Founded in 2007, Pheasant's Tears was set up to revive the ancient traditions of Georgian winemaking. The vineyard plantings flow down the slopes of the eastern Georgian Kiziqi province overlooking the Alazani Valley and snow-capped Caucasus Mountains. The Pheasant's Tears principal site is located near the village of Tibaani in the shadow of the 6th-century Monastery of St. Stephen.
All of the wines at Pheasant's Tears are fermented and aged in qvevri, a unique Georgian vessel used to ferment and store wine. Qvevri were the first vessels ever to be used for wine fermentation, with archaeological finds dating back to 6000 BC. Qvevri are clay vessels lined with beeswax and completely buried under the ground where the temperature stays even throughout the year, allowing the wines to ferment in the natural coolness of the earth. Pheasant's Tears qvevri vary in age but, some date back to the mid 19th C. We built our cellar in the vineyard itself to minimize the damage to the grapes in transportation, allowing us to harvest and press before the hot hours of the sun. It is usually a question of hours before the harvested grapes are already pressed and in the cool qvevri. In accordance with Georgian traditional winemaking methods, the ripest of stems are added to the grape skins, juice and pits, for both our reds and our whites. The maceration time depends on varietal and the size of the qvevri and varies between 3 weeks and 6 months.
Since all of their wines are aged exclusively in qvevri, no flavours are imparted from oak barrels. What some might consider a lack of oak we view as an opportunity to let the quality of the grapes and the resulting wine shine through. Several of our 2009 varietals are being bottled for the first time in over a hundred years. Let Pheasant's Tears introduce you to ancient varietals made in the vibrant Georgian tradition.