Gela Patalishvili & John Wurdeman

John Wurdeman Painting in the VineyardGela Patalishvili and John Wurdeman founded Pheasant’s Tears in 2007. John is an American painter who came to Georgia in 1996. He met Gela in 2005 when he was painting a vineyard. Gela is a winegrower whose family’s connection with wine and viticulture go back eight generations.

Georgia is the oldest wine producer in the world. Archeological evidence of wine production dates its origins here to 7,000 BC. Gela and John work hard to preserve this heritage. Working several vineyards (12 hectares) planted with traditional Georgian varietals,they utilize ancient Georgian methods and organic principles. Their modest goal is to produce healthy, ripe grapes from their venerable heirloom varietals. All of their wines are fermented and aged in qvevri, which are clay vessels lined with organic beeswax buried in the earth. The grapes ferment with their naturally occurring yeasts, and painstaking attention is paid to achieve wines of character and balance that are grounded in the richness of Georgian soil and culture.

The name of their winery comes from an old Georgian folk tale in which the hero claims that only a wine beyond measure could make a pheasant cry tears of joy. Gela and John strive to make every one of the bottles they produce meet that ancient standard.