Last year a fire destroyed the home and vineyards of Georgian-based winemaker John Wurdeman. To help Wurdeman and his family rebuild their business in the former Soviet state, Arbory Bar and Eatery is hosting a four-course, Georgian-inspired fundraising lunch.
Wurdman’s wines – sold under the label Pheasant’s Tears – feature on Arbory’s wine list. They’re made using an 8000-year-old technique of fermenting the grapes underground in clay pots, which keeps the temperature of the wines stable as they ferment. It also gives the wines a unique flavour and texture.
“A lot of wine experts from all over the world have been going to Georgia to learn about these wines and techniques,” says Arboy’s wine director, Raul Moreno Yague. “They’re inspired by this minimalistic approach – the authenticity, the energy, the concentration, and the purity of these wines”.
The story goes that Wurdeman, an American who travelled to Europe to paint and learn about traditional music, became enchanted with Georgian culture. On his travels, he befriended a winemaker who suggested they start a winery that upholds millennium-old winemaking traditions. This is what Pheasant’s Tears has come to represent: the renewal of the ancient, and the appreciation for cultivated produce.
Arbory is providing an opportunity to try these wines at the Friends of Pheasant’s Tears fundraising lunch. The event will be co-hosted by Georgian-born food writer and personality Alice “In Frames” Zaslavsky, who also sees it as opportunity to bring her culture and cuisine to Melbourne.
“Georgian food is special,” she says. “It's a melting pot of East and West – garlic, coriander, spices, cheeses and chargrilled meats.”
“The thing about Pheasant’s Tears is it’s not just a winery,” says Zaslavsky. “I think it’s actually symbolic of the producer’s approach to making something world class, and that idea of the soil and the provenance of where something is from.”