Bottling our 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon

After almost 21 months in barrel, it was time to bottle our Atlas Peak AVA, Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. We received the grapes from Stagecoach Vineyards on October 20th, 2012. After destemming and placing the grapes in a fermentation bin, we selected a yeast to add to the grapes. During the week of fermentation we […]

From Sealed Tomb Life Springs Forth

Once upon a time, thousands and thousands of years ago, earthen vessels resembling qvevri were used to bury people in a sitting position. Sealed in an earthen vessel and buried underground seems so final. However with wine, it is representative of birth.

This is what it was like for Rkatsiteli, buried in a qvevri under […]

What Was your First Winemaking Experience?

Now that we are nearing the end of 2013, it is a time for reflection. One of the things that I have been pondering is the first wine that my wife, Kathy, and I made. In late 2007 we decided that if we were going to write about wine, we should make wine. Kathy gave […]

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 […]

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 […]

Making Qvevri Wine: Cleaning the Qvevri

At home, I am very concerned about making wine in carboys and small plastic fermenters that are clean and sanitized. Sometimes it takes a brush to remove crud. If you just sanitize, you end up with sanitized crud in your fermentation vessel. So I was naturally interested in how to prepare a qvevri for receiving […]

Barrel Tasting of 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon

Kathy and I went to Tin Lizzie Wineworks to taste our 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon. It has been in the Taransaud barrel for ten months and we wanted to check on how the wine is at this point. The first note was its color. The wine was a very dark ruby to black color. The opaque […]

Vessels for Winemaking

Bottom of qvevri used at Castle Hill Cider in Keswick, Virginia

Take a tour of most wineries in the United States and you will notice most have stainless steel tanks and oak barrels. Some will ferment in these as well as age wine in these vessels. Plastic bins are also popular for fermenting small […]