A field guide to clay vessels

Burying qvevri in the Iberieli cellar

Amphora, qvevri, talha, tareco, tinaja, pithari, karas – what’s the difference? Julia explains in a round-the-world tour of earthenware vessels designed for winemaking. Above, Iberieli's Zurab Topuridze oversees the burying of qvevri in his cellar in Kakheti, eastern Georgia.

Clay jars may have been the only option for Romans and Greeks in classical antiquity – much better than animal skins – but today an increasing number of winemakers are entrusting at least some of their treasures to jars of clay.

This was underlined by a seminar and tasting last month in Porto, part of the annual Simplesmente … Vinho event...