Wines Made in Clay Jars
Ancient Technologies are still in use today by farmers and commercial winemakers
The most ancient method of making wine is to put the grapes whole into clay jars called Khveri that are buried under the ground. The grapes ferment in these Khveri over the winter then are pressed to get the liquid out using a gisnt syringe. Many wines are still made in this way in Khaketi. Many of the local farmers make wine in a Marani which is an outhouse made of reeds designated to the making of wine with Khveri buried in the ground.
Kvevri are also used in commercial wine making. The Satrapezo range of wines are still made in this traditional way. A small sized Kvevri suitable for home use would be 16 litres whereas commercial Khvevri are capable of holding 6144 litres of wine.
Although they are as tall as a grown man, kvevri are sculptured by hand. First of all the base or heel is made, then the Kvevri maker builds a wooden scaffold to support his creation. The giant jar is then hand-moulded and finally fired in an enormous oven. The finished jar is buried in a hole with a lime wall around it to protect it from the earth tremors that occur in eastern Georgia.