A visit to Gravner is not something that happens every day. While Josko Gravner earned his reputation in 1980’s after he traveled to California and was disgusted by the use of chemicals and consequently started to re-think his wine making.
As a result, Gravner decided from then on to adopt a natural approach and he discovered that until 1000AD wine was made in clay amphorae pots.
Before the abandonment of wood proceeded fermentation in steel, a material that is the antithesis of unnaturalness because it’s a conductor, an electromagnetic charge does not allow the wine to breathe. Then the use of the barrel, a container that hides the terroir, and finally an unsatisfactory mix of both steel that wood eventually led to clay and wood.
The turning point came in 1996, when a hailstorm destroyed more than 90% of his grapes. With few hectoliters available, he decided to experiment with long maceration on the skins, yeasts, minimal use of sulfur dioxide.
After the harvest of 1997, through a friend he purchased a clay jar and he makes wine in clay. But these jars are not just clay, they are sealed with a bees wax on the interior.
Getting a wine surprise in 2000 he went to Georgia for a journey that takes him to the rediscovery of an ancient tradition. And the history of wine is Georgia is in amphorae and long maceration on the skins, typical of the tradition of Kakheti.
Kakehti is one of the cradles of wines since the ancient times. The European culture of wine was said to be germinated in Georgia. This fact is confirmed by the archeological discoveries such as jugs, in which grape stones remain, wine equipment, clay and metal vessels, all that date before 6th-8th BC.
Gravner thrilled by amphorae started in 2001 making wine exclusively in amphorae containers buried underground in his cellar. The wine rests for up to nine months and more in amphorae. A gestation within the earth without temperature control, the fermentation is slow but sure. The low yields and patient work in the vineyard produce great results, thanks to a high-quality grapes and his philosophy.
The work and wines of Gravner are captivated in this philosophy: humility, willingness to learn and improve, sense of duty and respect for nature.