by Alice Feiring
During my last trip to Georgia, the country was in the middle of harvest and Iago Bitarishvili (Iago's wine) had a big problem.
He needed help cleaning qvevri.
This is one of the most important tasks when working with those big vessels. Without a proper and throrough cleaning the resulting wines would surely be a mouse bomb.
But there were few takers to lend a hand. "I go to the square and ask the boys and men. I will pay good money. But no one wants to help," Iago lamented.
I looked at Jeremy, a game sommelier newly off the boat from Chicago. He was there to take on the wine director duties for Arzapesha, the new wine restaurant in Tbilisi. "Well, Jeremy?"
He was valiant. "Don't pay me," he insistent, "just let me help."
Iago was not taking this seriously. It took some seriously nagging on our parts to get him to take the gift (Georgians are much better at giving than receiving.) In the end he jumped into the qvevri to give a demonstration on how the job gets done in a 'jump in and clean,' sized vessel.