Do ancient winemaking tools help make better wine?
Irakli Cholobargia, marketing director of the state-run National Wine Agency, says qvevri wine is still a tiny portion — less than 1 percent — of the total Georgian output. Yet the number of qvevri winemakers is growing: Today at least 30 artisanal winemakers use the ancient vessels exclusively, and larger wineries are adding qvevri series to their lineups.
“To stand out from the crowd, it’s good to have the qvevri wine. It’s a different thing,” Cholobargia says. But, he adds, increasingly, qvevri are not enough to differentiate a winery. “You have to have new grape varieties in your range, a new one even for the Georgians.”