri winemakers. John Wurdeman, owner of the Pheasant’s Tears winery, believes kvevri aficionados should stay true to the terra-cotta vessels’ reputation for earthy-tasting wines of small volume, but high quality. Said Wurdeman: “It’s a niche product for a niche market.”

via Georgia: Betting on Clay and Kvevri for Entrée into International Wine Markets | EurasiaNet.org.

Vintage: A History of Wine Pt.1 – YouTube

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Vintage: A History of Wine Pt.1 – YouTube.

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