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.