Gela Patalishvili embodies the 8th generation of winemakers in the region of Kakheti, near the Azerbaijani border. John Wurdeman is an American painter established in Georgia since 1998. Their friendship and shared passion for wine led them to create Pheasant’s Tears in 2007. Georgia is the world’s cradle of winemaking, with more than 500 native varieties cultivated there. Gela and John wish to preserve this heritage. Today, they grow organically about ten of these varieties, all of which are vinified in qvevris, the traditional (buried) amphorae used for vinification and ageing.
Reds and whites are macerated for 3 weeks to 6 months. There is no known gustatory reference with these wines; they’ll whisk you away!
Also located in Kakheti, Alaverdi Monastery’s first cellar dates back to 1011. After a break during the communist period, the monks rebuilt a new cellar and replanted vines.
Today, Friar Gerasim takes care of the cellar and of the wines vinified in qvevri. Alaverdi’s ultra-traditional white wines prove surprisingly deep and strong.
Chveni Ghvino our wine
Soliko Tsaishvili is a retired German teacher from Kakheti, near the Azerbaijani border. Though he never stopped making wine, he can now devote all his time to it. A pioneer in biodynamy in Georgia, he only produces macerated whites. This cuvée is racked without sulfur.
Until 2014, Ramaz Nikoladze used to vinify his Imeretian white wines in his garden, in 4 buried amphorae protected only by a corrugated-iron sheet. His marani (amphora cellar) opened for the 2015 grape harvest. His 80-are vineyard is cultivated with picks and spades, except for a small parcel where the grass is mowed, which doesn’t require any treatment. Traditionally, Imeretian wines are not macerated, given their freshness and lightness. This is the case for Tsistka. The Tsitska-Tsolikouri blend is macerated for several weeks.
Iorgi’s vineyard is located in the very south of Georgia, in Meskheti, near the Turkish and Armenian borders. This mountain vineyard produces light, delicate red wines.
Iago Bitarishvili lives in the center of Georgia, a few kilometers away from the South Ossetian border. His production is tiny – barely 2,000 bottles. Macerated or not, his whites are gems of precision and delicacy.
Zurab, a man in his fifties with the build of a rugby hooker, loves wine and his Guria region which borders the Black Sea. His Chkhaveri is a model of freshness, available in white version (pressing) or as a rosé (short maceration).
Gaioz Sopromadze’s Marani
Gaioz lives in Imereti, in western Georgia. This mountainous region is cooler and greener than the eastern ones. So the wines are fresher and lighter there than in Kakheti. This light red wine stems from a qvevri we selected when we visited him.
Niki Antadze Winery
Nikolos Antadze never loses his temper. His smile reminds of Stan Laurel. He observes, he contemplates, and then decides. He listens, then he questions. Maybe this is why his Kakhetian wines are rounder and suppler than his friends’ wines.
John Okruashvili recently came back to the family vineyard. After a career in telephony, he returned home to take care of the vines his ancestors had been cultivating forever. As if he had been doing it forever himself, his wines are remarkably expressive and precise.
Mariam, a young winemaker from Kartli, is the protégée of this group of rebellious winemakers. She grows by herself a little parcel of Tavkveri, which produces this fruity red wine.