Coating the Outside of the Qvevri

Previously I wrote about making a wire grid on my qvevri. The wire made applying the lime-based mortar quite easy. I simply mixed the mortar in small batches and started applying it to the outside of the qvevri. The wire seemed to help with applying the spreadable mortar that reminded me of spreading peanut butter on toast. I placed the qvevri in a wheelbarrow and applied mortar to half the qvevri on one day and the rest of the qvevri the next day. The thickness is just a bit thicker than the wire grid. I let the mortar dry for three weeks.

Coating the outside of the qvevri with a lime-based mortar.

While in Georgia I asked about the purpose of the coating the outside of a qvevri. One winemaker commented that it helps protect the qvevri from tree roots. Another winemaker said their were earthquakes in the area and the coating will also provide protection from some ground shaking. What I am interested in is whether it will help slow down the rate of oxidation. Like wood barrels, oxygen can permeate the walls of the qvevri even when it is buried underground. I’d like to see the research that compares the amount of oxygen reaching the wine in a barrel as opposed to a qvevri.

The process was easier than I thought. I didn’t have a design, but I could see how some could put a design in the mortar. I did put Kathy’s and my initials and the year 2014 in the mortar near the top. I have no idea how many years the qvevri will be buried. My next task is to start working on the burial hole and marani.


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