Table of Contents
What is Qvevri?
The Qvevri is simply a terracotta amphora (without a handle) with an oval shape and pointed end of Georgian origin. The interior is lined with beeswax to make it waterproof but also for its antiseptic property, thus protecting the wine against the development of bad bacteria.
Note: Qvevris are also used in Georgia to preserve cereals, butter, Chacha (strong local alcohol made from grape) …
“It was in a Kvevri, 8,000 years ago, that man made his first wine…”
– History and Use of Qvevri –
Qvevri is linked to the georgian wine. Yes … This is the country where we find the first traces of winemaking. And guess what? It was in a Kvevri, 8,000 years ago, that man made his first wine.
It is traditional, for Georgians winemakers, to vinify and age the wines in Qvevris (of different shapes) which are buried (outside or inside) in the Maranis (Georgian cellar) to keep a constant heat. Whether for the red grapes or for the white grapes (which will give an orange or amber wine as it is rather called in Georgia), let the juices macerate with the skin, the seeds and the stems. At the end of alcoholic fermentation (wine can sometimes be transferred to another kvevri), we close the opening with a glass or stone plate that is sealed with clay to prevent from air. The wine is then aged there for a few months to several years.
A long time ago, in France, it was traditional to use amphorae (mostly of Greek origin) for winemaking and wine aging. But for different reasons (especially of solidity and logistics), we replaced them, in the 2nd century, by the wooden barrels invented by our ancestors the Gauls. With the emergence of natural and especially orange wines, French winegrowers have opened up to countries with a different wine tradition, including Georgia in particular. In recent years, more and more French winegrowers have tried to vinify and age their wines (red and white) in Kvevris.
In Georgia, during and just after the communist period, the Qvevri wine tradition was abandoned for a more industrial production. At that time, the profession of maker of Qvevri, which is an art with its masters, almost disappeared. Thanks to this revival today, the best Georgian potters are crumbling in demand from winemakers around the world, and sometimes there is a wait for years. Today there are about ten families perpetuating this art. Since then, the Georgian state has realized that Qvevri is a real national heritage and is now promoting it.
Where to Buy a Qvevri?
In France (or in Europe), given that there is no manufacturer of Qvevri, the most obvious solution seems to go directly to the source to find it… But to avoid this hassle, fortunately, there is a Frenchman living in Georgia who regularly travels to France to bring back Kvevri of different sizes (from 200 to 1500 liters) and shapes. If you want to buy a Qvevri (the price is generally €4 per litre) we advise you to contact him by email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Where to Buy Wine Made in Qvevri ?
If you want to buy orange natural wine, red or white vinified and made in qvevri, we advise you to visit these wine shops :