John Wurdeman & Gela Patalishvili – Pheasants Tears, Kakheti

In 2006 when John was painting a landscape in a vineyard in the Alazani valley in Kakheti, Gela found him as he was driving by on his tractor and this was the beginning to a new adventure.

John, born American, moved to Russia as a teenager and has now spent the last 20 years in Georgia. He came here for the music and art, and got so attached to the country and people so he stayed.
That day in 2006 when he was making a piece of art and Gela, who needed a voice for the wines he was making, had decided that John was the man for this job and chased him down.

And what an incredible job they’ve done together since they started out together in 2007. Yes, Gela managed after being very convincing, some wine bribing involved. John has traveled more than all people we know, together with chefs, singers and other winemakers and practically exported the whole country. 10 years ago you didn’t see Georgian restaurants or Georgian wines all over the hip places, but today, it’s everywhere-and a lot of this is thanks to this fantastic guy!

Back to the wines and winery: Pheasants Tears is situated in the eastern Georgia, Kakheti and is like a library when it comes to Georgian grape varieties. They farm all their vineyards Biodynamic (organically)  and has vineyards in other areas as well where they’ve found interesting soils and varieties. All to be able to show how fantastic and diverse the Georgian wines can be. All wines are made in the traditional Qvevri, which are buried in the ground for natural temperature control. Not all the whites are made with skin, but a big proportion of them are ‘orange’.

The wines are vibrant and full of life, with depth, transparency and very unique tastes.

2019 Chinuri Phoenix’s Tears (Petnat/white)

Soil: Brown alluvial clay sandstone
Grape: Chinuri
Appellation: Kartli
Age of Vines: 2000
Yields: 20 hl/h

Vinification: Fermented with skins in qvevri for 1 month, then must of chinuri grape added 1 month later, second fermentation in the bottle, non degourged, degourge at your own risk!

Extras: Phoenix’s Tears is a special collaboration between the team at Pheasant’s Tears and their fruit and fermenting wonder woman Nuria Renom. Nuria, based in Catalonia has been making Pet Nat’s with John from Pheasant’s Tears vineyards fruit for the last 5 years and those sparkling wines go under the Phoenix’s Tears label, a collaboration of friends for the love of wine!


2019 Tsolikouri Phoenix’s Tears (Petnat/white) Magnum bottle

Soil: Clay, Lime Rock, Chalk
Grape: Tsolikouri
Appellation: Imeriti & Lechkhumi (blend from two vineyards)
Age of Vines: planted in 70’s
Yields: 20 hl/h
Vinification: free-running press fermented in qvevri, then must of chinuri grape added 1 month later, second fermentation in the bottle, non degourged, degourge at your own risk.


2019 Mtsvane from Tibaani (white)

Soil: Sandstone, quartz and brown clay
Grape: Kakhuri Mtsvane
Appellation: Kakheti
Age of Vines: planted 2011
Yields: 20 hl/h

Vinification: Kept on the skins at crushing only for a few hours the pressed into a qvevri and ageing in qvevri 9 months. Bottled in May 2020


2018 Chinuri No Skin (white)

Soil: Sandstone
Grape: Chinuri
Appellation: Kartli
Age of Vines: planted 2000
Yields: 20 hl/h

Vinification: Direct press and fermented in qvevri, aged in qvevri for 9 months. Bottle aged for 2 years.


2018 Tsolikouri (white)

Soil: Yellow clay, limerock
Grape: Tsolikouri
Area: Imereti
Age of Vines: Planted in 1975
Yields: 20 hl/h
Vinification: Destemmed and direct press with 2-3 hours of skin maceration. Fermentation and ageing in qvevri. Bottled in May 2019


2019 Khikhvi (orange)

Soil: Sandstone, quartz and brown clay
Grape: Khikhvi
Appellation: Kakheti
Age of Vines: planted 2011
Yields: 20 hl/h

Vinification: Destemmed and macerated with the skins for 3 weeks in qvevri before pressing and ageing in qvevri. Bottled in May 2020


2019 Kisi (orange)

Soil: Sandstone, quartz and brown clay
Grape: Kisi
Appellation: Kakheti
Age of Vines: planted 2011
Yields: 20 hl/h

Vinification: Destemmed and macerated with the skins for 6 months in qvevri before pressing and ageing in qvevri. Bottled in May 2020


2018 Chinuri (orange)

Soil: Sandstone
Grape: Chinuri
Appellation: Kartli
Age of Vines: Planted in 2000
Yields: 15 hl/h

Vinification: 20 % whole bunch and 80% destemmed fermentation with the skins for 6 weeks. After that it was pressed and aged in qvevri. Bottled in May 2019.


2019 Vardesperi Rkatsiteli (Macerated pink)

Soil: Sandstone, quartz and brown clay
Grape: Vardesperi Rkatsiteli
Appellation: Kakheti
Age of Vines: planted 2011
Yields: 20 hl/h

Vinification: Destemmed and macerated with the skins for 1 week to 10 days in qvevri before pressing and ageing in qvevri. Bottled in May 2020


2019 Vardesperi Rkatsiteli Phoenix’s Tears (Petnat/rosé)

Soil: Brown alluvial clay with quartz and sandstone
Grape: Vardesperi Rkatsiteli
Appellation:Kakheti (Tibaani)
Age of Vines: 2011
Yields: 20 hl/h
Vinification: free-running press fermented in qvevri, then must of chinuri grape added 1 month later, second fermentation in the bottle, non degourged, degourge at your own risk!


Soif da Vsvam 2019 (red)

Soil: Volcanic, Basalt
Grape: 16 Indigenous varietals from Meskheti with Khikhvi and Meskhuri Mtsvane dominating
Appellation: Meskheti
Age of Vines: planted 2016
Yields: 15 hl/h
Vinification: Destemmed and macerated with the skins for 1 week in qvevri before pressing and ageing in qvevri. Bottled in May 2020

Extras: Soif da Vsvam is a collaboration between Pheasant’s Tears and Thierry Puzelat based on 12th C vine terraces in the southern region of Samtskhe- Javakheti full of volcanic soils, harsh wind this wine is made from more than 16 ancient Meskhetian varietals from the village of Khertvisi.


Chkhaveri 2019 (red)

Soil: Red Clay & Granite
Grape: Chkhaveri
Appellation: Meskheti
Age of Vines: planted 2016
Yields:17 hl/h

Vinification: Destemmed and macerated with the skins for 1 week in qvevri before pressing and ageing in stainless steel. Bottled in May 2020


2018 Saperavi (red)

Soil: Sandstone and quartz
Grape: Saperavi
Appellation: Kakheti
Age of Vines: Planted in 2000-2002
Yields: 25 hl/h

Vinification: 80% destemmed (crushed), 20% whole bunch (not crushed) maceration with the skins for 5 days in qvevri before pressing and ageing in qvevri. Bottled in May 2019.


Chacha (or Georgian breakfast)

Skins and wine (so this is a mix between marc and fine) that’s left in the qvevri after racking was single distilled in a 150 liter copper pot still heated by woodfire. Both head and tail taken away, so high viscosity and intense flavors. Aged for 3 years in old oak barrels.