JOHN H. WURDEMAN
WINERY OWNER, Pheasant's Tears + TOUR OPERAToR, Living Roots
John was born into a family of artists in 1975 in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Growing up he was fascinated by nature, art and music. John finished high school early to pursue painting professionally at the Maryland Institute, College of Art in Baltimore, MD, only to continue with a Master’s in Fine Art at the Surikov Institute in Moscow.
John was fascinated by traditional folk music from around the world especially Caucasus Georgian traditional polyphony, which led him to travel to this relatively unknown country in 1995. In 1996 he returned, bought a home and a deep love was founded between him and his adopted homeland. In 1998, John returned to Georgia after completing his Master’s degree in Moscow, to paint and collect music.
After many years of collecting songs in remote villages, John became interested in how wine and culinary traditions played into the ethnic fabric of Georgia.
In 2007, Pheasant’s Tears winery was founded 10 years later, to focus on bringing back almost-lost grape varieties in Georgia and celebrating the use of the ancient Georgia wine vessel the Qvevri. John soon realized that culinary traditions kept alive in the villages needed to be nurtured - fermented vegetables, cheese starters, bread mothers - all these unique methods needed to be learnt, understood and taught to others, which gave birth to Pheasant’s Tears restaurant in Sighnaghi and later Ghvino Underground wine bar, as well as Azarphesha and Poliphonia natural wine restaurants in Tbilisi, culminating in the newest project at his Tibaani vineyard, the Crazy Pomegranate. To help organize the amount of guests coming he co-founded Living Roots a boutique wine and culinary focused tour operator, with which he shares 20 years of his cultural, wine and culinary discoveries with guests from around the world.