Country Location: Georgia
The people. Beka Gotsadze of Gotsa wants people to visit his family winery high up in the hills of the Asureti Valley —4200 feet above sea level— to break bread, drink wine and sing! Asureti is an ancient village in the foothills of Georgia, about 30 minutes away from Tbilisi, reachable by a nearly impassible dirt road. During deep ploughing of the vineyards in 2005 a bronze sword was found dating to around 2000 BC, proving continuous inhabitation of this area for at least 4,000 years. Wine is a family tradition and it is Beka's intention to preserve it. The whole family participates.
In the vineyard. Beka is an energetic architect infatuated with the nature of the vineyard and the cellar, unafraid to modify traditions. The vineyard he planted in the Asureti Valley is composed of indigenous sorts from all over Georgia and he obsessively maintains it organically without the use of sulfur or copper: 13 varieties, 25,000 vines, 25,000 bottles.
In the cellar. His exclusively Qvevri cellar high in the mountains where it is cool year round, is two levels, the first for fermentation the second for aging. Beka drilled holes in the bottom of the fermentation Qvevri to allow for gravity flow into the aging Qvevri. Before their burying all Qvevri were wrapped with silicon tubing attached to a cold water spring. Each can be individually adjusted to cool the Qvevri during fermentation. Warm water is then pumped to an indoor swimming pool. In the late winter the flow is reversed, the water warms the Qvevri, and malolactic fermentation is encouraged. Some wines are made with no skin contact, some with, and others with skin and stems for as long as 7 months. Nothing is added, not even yeast, but Beka is constantly analyzing his wines and adjusting where necessary. The intention is to express the best of each variety.
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