Iago Bitarishvili - His Philosophy


3 min read

Iago Bitarishvili runs Iago Winery in Eastern Georgia, where he makes his wines in kvevries (a.k.a. qvevries). Here is a sample of his winemaking philosophy.

"My wine tells a story about the location of the vineyard. About the grape variety. It's a local grape variety. About the technology - it is old technology. And a little bit about me - what philosophy I have of making the wine.

My philosophy of making wine is to understand the way the world is in nature. During all my life, many times I said to myself that people cannot make better that which nature can make. Everything - not only wine. We can walk with nature and we see that everything is better where there aren't people.

Maybe we will lose some more of our grapes in the vineyard but my philosophy is to maximum understand how nature works. And to give just a little bit of help because of the change of the climate or for many different diseases. This is my philosophy in the vineyard and cellar. I don't have a special education about making wine. If you ask me some chemical formulas, I don't know nothing.

Iago Bitarishvili cleaning a kvevri
Iago cleaning a kvevri in his cellar 

The name of the grape variety which I work is Chinuri. It's a local endemic grape variety in Georgia in my region. I work only with one grape variety. And many people ask me why I chose this grape variety. And my answer is easy because I don't have any choice. When I was born my father still make this grape variety and my grandfather also and my old neighbors and during 1000 years in Georgia the grape variety sticks with the place.

Many times in my life it was possible to change my place. For example, I need to buy land and  20 kilometer from my place there was good land to buy. But I cannot buy because the wine will be different. I don't know - maybe better or not but it will be different. And I need to keep my place. It's the same like a cheese cellar: people try to keep these bacteria the same. So you don't change your place because they need to keep this flora and fauna together.

"I think orange wine was first wine not only in Georgia. In the past maybe all wine was orange."

I think orange wine was first wine not only in Georgia. In the past maybe all wine was orange. And only after that it is starting to change the colour. Globalization and technologization and it will be start to be white wine. Because what is the orange wine? For me? Not only history. First of all, the orange wine is when the nature make himself fruit - wine comes from grape naturally. Yeah, it's a natural process of vinification.

When you press the grape it separates the juice. They call this wine ‘wine without mother’. Because orange wine is nature with everything together - the skin and stems. And why do we need the skin and stems?  What we need from the philosophy is to understand how nature makes wine himself without the people. And it's one of the best ways. And what's why I use this technology - not only for my history, not just to continue this tradition. I love this because of the nature of the process and because of the philosophy of the nature. I'm absolutely sure everything is important. If you believe this technology you need to believe everything.

Sometimes when we harvest we will not always we are happy. Because it depends on the weather. It depends on the year. And because also it's important - because not every year is the same. It's not standard wine. We don't need to change because sometimes we are not happy. But we can find the year in the wine. If this year is the good year we will be having a good wine. If this year is sometimes difficult  you can find this in the wine also. It's also interesting yeah? And sometimes we of course, we are not very happy, but we try to wait a little bit to do late harvest. And pick up the grape or branch and all everything together, put in kvevri directly. Just a little bit crush, but not separate nothing."

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