Taste amazing Georgian wines at #LWF19
The National Wine Agency of Georgia, together with Swirl & Market, is determined to share the magic potential of these unusual wines at this year’s London Wine Fair.
With a national pavilion on stand K60, 15 producers will be showcasing their wines with a daily themed tasting bar, alongside masterclasses led by Sarah Abbott MW. Aside from tasting the fascinating and varied wines from this up-and-coming country, it’s also an opportunity to explore the symbiosis of evocative storytelling and unique product with which Georgians are becoming increasingly adept at selling their product. A nation of storytellers, they demonstrate an instinctive understanding of how to market romance.
There can be no better example than that of the Gombori Mountains’ qvevri makers.
During Soviet occupation, an era of homogenisation in the fledgling Georgian wine industry, the qvevri tradition was only kept alive by the remoteness of villages like this one. The finger of government didn’t penetrate these workshops and mountain gardens where the qvervi lay buried beneath soupy mud.
Zaza Kbilashvili is a fourth generation qvevri maker – his family one of only eight in Georgia specialising in the production of these unique winemaking vessels. In his low workshop, half-made qvervi have the earthy reek of fresh clay, the cool malleability of living things. Every two days, he adds another layer of clay, manipulating old and new together with his fingers until the 3000 litre vessels are ready to be rolled out to the oven – all it requires is the removal of the workshop wall.
Outside, in a sodden field broaching the forest, part finished pots rest like relics strewn from the mouth of the oven, dusted with the mizzle and a coarse sand glaze. Zaza, and others like him, pull their materials from the land around them, making qvevri as evocative as terroir to the French.
It’s a unique way of translating the environment into the finished wine – as unique as the evocative amber wines the qvervi produce.
The ritual of this production is just one of the stories these passionate producers weave, drawing in ever-more UK importers. To hear more, visit the Wines of Georgia stand this LWF or visit the Swirl Wine Group blog for more tales from Georgia.