The grapes to produce Qvevri Rkatsiteli 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 Rkatsiteli 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 skin-contact maturation period of six months.
The grapes are grown in the Kakheti region in eastern Georgia, where the climate is moderately humid, with hot summers and cold winters. The vineyard is situated at an altitude of 320 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 clay and loamy, which provide good water retention properties to sustain the vines during the hot summers. The vineyard is planted with cover grass between the vines to reduce weeds; the soil is mulched and treated with organic mineral fertilisers. Rkatsiteli (pronounced ree-ka-tzi-TIL-li) is an ancient, pale-skinned, native grape variety. It flourishes in this environment and with its strong resistance to cold weather, it can endure the cold winters. Renowned for its natural, characteristic high acidity, it produces balanced wines even in the hottest of summers.
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.