The grapes to produce Qvevri Otskhanuri Sapere Vachnadziani were carefully sorted in the vineyard and then again upon arrival at the winery, berry by berry to ensure only the healthy, undamaged and best quality fruit was vinified. The Qvevri Otskhanuri Sapere Vachnadziani skin-contact fermentation took place using the traditional Georgian method of clay jars known as Qvevri, which has been recognised by UNESCO as a process of important cultural heritage. The alcoholic fermentation lasted for one week, followed by a maturation period of five months without skin contact.
The grapes are grown in the Imereti region in western-central Georgia, where the climate is humid, with hot summers and mild, warm winters. The vineyard is situated at an altitude of 220 metres above sea level, where the vines are trained according to the Vertical Shoot Position (VSP) method and are Double Guyot pruned. The soils are humic-calcareous. The vineyard is planted on slightly inclined slopes, terraces and plains, all of which are orientated towards the north-west and the west. Cover grass is planted between the vines to reduce weeds; the soil is mulched and treated with organic mineral fertilisers. Otskhanuri Sapere (pronounced Otscar-Noori SapAIREE) is considered one of Georgia’s oldest grape varieties and it translates as ‘Otskhana’s colourful’ which refers to the intense ruby colour of its wines.
Vachnadziani was established in 1953 and is one of the oldest wineries in Georgia that is considered to be the ‘cradle of wine’, as 8,000 year-old indigenous Rkatsiteli grape seeds have been found in clay vessels. During the Soviet years Vachnadziani fell into disrepair, but now the vineyards and cellars have received considerable investment. The aim is to preserve their ancient wine culture while combining it with cutting edge technology. With over 1,000 hectares of vineyard, covering the Kakheti region in eastern Georgia and the Imereti, Racha and Lechkhumi regions in western Georgia, Vachnadziani cultivates 25 vine varieties – the majority of which are indigenous. Their exciting and dynamic range reveals all the charm of this historic winemaking land.