Unesco-Listed Qvevri Wine-Making

Delving Into The Ancient Art Of Georgian Winemaking And Its Global Recognition

The ancient Georgian tradition of Qvevri wine-making is not just a culinary practice but a cultural emblem that has garnered international recognition. This method, deeply rooted in Georgian heritage, involves the use of unique egg-shaped earthenware vessels, Qvevris, for fermenting, aging, and storing wine. In 2013, this age-old technique was celebrated globally when UNESCO included it in its list of Intangible Cultural Heritage. This article delves into the intricacies of the Qvevri wine-making process, its cultural significance, and its celebrated status on the world stage.

The Essence Of Qvevri Wine-Making

Qvevri wine-making is a living tradition, particularly thriving in Georgian village communities. These communities are custodians of unique grape varieties, essential for this distinctive wine-making process. The Qvevri, a vital component, is an egg-shaped earthenware vessel serving multiple roles in wine production. The knowledge of crafting these vessels and the nuances of wine-making are traditionally passed down through generations, involving families, neighbors, and friends. This communal aspect extends to the entire process, including grape harvesting and wine-making activities.

Children in these communities are initiated into this tradition early, learning vine tending, grape pressing, and Qvevri making and firing by observing their elders. The wine-making process itself is meticulous and organic. It starts with pressing grapes and then pouring the juice, along with grape skins, stalks, and pips, into the Qvevri. This vessel is then sealed and buried underground, allowing the wine to ferment over five to six months. This method is prevalent among both rural farmers and urban dwellers, highlighting its deep-rooted presence in Georgian daily life and culture.

Unesco's Recognition And Its Impact

The 8th intergovernmental committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage, held in Baku, marked a significant milestone for this Georgian tradition. Here, the traditional Georgian method of making qvevri wine was officially recognized by UNESCO. This inclusion was not only a matter of national pride but also a crucial step in the international popularization of Georgian wine.

This recognition was the result of concerted efforts by Georgian cultural advocates, including the Minister of Culture and Monument Protection of Georgia, Guram Odisharia. A dedicated team prepared extensive documentation and a documentary directed by Merab Kokochashvili, detailing the Qvevri wine-making process. This effort underscored the global importance of preserving such unique cultural practices.

The Qvevri: A Symbol Of Georgian Winemaking

The Qvevri is central to this tradition. It is a large, amphora-like clay vessel, traditionally buried up to its neck. The fermentation process in the Qvevri is entirely natural, without any added nutrients. After fermentation, the vessel is sealed with a wooden lid and clay or earth, allowing the wine to mature for up to six months. This method results in a distinctive, bright, and flavorful wine, a testament to the traditional Georgian winemaking techniques.

Global Promotion And Cultural Significance

The promotion of Qvevri wines extends beyond Georgia's borders. For instance, Georgian wines made in Qvevris were showcased at the Artisan Wine Fair in New York. This event, created by French wine master Isabelle Legeron, is a prominent platform for natural, organic, and biodynamic wines. At this fair, visitors had the opportunity to taste 13 varieties of Georgian natural wines and learn about the rich history and culture behind their production. Such international exposure is crucial for finding potential importers and expanding Georgian wine's global footprint, particularly in strategic markets like the United States.


The Qvevri wine-making method is more than a technique; it's a cultural narrative that resonates with the Georgian spirit. Its recognition by UNESCO not only honors this ancient practice but also opens doors for its preservation and promotion globally. As travelers and wine enthusiasts explore Georgia, they encounter a tradition that encapsulates the essence of Georgian heritage, offering a taste that is as rich in history as it is in flavor.

More on History & Tradition

Continue Exploring

Planning a Trip to Georgia? Inquire Now