In 2022, we finished burying our four qwevris of 1000 l each that we had gone to Georgia to choose in 2019.
A qwevri is an erthenware vessel buried below ground. It is one of the oldest containers used for wine (but also for oil, cereals, etc.). In Georgia, the oldest qwevris are thought to be over 8,000 years old. Spelling in the Latin alphabet varies: kwevri, qvevri, kvevri… in Georgian: ქვევრი
Ancient qwevris were often buried directly in the vineyards. Today, every good Georgian has at least one in his garage.
Our qwevris were made by the best manufacturer in Georgia. The know-how almost disappeared and there were only two manufacturers left capable of making quality qwevris. Fortunately, production has increased recently, but it takes a very long experience to produce good qwevris.
It is a handmade artisanal product. The composition of the clay is part of the producer’s know-how. Our producer has several sites in the mountains which he uses to obtain the right composition. The pottery is made by hand using the coil method. You have to be able to move at the right speed because the slightly dried earth at the bottom of the qwevri has to be able to withstand the freshly added earth. Firing is done in a wooden shed in which several qwevris are stored surrounded by corn husks, wood and other natural fuels. Brick walls are erected and the fire is set. At the end of the firing process, the walls are dismantled to reveal the qwevris.
The final step is to coat the inside of the qwevri with melted beeswax, to make it impermeable, otherwise water will seep through…
Our qwevris were buried in a gangue of lime structured with limestone pebbles. This gives rigidity to the pottery, which is still quite fragile, and also cleans up the environment around the qwevri.
Traditionally, the qwevris were closed with a wooden plate covered with a mound of clay kept moist with a wet cloth placed on it. To open the qwevri, you had to take the shovel !
But there are now other, more modern techniques.
Qwevri doesn’t add any marked flavour to the wine. It’s incredible when it comes to fermentation: it never stops !
or us, qwevris are the noblest container, along with wood. And they shouldn’t be compared with today’s amphorae, which are industrial products. Our qwevris are true works of art in themselves, the result of incredible expertise. Each one is different and will express something different.
The first wine we release with our qwevris is the Oxymore Red n°22.