World Bank Invests to Enhance Georgia’s Unique Qvevri Wine-making Method

The World Bank has spent 2.3 million Gel ($1, 017,700) to enhance Georgia’s ancient Qvevri wine-making methods by establishing a Qvevri Workshop in the eastern part of the country.

The Qvevri Workshop facilities are being set up in the small village of Ikalto, about 110 km from the capital Tbilisi, with 5,500 m2 allocated to house a museum, an internet cafe, a cultural center equipped with state-of-the-art technologies, and a workshop where visitors can learn ancient wine-making methods.

The initiative, which is supported by the World Bank’s Regional Development Project for Georgia, fosters development of a tourism-based economy and cultural heritage circuits of the Kakheti region.

"Apart from restoring the country’s ancient wine-making tradition, the Qvevri Workshop sub-project will further develop the region’s historic, cultural, educational, recreational and touristic potential. The facility will also aid the local economy and offer employment opportunities to local residents,"  Ahmed Eiweida, the World Bank Program Leader for the South Caucasus, said.

The construction of the Qvevri Workshop building began a month ago. Several senior local government officials and World Bank representatives attended the official laying of the foundation. Construction of the entire site is expected to be completed by September 2016.

The Qvevri Workshop is being implemented by the Municipal Development Fund of Georgia under the umbrellas of the Ministry of Regional Development and Infrastructure, and financed by the World Bank Group.

The centuries-old unique Georgian technique of wine-making is still used all over Georgia, although most often in the eastern region of Kakheti, and was approved by UNESCO in 2013 for inclusion in its list of Intangible Cultural Heritage.

Qvevri is a large clay amphora-like vessel, that is traditionally buried in the ground up to its neck, and in which wine is fermented and stored. During the fermentation process, which occurs naturally without the addition of nutrients, the Qvevri is sealed with a ceramic lid and then buried in soil. The wine is left to mature for up to six months before the Qvevri is opened and the unfiltered but clear wine is ready to be bottled.

Photo shows ancient qvevri at a monastery in Georgia's Kakheti region. Photo by Tamar Kobakhidze/World Bank.

Tamar Svanidze

21 July 2015 12:12