What is a Georgian Qvevry?

A Georgian Qvevry is a vessel made from clay and used for the fermentation of wine. Qvevry used in producing Georgian wine have been found dating back to the 5th and 6th Century BC making them the oldest wine making vessels ever found.

Georgian Qvevry dating from 5th/6th Century BC

There are about twenty five different varieties of Qvevery used in the industry nowadays.

Modern Qvevry used in Georgian wine making.

Qvevry should not be confused with Amphora which are vessels used for storing and shipping goods such as wine or grain.

2500 year old amphora used for shipping wine.

The Georgian method of using Qvevry.
The inside of the clay vessel is coated with beeswax which makes the material less porous. It is then sunk into the ground in a wine cellar (Marani). This keeps the Qvevry at a constant cool temperature.
The grapes are crushed with the juices running down into the Qvevri. The skin is also used during the fermentation process which continues from approximately 3 weeks to 8 months depending on Qvevry size and grape choice. After the designated time period the wine is tranfered to another Qvevry for aging. (1 – 8 years) leaving the sediment in the bottom of the original vessel.
White wine turns a gold or amber colour, full of tannins and natural vigour.

Amber coloured wine after fermentation in a Qvevry
The process of making wine in a Qvevry

Qvevry sizes
Georgian Qvevry range in capacity from 1500 ltrs to 4000ltrs and are made from a special clay which is fired at about 1000 degrees. They are used for both fermentaion and aging.

Thanks go to www.georgianwine.uk for all the information.