In 2005, eighth-generation Georgian wine-maker Gela Patalishvili came across American artist John Wurdeman painting in a vineyard. In 2007, they co-founded this holistic and dynamic winery in Signaghi. Theirs is a powerfully creative partnership that has raised awareness of Georgian wine across the world. Both are inspired by Georgia’s ancient but vulnerable viticultural legacy, and have re-planted many endangered grapes varieties. All vineyards are cultivated following organic principles and with the utmost respect for nature (Wurdeman is a noted landscapist). Wines are made, with minimal intervention, in qvevri, the traditional clay Georgian winemaking vessel of which Wurdeman (a gifted and authentic communicator) is a global champion. The winery has been important in the resurgence of Georgian enotourism. Thousands of visitors from Europe and beyond visit the original winery and restaurant in Signaghi, and collaborative restaurants in Tbilisi. All aspects of Georgian culture, especially song, resonate through the visits and restaurants. (John and his Georgian wife, Ketevan, are gifted singers and supporters of fellow musicians.) Despite the small production, the range of wines is extensive, and showcases an enchanting variety of Georgian grapes. Pheasant’s Tears Rkatsiteli is a hugely successful example of this classic amber wine. The textured red Shavkapito is full of elegant intensity.
Imported into the UK by Les Caves de Pyrene, Pheasant’s Tears wines are available at a number of independent wine shops across the UK, and in many restaurants with a focus on low intervention and natural wines.