Georgian Wine at the Oxford Wine Festival, 2018

Last weekend the Oxford Union Debating Chamber hosted the Oxford Wine Festival 2018, which was featured in Decanter’s “Top 10 Wine Festivals in the World”. gvino UK attended in partnership with our friends from Eynsham Cellars. Many people came to our stall especially to try Georgian wine, some of them for the first time…


gvino UK had three traditional qvevri wines on offer: two ambers (Khikhvi and Mtsvane) and one red (Saperavi). Our amber wines got the most attention, many customers were recommended a visit to our stall to come and try the Khikhvi and Mtsvane. People were fascinated to learn more about the way in which Georgian qvevri wines are made. Very few had ever tasted Georgian amber wine and so their initial impressions were one of surprise: ‘it tastes like nothing else I have ever had’ said a Lecturer from North Oxford, ‘the flavour just coats your entire mouth and sits on your tongue, its delicious’ added another visitor. The Mtsvane proved to be a big hit and a considerable number of bottles were sold to some very happy customers.

Due to the familiarity of red wine, most people firstly tried the Saperavi. They were impressed by the cherry notes, the roundness of the body and the light acidity. ‘I can imagine this would be perfect with a roast lamb’, noted a Spanish sommelier after trying the Saperavi. Later that afternoon, Oli Gauntlett, owner of Eynsham Cellars, and I had the opportunity to try the Saperavi with a lamb and grilled halloumi burger. The full-bodied red cut the through the fatty lamb wonderfully and complemented the salty halloumi perfectly.

However, there were a small number of visitors who had tried Georgian qvevri wine before, included the founder of the Festival itself, Chris Bowling. ‘A lot of rubbish has been imported over the years, but these are fantastic, some of the best ambers that I have tasted’ he commented after trying both our ambers. As the night went on, I took a moment to look around; hundreds of people sipping wine and thoughtfully discussing the flavours. I thought that the Debating Chamber is the perfect place to hold a wine tasting. We’re delighted that Georgian qvevri wine has come through the Oxford Wine Festival debate with flying colours.