Traditional kvevri opening

While traversing across all of Georgia for a new wine book, I saw many things and then, when I arrived to the “Ancestral Wine Cellar” in Kakheti, I saw a few more.

The Sagvareulo family who own this 19th century cellar have done heavy renovations to it which included restarting the production of wine. As was the general theme of that day wherein we ended up visiting six cellars in the region, we were late. While my assistant called ahead to apologize for this, we thought we were just running late for a meal with the family. It turned out to be a great deal more as once we walked into the old cellar for a quick view and walked out, a men’s choir started belting out traditional Georgian songs.

This followed us as we walked through all the parts of this quite wonderful home and then arrived to a fully traditional serving of wine from the kvevri, ladled out with the azarphesha which was a traditional wine serving “spoon” for those in the nobility.

The act of all this you can fully view in the video above. It doesn’t really do it justice as the entire evening was elaborate and well-articulated making my lateness ever the more embarrassing. Thankfully, my hosts were simply able to state, “The important thing is that you are here.” And with that, we devoured a massive supra which was quite easily one of the best I had during this lengthy trip across the country.

As to the wine itself? Excellent. The whites they produce are beautiful interpretations of the native Georgian grapes, especially the Khikhvi. It was a damned shame I was driving as I had to really watch how much I imbibed. The of course when you leave, they have you light a kvevri bonfire which was pretty cool as well.