Italian winemaker who uses kvevri technology - How he discovered Georgia looking for perfection
06 April, 2017
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Josko Gravner is an Italian winemaker, who discovered the Georgian traditional technology many years ago and has been using it since then. He says in order to make a perfect wine you should find a correctly chosen method, which will result in good quality and refined taste. Josko discovered Georgia when he was looking for that one perfect method.

When he did, he decided to implement this method in his home country.

‘Before you taste my wine, I want you to listen to the story about how I decided to use the kvevri method’, - Gravner says.

‘In 1987, while looking for new tastes and new technologies, I visited California. During 10 days I tasted thousands of different wines and realized that it was not the right place to look for something new. When I came back home, I was totally disappointed. I even told my wife that I was fed up with these monotonous wines. The attitudes were not what they were supposed to be. I really believed that they all did everything wrong’.

However, Josko decided to move on and at some point he found himself in the Caucasus, namely in Georgia. He says it was the moment in his life when he began to study a totally new universe. Gravner was amazed by the Georgian technology.

‘It was here, in the Caucasus, that the kvevri wines were born 5 000 years ago’, - he says.

Because of the political situation in the Soviet Union, Josko was unable to stay in Georgia for longer to study the kvevri technology better. In 1991, when the USSR collapsed, the Italian winemaker wanted to visit the Caucasus again, but he could not do it due to civil unrest in the region. Gravner returned to Georgian only in 2000.

‘In May of 2000 I began my Georgian journey from Kakheti region. This is the best place in Georgia where white and red wines are produced. That was the first time I tasted Georgian wine. I remember how they uncovered a kvevri and then began to stir. That was amazing. They handed me a cup that was half-full. I told them I only wanted to taste it, bit when I did, I asked them to give me some more. The wine was divine indeed’.
Josko Gravner is a fan of natural winemaking. He tries never to interfere into the process.

‘Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against computers and airplanes. They are
very important inventions indeed, but the wine eventually ends up in the human body and you must not interfere artificially. We have to respect the nature. I always try to create the ideal environment for my grapes. I cannot deny that the vineyards still need some treatment, but it is important to reduce any kind of intervention as much as possible. The vine is like a human being. It is a living organism.’

Josko also attaches great importance to the moon and its positions. He says some works have to be done during particular lunar phases.

‘Before I went to Georgia, in May 2000, I had already had some experience in kvevri technology. I had a large vessel that my friend brought me from Georgia. In November of the same year, I bought more kvevris but unfortunately, it was already too late to use them in making wine from 2000 harvest. So I kept them in my cellar until the next year. Eventually, the result proved to be fantastic. I was so impressed that I could not sleep several nights.

The main advantage of kvevri is that it gives you the possibility to respect the nature. You don’t have to interfere into the fermentation process. This method was used by ancient Romans as well. The fact that it is still used after 2000 years, proves that it really is very effective’.
Josko keeps his wine in kvevris for 7 months and then moves them to oak barrels. He says it takes 41 months from harvest to bottling.

Josko Gravner tells the story of his family estate in his official website.

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