Pheasant’s Tears Winery from Kakheti, Georgia - the main region for vine cultivation and winemaking in Georgia. Georgia is the home of winemaking and has a rich, and diverse, 8,000 year old winemaking tradition. It is here where grapes were first pressed and fermented with the hopes to produce a beverage, this beverage turned out to be one of the world’s favourite new drinks: wine.
Despite the long history of the country, Pheasant’s Tears is a very new winery which was only set up in 2006. Yet, it has already come to be known as one of the golden players in the country and one of the leading ‘natural’ wine producers. John Wurdeman is the co-founder and winemaker of Pheasant’s Tears and came to Georgia through both a CD of Georgian music and as a destination to paint. Wurdeman studied both music and art at college, soon moving on to becoming a professional painter. After being giving the CD ‘Georgian Folk Music Today’, he quickly fell in love with the melody and could sense a closeness to the country of origin. Wurdeman came to Georgia, his now adopted home, to eat, be merry, and paint the scenery. It was here that he met with Gela Patalishvili (a multi-generation vigneron) in 2006 - on a complete whim - and they decided to start up a winery together to help bring to the forefront the ancient traditions of winemaking that Georgia was found on. And so they did. Quickly they bought up grapes, Qvervi (the ancient terracotta egg-shaped vessels) for fermenting and ageing the wines in, and so Pheasant’s Tears was born. As you can see in the pictures here; Qvervi are traditionally placed in the ground and filled up with the pressed grapes where they will ferment till done. The wines are then scooped up and out, then bottled.
The focus of Pheasant’s Tears is on rare varietals and preserving the unique expressions of terroir to be found in Kakheti. All grapes are autocthonous to Georgia, such as Tavkvervi, Shakapito, Tsolikouri, Rkatsiteli, and they even make a ‘dream blend’ from 400 different varieties!