Forget Barrels, These Clay Pots Make Great Wine

published Jun 11, 2015
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(Image credit: Daniella Cheslow | NPR)

Ever heard of qvevri? If you haven’t, now’s the time to learn about this clay wine barrel from Georgia, which is regaining popularity.

NPR takes a closer look at the process, which involves the large clay barrels shown here. The wine is unique for more than just the barrels, though. It has several interesting attributes.

First, it’s one of the few wines where white grapes are fermented with their skins on. This gives the wine a darker, almost orange hue.

Second, it’s a mostly hands-off process. Wine makers fill the qvevri and let it ferment for two weeks before sealing up the barrels and burying them for six months. After that time, the wine is transferred to smaller qvevri and aged for another six months.

And finally, it’s not just the grapes that go into the wine. Winemakers add in the stems as well. The good news is that the design of the clay barrels allows for a natural filtering process, and all the sediment and stems settle at the bottom.

Have you ever tried a Georgian wine made in a qvevri?