BYOB: History of Wine Transportation P2

Before wine making stainless steel barrels, we found many ways to store and transport wine. For the second installment of our brief history of transporting wine, we present the oldest wine vessel archeologists have discovered: the kvevri.

The Kvevri

Kvevri (or qvevri) wine jars

Kvevri (or qvevri) wine jars

The Kvevri was invented in Georgia around 6,000 BC and, to be honest, was probably not used for wine transportation, but for temperature controlled storage. Some historians speculate that kvevri were used for transporting wine, but due to the size of the vessels and their lack of any clear handle, it is unlikely. Ancient Georgians would bury these large, beeswax coated, earthenware vessels into the ground to ensure their wine collections were climate controlled.

However, before being used for storage, kvevri were used in every stage of wine production. Georgians used kevri for grape crushing, fermentation, aging, you name it. Once the primary fermentation was complete and the wine was produced, the kvevri was sealed with a large stone and left undisturbed for up to two years. The resulting wine was highly tannic.

According to Newsweek, a few Georgian and Italian wineries have returned to the kvevri method of wine production, so if you are clamoring for a taste of those ancient tannins, they are still in production.