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John Wurdeman & Gela Patalishvili

Pheasant Tears, Georgia

The Pheasant Tears winery was founded in 2007 but its two co-founder met in 2005. John Wurdeman was an American painter who settled down in Georgia in 1998 and Gela Patalishvili had already been a winegrower for many years, as most of her family members. The two decided to work together and bought the Saperavi vineyards where they have implemented traditional and organic growing methods since the beginning. Their work and the efforts they put into their farming practices are a proof of their commitment to the protection of the environment and the Georgian wine tradition. John and Gela are particularly proud of their vines because most of them are forgotten Georgian grape varieties they brought back to life and now vinify with respect to the traditional methods. Indeed, in addition to their dedication to preserving the environment, the Pheasant Tears winery also uses millennial techniques and winemaking processes that have remained unchanged for thousands of years. 

All of their wines are fermented and aged in qvevri, clay vessels lined with organic beeswax and buried in the earth. The fermentation only uses naturally occurring yeasts and Gela keeps a painstaking attention to achieve wines of character and sophistication deeply rooted in the richness of the Georgian soil and the Georgian culture. As an ultimate proof of their attachment to this tradition, their name comes from a Georgian tale in which the hero claims that only a wine beyond measure could make a pheasant cry tears of joy. With each bottle that leaves their hands, they strive to meet that ancient standard.


Kakheti, Georgia 




23 hectares


Lime rock, chalk and dark clay on the surface, on a deeper sandy loam mixed with gravel

Varieties cultivated:

Chinuri, Mtsvane, Kisi, Tsolikauri, Rkatsiteli, Shavkapito, Tavkveri, Saperavi, and a brandy, Georgian chacha

Yields/Annual production:


Age of vines:



Organic certified since 2010, wines age in qvevri, following Georgia’s traditional winemaking methods.


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