Iago Bitarishvili Cellar

Chardakhi, Georgia

Iago Bitarishvili’s wine cellar is located in the village of Chardakhi and he owns 2ha of certified organic vineyards planted with Chinuri, a very old Georgian grape variety. His winery was also the first winery in Georgia to receive a bio-certificate for both vinefarming and winegrowing. Iago uses natural methods to make his wine. He thus relies on indigenous yeasts and no additives during fermentation, which takes place in traditional Qvevri. The Qvevris are big clay jars that the Georgian winemakers burry into the ground and seal with clay, allowing the wine to ferment and age in particular conditions. Some of Iago’s Qvevris are more than 300 years old, and he remains very attached to Georgia’s wine history, as he tries to work according to very old practices.  
His annual production remains very low, around 2,500 bottles a year, but what matters most to Iago is to produce the best quality wine that is worthy of being a part of Georgia’s wine history. 


Organic, Biodynamic and Natural wine. What’s the difference?

To understand this concept and its various ramifications, it is necessary to keep something clear in mind: before the 20th century and the spreading of affordable synthetic fertilisers, all farming was organic. When the shift to the use of synthetics and pesticides happened, it became necessary to diversify traditional organic farming from the new modern farming. 


Simply put, organic farming forbids the use of synthetic fertilisers, synthetic pesticides, herbicides, or genetically modified organisms. The basic requirements are generally specific and engage the farmers not to use any chemical fertilisers and other synthetic products in the vineyard. It does not prevent the vintner from using the conventional winemaking process after harvesting. 


Let’s take organic farming one step further: Biodynamic. The creator of this agricultural system is the Austrian philosopher Rudolf Steiner, who developed the principles of biodynamics in a series of lectures given in 1924 in Germany. Here lies the foundation of true organic wines, with a strict limit in the use of additives, stringent requirements and at the end obtaining a biodynamic certification.


The previous definitions are usually, and rightfully, associated with it, because most natural wine is also organic and/or biodynamic. But not vice versa!

Natural wine is wine in its purest form, simply described as nothing added, nothing taken away, just grapes fermented. No manipulation whatsoever, minimal intervention both in the vineyards and in the winery. Healthy grapes, natural yeast and natural fermentation, with no filtration nor fining. Sounds easy, right? However, making natural wine is unforgiving and it requires a bigger amount of work than conventional wine. To this day, natural wine has no certification yet.