First Qvevri Marani & Georgian Traditional Winemaking Museum Launched in UK

The first Qvevri Marani (cellar) and the Georgian Traditional Winemaking Museum have been launched in the UK in a project supported by the Plumpton Agricultural College Wine Department.

Present at the opening were HE Ambassador Tamar Beruchashvili and Head of the Plumpton College Wine Department, Chris Foss, along ith the Head of Georgian Church in London, who blessed the Marani.

The Marani will be open for public visits, lectures and wine tasting events on the weekends.

The Museum of the Qvevri History and Traditional Georgian Winemaking is sponsored by the SHUMI Winery, which sent artefacts and Qvevri winemaking tools for the museum display and will be curating the exhibition.

Henry Mchedlishvili, Georgian by origin, living in Britain since the 90s, founder and Director of the Artisan Cru Winery (the first English Qvevri Wine), started to work on this exciting project 18 month ago. His 2017 harvest had excellent results and Artisan Cru wines are now listed in London restaurants and boutique wine shops.

“For me it’s a great responsibility and honor to work with the Plumpton College wine department. The Plumpton Marani is a unique collaboration of traditional Georgian Qvevri method wine production from English grapes,” Mchedlishvili said.

The Museum and Marani will be open to the public, and guests will have the opportunity to taste SHUMI qvevri wines as well as an Artisan Cru English Qvevri Wines and Plumpton wines made from the local grapes.

The aim of the project is to promote traditional Georgian winemaking technology in the UK and worldwide and to give wine department students the chance to learn about the ancient Georgian Qvevri winemaking history.

This project is managed and supported by the British Georgian Chamber of Commerce and the National Georgian Wine Agency.

The Memorandum of Understanding was signed on January 15 between Artisan Cru, Plumpton College and The British Georgian Chamber of Commerce.

Principal at the Plumpton College, Jeremy Kerswell visited the Marani, and expressed his support and enthusiasm about this project and signed the MoU.

As a part of this project, Plumpton College is planning to launch a winemaking scholarship through which a year 2 Plumpton BSc (Hons) Viticulture and Oenology student will be selected to carry out a vintage in a SHUMI winery in the following harvest. During the Plumpton student’s stay in Georgia, s/he will link up with a Georgian wine student (subject to the SHUMI selection process). The two students will return together to Plumpton by the beginning of October, and make wine in the Plumpton Marani under the supervision of Sarah Midgley, Plumpton’s winemaker. The Georgian student will be invited to attend classes at Plumpton free of charge.

Importance of the project:

The Plumpton Marani and the Qvevri Museum is a unique opportunity for the  students of the winemaking department to learn about the Georgian qvevri method, which  had been added to the world heritage list of the UNESCO.

This is an excellent opportunity to promote and educate students and visitors about the Georgian Traditional Wine making. 

Facts about the Plumpton College Wine Department

The Plumpton College Wine Department is a leading educational body in the UK.

The transformation of Plumpton from a small agricultural college to a training ground on the international wine map has taken place alongside the growth in both reputation and commercial prospects of English wine.

A high proportion of the undergraduates and postgraduates at the Plumpton College Wine Center are people seeking to switch careers and move to the wine industry.

The College started offering wine production courses in 1988 with the arrival of Chris Foss, the current Wine Division Manager, whose mother is from Bordeaux and whose family had a vineyard in the Entre-Deux-Mers region. When he first arrived, there were only two rows of vines, and Chris started teaching six students in a classroom located in the Poultry Department, making wine in Demi-Johns with bought-in grapes.

The Wine Division now has four principal activities:

Four full-time undergraduate courses in wine business and production (delivered in association with the University of Brighton) attended by over 100 students. These are the only undergraduate courses in wine delivered in the UK, and the only such courses delivered in English in Europe. 20% of students come from outside the UK and graduates can be found in many wine-producing areas, all over the world.

The WineSkills industry training project, delivering courses all over the UK to around 500 students a year. These consist of the highly successful Principles of Vine growing and Principles of Winemaking programmes and one-day workshops and masterclasses. The latter are delivered by experts with international reputations.

A commercial wine production facility, Plumpton Wine Estate, producing around 30 000 bottles of wine a year in a fully equipped commercial winery, from 8 hectares of vineyard, much of it recently planted.


22 April 2019 14:18