In previous blogs, we’ve explored different facets of the qvevri. We have looked at the slow, incredibly specialised process of how they are made by a small group of rarefied artisans. We’ve delved into exactly how wines are made in them. We’ve even shown how such an ancient winemaking tool is not a luddite’s indulgence – they actually embody an extraordinary feat of engineering.
But there are still a few myths we want to bust. And one of the biggest ones is that qvevri make wines oxidative or engender other faults.
We understand why people might think that. Outwardly, winemaking using qvevri looks pretty laissez-faire. But as we’ve explained, there’s a lot more to winemaking in qvevri than simply bunging some grapes in and hoping for the best.
The complex fermentation kinetics offer a solution to almost every common winemaking fault. Leaving the wine on the lees is risky – the longer it’s left the greater the risk of reductive flavours and odours developing. But in a qvevri, all of the lees, the solid matter, collects in the conical bottom of the vessel which minimises contact with the wine. The fact that all qvevri wines also naturally go through malolactic fermentation stabilises them further. All in all, qvevri present no more risk than modern, high-tech winemaking methods do in terms of making wines oxidative. Myth busted!