The World's Cultural Heritage
Qvevri - Clay vessel made for making and storing wine is considered to be one of the trademarks of Georgia. This method of making wine preserved in Georgia for centuries does not have the analogue in the world. That is why in 2013 the oldest Georgian traditional Kakhetian method of winemaking in Qvevri, was assigned the status of intangible cultural heritage by UNESCO. Today the Georgian technology of Qvevri winemaking has crossed the borders of the Country and naturalist winemakers of different countries of the world use Georgian method to produce wine in Qvevris taken from Georgia.
Kakhetian method of Making WineThe Kakhetian method of making wine in Qvevri foresees squeezing ripe grapes in "Satsnakheli" (the winepress). The purpose of squeezing is to maximize the amount of grape juice without breaking grape seeds. Grape juice flows from the winepress into the Qvevri. Grape berries and empty grape clusters left in the winepress are also added to the grape juice in the Qvevri.
Stages of Qvevri Development
The tradition of making Qvevris as well as Qvevri shapes have evolved and improved over the centuries in Georgia. It should be noted that no uniform standard has been established from the outset, and Qvevris from different regions of Georgia differ in form, production technique and applied decorations.
The oldest Qvevri found in Georgia was discovered on the Khram hill near the village of Shulaver in Kvemo Kartli. This flat-bottomed Qvevri with grape cluster decorations belongs to the VI-V millennium and is considered to be the world's oldest wine vessel.
Because of the flat bottom and decorations this type of Qvevris were likely kept partially planted in the ground or above the ground. Shape of Qvevris discovered later after the 3rd century BC is changed from flat into narrow bottom. Altered shape and narrow base do not allow the Qvevri to stand firmly above the ground. We can assume that from this time on they began planting Qvevris fully in the earth, the tradition which continues to date.