Early spring marks the time when a white wine made in a buried qvevri is opened. This week we opened our 2015 Rkatsiteli after macerating on the skins and a few stems for six months. For a bit of a recap. We sourced the grapes from a Virginia winery in September. Fermentation was robust overflowing […]
Sealed with a glass top, with a sample of the qvevri wine
I waited to the last day of December to seal the qvevri and cover the area with several inches of sand. We had a very warm December with 29 of 31 days recording above average temperatures. Ten of those days, temperatures were […]
This morning the grapes rose to the top of the qvevri. Punch downs were every three hours.
I wrote yesterday that we filled the qvevri to within two inches of the top or surface of the marani. Big mistake! In going to punch down early Saturday morning, I discovered that the fermentation was rather […]
Kathy and I acquired some Rkatsiteli grapes yesterday from our friends at Bluemont Vineyards in Bluemont, Virginia. Arriving home, we began to process the grapes and prepare the qvevri. Qvevri winemaking is an ancient winemaking method and the only winemaking process on the UNESCO list of Intangible Cultural Heritage.
Cleaning the Qvevri
I had learned […]
I usually end the year reflecting on my New Year’s resolutions. However, we were so busy finishing our third book last New Year’s that I forgot to make winemaking resolutions for 2014. That didn’t stop us though. Kathy and I completed our seventh year of making wine. We started in 2008 when we determined that […]
Regardless of air temperatures falling to 37ºF (3ºC) the must and juice in the qvevri are happily fermenting. My original specific gravity reading on Saturday was 1.110. As of yesterday, the SG was 1.046. Put in terms of potential alcohol, when I started the fermentation there was a 15% alcohol potential. Now that is down […]
I have been digging a hole for awhile. I had to place the qvevri in it several times to judge how much deeper to dig. Finally it was time to bury the qvevri. I placed the qvevri in the hole and tried to make it level. I slowly added soil, mostly clay-based around the bottom. […]
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 our first visit to qvevri maker Zaliko Bodjadze we learned that we should coat the outside of the qvevri with a lime-based mortar. Zaliko demonstrated a trick he uses to help make the mortar mix stay in place and adhere to the qvevri. I hope his method works. Zaliko used galvanized wire to create […]
On our visit to the country Georgia last September, our driver laughed at us because we wanted to see a hole in the ground. Both Kathy, myself and two apprentice winemakers, one from Austria and the other from Ukraine were excited to see a hole in the ground. However, those laughing or smiling did not […]