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Using Qvevri & Natural Wines...Cultural Appropriation??

by TomHill » Tue Mar 27, 2018 10:11 am

Interesting article by AndrewJefford in Decanter:
GeorgianQvervi
on his revisit to Georgia after a 5 yr hiatus.

The one thing that caught my eye:
Jefford wrote:The cultural appropriation of qvevri wine styles by advocates of natural wine, moreover, is the source of some frustration among Georgian wine producers, especially given the variable success rate of wines produced in this way by any but the very highest standards.


It seems like to say that some of the Georgian winemakers are resentful of the worldwide use of amphora/qvervi and the making of natural wines. These are techniques that the Georgians created centuries ago and they seem to feel resentful. Of course, they can thank SweetAlice for pushing this movement. Maybe they'll bar her from Georgia??

Anyway...a rather interesting read.

Tom
Last edited by TomHill on Wed Mar 28, 2018 10:55 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Using Qvervi & Natural Wines...Cultural Appropriation??

by Brian K Miller » Tue Mar 27, 2018 1:32 pm

Do Georgian winemakers use international varietals and standard wine making practices in some of their wines?

Yes?

Then whining about " cultural appropriation" seems really, really silly to me.

Cultural products spread. That's the way things work. heck, by this standard the only wines made in North American could be lambrusca wines and Concord grape "beverages".
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Yup...

by TomHill » Tue Mar 27, 2018 1:59 pm

Brian K Miller wrote:Do Georgian winemakers use international varietals and standard wine making practices in some of their wines?

Yes?

Then whining about " cultural appropriation" seems really, really silly to me.

Cultural products spread. That's the way things work. heck, by this standard the only wines made in North American could be lambrusca wines and Concord grape "beverages".


Yup, Brian. You can find plenty of Cab/Merlot/Chard from Georgia.
I thought their indignation was a little provincial.
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Re: Using Qvervi & Natural Wines...Cultural Appropriation??

by Steve Slatcher » Wed Mar 28, 2018 10:47 am

Not sure about provincial, but a rather silly attitude if true. However I didn't hear anything about this when I was there last year. Who are these winemakers who complain about cultural appropriation by natural wine advocates?

What I did hear was misgivings from a natural qvevri wine producer about large non-natural producers in Georgia using qvevris without properly following traditional methods - by oak-aging after a period in qvevri for example. Could it be that Jefford is writing about retaliatory retorts from some of those larger producers?
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Re: Using Qvervi & Natural Wines...Cultural Appropriation??

by Steve Slatcher » Wed Mar 28, 2018 10:56 am

The bit about tasting standard requirements for exported wine, supposedly to weed-out deviant natural wines, also sounded odd. Why introduce requirements for that reason, but then exclude natural wines by saying it is not necessary for lower levels of sulphur? I thought the requirements were introduced to weed-out adulteration, accusations of which caused a big hiatus in wine exports to Russia. Again, I wonder if there is needle between the natural and large commercial producers in Georgia, and Jefford is getting his story from the big boys.

I am quite prepared to accept that the people I was talking to may also be biased. But on this issue in particular, the story I was told seems more credible.
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Re: Using Qvevri & Natural Wines...Cultural Appropriation??

by Brian K Miller » Wed Mar 28, 2018 1:29 pm

accusations of which caused a big hiatus in wine exports to Russia


I might guess that this was an...excuse...by Putin due to the spat a few years back over ethnic Russian enclaves in Georgia that broke away (see Ukraine)?

Your story does make more sense, though. Big versus little
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Re: Using Qvevri & Natural Wines...Cultural Appropriation??

by Steve Slatcher » Wed Mar 28, 2018 5:14 pm

Most people indeed seem to agree that the adulteration accusations were false, Brian. And Russia can generally get away with banning what it wants, with or without quality checks on the Georgian side of the border. I can only guess that the hope is that they might make possible future bans a little less likely. Doubtful, perhaps, but still IMO a better explanation than any problems with natural wine.

(The ethnic groups in the breakaway areas are various, not really Russian even if some also live on the Russian side of the border. But Russia decided to lend its support out of the goodness of its heart anyway.)
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Re: Using Qvevri & Natural Wines...Cultural Appropriation??

by Victorwine » Thu Mar 29, 2018 8:25 pm

If using the term Qvevri (Kvevri) is a problem just use Pithos, Dolium, or Tinaja

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Re: Using Qvevri & Natural Wines...Cultural Appropriation??

by Steve Slatcher » Fri Mar 30, 2018 5:47 am

Victorwine wrote:If using the term Qvevri (Kvevri) is a problem just use Pithos, Dolium, or Tinaja

Or, to avoid all potential issues of accuracy and cultural sensitivity, "clay jar". Or simply "clay". But that does not sound nearly so impressive or authentic.
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Re: Using Qvevri & Natural Wines...Cultural Appropriation??

by Peter May » Fri Mar 30, 2018 8:50 am

On the other hand... the worldwide enthusiasm for qvevri is also helping to revive a traditional craft once in danger of dying out.


