Appears in

Oxford Companion to Wine

Oxford Companion to Wine

By Jancis Robinson

Published 2006

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qvevri, uniquely georgian clay vessel used for fermentation and ageing of red and white wines for many centuries, especially, but by no means exclusively, in Kakheti in the east. The rounded, wide-mouthed earthenware jars vary enormously in size, from 50 l for a family’s domestic production to 700–4,000 l for commercial use, the larger ones for ageing rather than fermentation. Unlike Roman amphorae and Spanish tinajas, qvevri are buried underground, requiring no temperature control and benefiting from natural settling and clarification. Procuring and then cleaning and maintaining these vessels are the main obstacles to their wider use.