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 […]

Qvevri Winemaking in Maryland

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 […]

Update on Qvevri Wine

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 […]

The Burial of our Qvevri, the Birth of a Marani

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. […]

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 […]

Qvevri Wines – Different Techniques

Rkatsiteli in qvevri with juice and chacha

Qvevri are earthen vessels crafted from clay, fired, coated on the inside with beeswax, often coated on the outside with cement and buried in the ground. Sizes range from one liter to thousands of liters. Compared to other winemaking vessels, qvevri are relatively inexpensive. For example, two […]

Why You Do Not Get a Qvevri Taste in your Wine

Some people, especially when they first taste a qvevri wine, think they are tasting the qvevri. This is similar to tasting what an oak barrel imparts to the wine if aged. However unlike other vessels for fermenting and aging wines, qvevri do not impart aromas and tastes to the wine. Why not?

After the qvevri […]

Is It Qvevri Wine or Natural Wine?

There is some discussion amongst winemakers in Georgia on whether a Georgian traditional wine made in qvevri should be referred to as a qvevri wine or a natural wine. Those in the natural wine court are beginning to become more vocal. There is a difference in the two, although to many the two terms “qvevri […]

Making Qvevri Wine: Punch Down

Although we were not present at Twins Wine Cellars at Napareuli to punch down our cap, we did punch down the cap on a large capacity qvevri at the winery. Our previous experience of punching down was at Tin Lizzie Wineworks in Clarksville, Maryland last fall. Kathy and I went to the winery daily and […]

Making Qvevri Wine: Putting Grapes into the Qvevri

Getting a bucket of grapes and juice from a large capacity qvevri

During the morning we helped to harvest Rkatsiteli grapes. By mid-afternoon, the load of grapes arrived at the winery. The protocol at Twins Wine Cellars at Napareuli was to destem the grapes. The stems would be discarded and the destemmed grapes and […]