The traditional clay amphora in which wine has been made in Georgia for many thousands of years, the qvervi, has become Georgia's first non-food product to receive protection of origin.
As the Ministry of Agriculture reports, this legally establishes Georgia as the place of origin of the qvevri and classifies it as a protected geographical indication. The shapes, volumes and production of the vessel are also bindingly defined. The Georgian system of origin is based on the European system with the categories PGI (Protected Geographical Indication, German: g.g.A.) and PDO (Protected Designation of Origin, German: g.U.).
The Chairman of the National Intellectual Property Centre of Georgia (Sakpatenti) Mindia Davitadze explains: "Georgia is the archaeologically proven birthplace of wine, and Georgians have been producing wine in qvevris continuously for 8,000 years, and most of it is still produced according to ancient practices. Therefore, the awarding of origin protection was a natural decision."
Above all, the rising popularity of amphora wines in wine countries around the world prompted Georgia to take the step, according to the Minister of Environmental Protection and Agriculture, Levan Davitashvili: "With the rising popularity of orange and natural wines, the demand for Qvevri wine is increasing in Georgia and internationally. In the last five years, for example, exports of Qvevri wine to the USA increased by an average of over 34 percent. Now even wines made from Qvevris are produced there (as well as in Italy, Slovenia and many other countries). The new PGI should further increase the overall demand for Georgian wine, as well as its value."
Georgian Qvevri is in fact proven to be more than 8,000 years old, making the country, along with Armenia, one of the oldest wine-producing regions in the world. Qvevris can hold volumes from 50 to 4,000 litres. They are dug into the ground, in which wine is fermented as well as aged and stored, for which the amphora is usually sealed as airtight as possible with clay. Long contact with the skins produces, for example, amber-coloured white wines with a pronounced tannin structure, which are probably considered the first orange wines in the world. Since 2013, qvevris has been registered as a Unesco World Heritage Site. aw