In our modern world, where the technology develops at the speed of light, for some the progress means revisiting old traditions. Such is the case for agriculture, in which farming the land as well as processing the harvest is based on ancestral methods. Today, the advancement in the field is associated with minimum intervention in nature’s processes.
Biodynamic farming is an alternative ecological approach to agriculture. Similar to organic or integrated agricultural principles it is based on the concept of eco-farming eliminating the use of chemical fertilizers and preparations. According to this holistic approach, a healthy and beneficial harvest can only be obtained through harmony with nature and the ecosystem. The method views the farm as a single organism, comprised of a continuous cycle in which everything is interrelated. Here the plant or animal illness is perceived not as a manifestation of one particular disease but as an alert signaling the need for the treatment of the whole organism. The farming from planting and cultivation to processing and harvest is linked to the natural phenomena of the lunar cycle.
Despite the fact that after 1920s such methods in farming was widely spread across Europe, at a certain stage the industrial movement had pushed it out. Over time, interference in the natural environment and rapid industrial developments have greatly damaged our planet. Generally in agriculture and especially in viticulture the issue of healthy soil has become a serious concern. While pesticides and various chemicals fight plant diseases, they destroy the ecosystem that is vital for its natural development. All this, together with the systemic preparations that artificially nourished the vines with chemicals, have degraded the quality of vines, grapes and hence the wine.
Unlike conventional methods in winemaking, the natural wine movement only accepts the use of natural fertilizers, wild yeast fermentation and harvesting the grapes by hand. Those who adhere to these principles believe that this is the only method that results in an ecological and healthy product. Today, more and more scientists and farmers are turning back towards the roots, that is to using only natural methods in agriculture.
For our guests we have selected three wineries that offer eco-friendly natural wines:
Alaverdi Monastery Cellar
The Alaverdi Monastery Cellar is a brand counting a millennium. The monks have been making wine in the cellar as yearly as in the 11th century. The remains of a wine cellar and qvevris of various sizes, dating back to the 8th-10th centuries, were discovered by archeologists in the garden of one of the most fascinating monuments of Georgian religious architecture.
Qvevri is a clay vessel used for winemaking, the method is as old as the Georgian wine itself, and Georgia as you already know is the homeland of wine. The theory has been backed up with archeological findings, such as Neolithic-era wine vessels, cups, grape pips and the Bronze Age statues. The Georgian method of fermenting, storing and ageing wine in a qvevri stretches its roots to ancient times, and most importantly, the tradition has been kept unbroken till modern days. Due to its unique features the Qvevri winemaking method has been recognized by UNESCO as part of the Intangible Cultural Heritage.
Fifty qvevris with a total capacity for storing 60 tons of wine were found during the archaeological excavations in the Alaverdi cellar. They are distinguished by having a sophisticated shape and a special method with which they were buried under the ground. The monks from Alaverdi Monastery have blown a new life into this ancient winemaking tradition.
Alaverdi Monastery is at about 23 km distance and a 25-minute drive from Lopota Lake & Spa Resort.
Ruispiri Biodynamic Farm
Biodynamic vineyards and farm, run by Giorgi Aladashvili, are spread across 5 hectares in the Ruispiri village of Kakheti. The young farmer received his education in Switzerland and carried on the development of the family vineyards using the modern European approach. He rejects any kind of human-intervention in the nature. The vineyards are grown without the use of any chemical fertilizers or preparations, instead they use natural methods like decoctions made from oak bark, willow, nettle and lily. The wine is made using traditional Georgian qvevri method. The vineyards are healthy and the wine is of high quality. Young farmer says that the land is a living organism and that it should be cared for accordingly. By taking special care and protecting it from damage we result in a healthy product, hence we will stay healthier ourselves.
Ruispiri Biodynamic Vineyards are situated at a 30km distance from Lopota Lake & Spa Resort and you will need about 30 minutes to get there.
In the winery created by an American-born artist turned winemaker John Wurdeman and Georgian winemaker Gela Patalishvili you will come across qvevris of different ages. Apart from the modern ones, they still use those from the 19th century. The winery lies at the heart of the vineyard, local winemakers believe that it is very important to press the harvested grapes within a few hours after picking. According to traditional Georgian winemaking method the stems are added to the grape juice, skins and pips. Local wines are aged solely in the qvevris, hence you won’t find any aromas adopted from the oak barrels. And what might seem as lack of oak for some, is in fact an opportunity that lets the quality of the grapes and the resulting wine shine through.
Lopota Lake & Spa Resort offers numerous wine tours. We recommend visiting our adventure center, where we will help plan a tailored itinerary for you.