I read that today in an article that starts


Leading biodynamic estate Avondale has become the first winery in South Africa to introduce clay qvevri into the cellar.

Their wine maker visited several qvevri makers in Georgia and says

“The use of qvevri has really exploded on the natural winemaking scene. In fact, the qvevri master who made our vessels now has a waiting list of two years!”.


full article
https://news.wine.co.za/news.aspx?NEWSID=32494
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Re: Using Qvevri & Natural Wines...Cultural Appropriation??

by Steve Slatcher » Wed Apr 25, 2018 7:50 am

I've just noticed this...
https://therealwinefair.com/all-you-nee ... id-to-ask/

Here there is a question answered by John Wurdeman
The word “Qvevri” – does it literally mean amphora or does it derive from something else?

No, it doesn’t mean amphora. Amphorae were often used for transportation, or storage above ground – they often had handles and were not permanent. Qvevri is a Georgian vessel dating back over 8,000 years predating Greco-Roman traditions of winemaking. A qvevri was totally buried in the ground and not used for transportation, it was used for fermentation and storage of wine, and, being totally immersed in the earth gave it naturally stable temperatures, advantageous for both fermentation and storage. It is a vessel unique to Georgia (oldest examples date back 8,000 years) although similar interpretations are found throughout the ancient Near East and more recently, (2,000-3,000 years ago) in Italy, Spain and Portugal. The vessels used in western Europe culture are normally above ground or partially buried. Qvevri usually have a beeswax lining inside and a lime encasement outside. The few European producers that have borrowed this technology from Georgia – such as Josko Gravner – still call the vessel “Amphora” (or Anfor) on their labels, which bothers the Georgians. They feel it sounds like a Roman or Greek cultural attribute whereas this is much older and indeed derives from Georgia. The Friuli/Slovenian producers, including Gravner, bought qvevri in Georgia and learned their open-fermentation, extended skin maceration techniques here, so we hope over time to convince them to call the vessels qvevri rather than amphora!


Maybe that is what Jefford was writing about? I can understand the annoyance about not being acknowledged when your winemaking and wine is copied - a lot more than the copying itself.
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Thanks...

by TomHill » Wed Apr 25, 2018 9:06 am

Steve Slatcher wrote:I've just noticed this...
https://therealwinefair.com/all-you-nee ... id-to-ask/

Here there is a question answered by John Wurdeman
The word “Qvevri” – does it literally mean amphora or does it derive from something else?

No, it doesn’t mean amphora. Amphorae were often used for transportation, or storage above ground – they often had handles and were not permanent. Qvevri is a Georgian vessel dating back over 8,000 years predating Greco-Roman traditions of winemaking. A qvevri was totally buried in the ground and not used for transportation, it was used for fermentation and storage of wine, and, being totally immersed in the earth gave it naturally stable temperatures, advantageous for both fermentation and storage. It is a vessel unique to Georgia (oldest examples date back 8,000 years) although similar interpretations are found throughout the ancient Near East and more recently, (2,000-3,000 years ago) in Italy, Spain and Portugal. The vessels used in western Europe culture are normally above ground or partially buried. Qvevri usually have a beeswax lining inside and a lime encasement outside. The few European producers that have borrowed this technology from Georgia – such as Josko Gravner – still call the vessel “Amphora” (or Anfor) on their labels, which bothers the Georgians. They feel it sounds like a Roman or Greek cultural attribute whereas this is much older and indeed derives from Georgia. The Friuli/Slovenian producers, including Gravner, bought qvevri in Georgia and learned their open-fermentation, extended skin maceration techniques here, so we hope over time to convince them to call the vessels qvevri rather than amphora!


Maybe that is what Jefford was writing about? I can understand the annoyance about not being acknowledged when your winemaking and wine is copied - a lot more than the copying itself.


Thanks for that link, Steve. That is sorta what my impression is on qvervi. Much like "orange wine", amphorae covers a multitude of sins. The tinajas of Jose Padilla are vastly different from qvervi and result in a far different wine.
Tom
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Re: Using Qvevri & Natural Wines...Cultural Appropriation??

by Victorwine » Fri Apr 27, 2018 12:40 am

The ancients used earthenware clay pottery as a unit of measure or capacity.
Nonuniformity of so called "Natural wines" is what makes them so interesting IMHO.

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