In early-2018 Avondale became the first winery in SA to begin working with Qvevri which was a natural progression from our use of clay Amphorae. And while there are similarities between working with Amphorae and Qvevri, there are subtle, yet crucial, differences between the two. See below:

AMPHORA QVEVRI
Amphorae are made with much finer clay. Courser clay is used in the making of Qvevri.
Amphorae are made with clay from Avondale Farm. Clay from Georgia is used in the making of our Qvevri.
Amphora is shaped on a turn table. Qvevri formed by the Qvevri Master’s hand where he walk around the vessel and work in segments of 10 to 20cm wide depending on which time of the year it is. In Summer they build up to 20cm because it’s warmer and dries quicker and in Winter up to 10cm. These segments get added per day or every second day depending how quick the clay dries.
Fired at higher temperature – between 1200 and 1400 degrees. Fired at lower temperature – between 900 to 1100 degrees.
Fired in a kiln using paraffin burners and takes 4 to 5 days. Fired with wood for 7 to 10 days.
Amphora gets no coating on the inside or outside. Qvevri coated with beeswax on the inside when it cools down after firing so that it draws into clay and helps to seal the inside. Also Qvevri gets a lime coating on the outside before it gets buried and acts as an antibacterial layer that protects the Qvevri against harmful microbes.

 

Amphora has a base to stand on and is above ground.

 

Qvevri has no base and is buried in the ground to keep if upright. Being buried also gives much needed structural support to the Qvevri when it is full of wine; it also helps with temperature control.
550 – 600 Litres 650L – 1050L Litres
Micro-oxygenation is slower because of the lower porosity (higher firing). Micro-oxygenation is faster because of the higher porosity (lower firing).

Qvevri being buried in the ground, beeswax coating on the inside, lime coating on the outside also has an influence on the micro-oxygenation and will slow this down to some extent.

  • Clean and bright fruit flavours on nose and palette.
  • Good clean acidity which is there from start to finish but well integrated.
  • Supple tannins from the micro-oxygenation.
  • Has minerality from the Amphora contact and the absence of wood.
  • Overall very vibrant and lively wine
  • Clean and bright fruit flavours and a clear minerality/earthiness from Qvevri on the nose and palette.
  • Good acidity which is there from start to finish but well integrated.
  • Supple tannins from the micro-oxygenation
  •  Has an earthiness from the Qvevri contact and the absence of wood.
  • Overall very vibrant and lively wines.
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