From the Heart
Pheasant’s Tears was born from a passion for Georgian culture and heritage. One balmy summer evening in 2005, John was painting in a vineyard near the highway in the Alazani Valley near the village of Tibaani . Gela was driving back on his tractor from his vineyard, and called from the road, “My name is Gela Patalishvili from Bodbis Khevi. Come visit me for dinner.” John asked, “Well, thank you, but we don’t know each other. Why am I being invited?” Gela replied, “If you are painting here, you must be as crazy about these vines as I am!” This was the beginning of a friendship that led to the formation of Pheasant’s Tears. In 2006, Russia began a trade embargo that ceased all sales of wine from Georgia to Russia, causing all of Georgia's winemakers to reflect and make some critical changes. In 2007, in the spirit of innovation within the Georgian wine industry, Pheasant’s Tears was formed with the purchase of a small vineyard in Tibaani. Making wine and preserving and sharing the traditions of this amazing country for us is a labor of love, and this common love has brought us together as a family.
In the summer of 2009, John was exhibiting some of his paintings at the local branch of Georgia’ National Museum in Sighnaghi. As it happened, Erik Andermo, a Swede who was then working for the European Union Monitoring Mission to Georgia, happened to be in town for a short holiday with his family. This meeting became the starting point of a friendship that has deepened and which would eventually lead to the next chapter in Pheasant’s Tears’ history. In early 2010, Erik was offered to become a partner in Pheasant’s Tears. At the same time he decided to set up Georgian Wine Legacy AB in Sweden together with two friends from Stockholm School of Economics (SSE), Jakob Mörndal and Henrik Callerstrand, with an ambition to bring the best of the Georgian wine heritage to Scandinavia and Northern Europe.
John H Wurdeman V:
John is a practicing painter who started off studying at the Maryland Institute, College of Art, in Baltimore, MD, and transferred to the Surikov Institute of Art in Moscow were he finished his MFA in 1998. John first came to Georgia in 1995 in search of singers that practiced the ancient art of Georgian polyphony. In 1996 John purchased a house in Sighnaghi, Georgia, a town famous for the arts with beautiful views and in the center of the wine region. In 1998 John moved to Sighnaghi to live full time. John divides his time between his two passions - wine and art - and finds the two go quite well together. He lives in Sighnaghi with his wife Ketevan and two children Lazare and Gvantsa.
Gela is a dedicated winemaker and farmer with extensive knowledge of the entire growing region of Kakheti, Georgia's wine country. His family has been making wine here for eight generations. Gela's passion for the vines leads him to spend countless hours with them, carefully coaxing the grapes to their peak of ripeness and then personally overseeing the hand-picked harvest. His humble philosophy is to let the natural process work to reveal the essence of the varietal and the depth of the terroir without leaving too heavy a mark from the winemaker. He lives in the village of Bodbiskhevi with his wife Eka and daughter Mariam.Erik Andermo:
Among other things, Erik has worked at the embassy of Sweden in Moscow and at the research department of East Capital, an investment company specializing in Eastern Europe. He is fluent in Russian and has extensive experience of working as an interpreter. Currently he resides in Stockholm and is working on finalizing his university studies in international economics and mathematics--when he’s not traveling in Georgia, that is.
Upon graduation from SSE, Jakob started working with the international accountancy firm PricewaterhouseCoopers, but he has since moved on to work as an analyst at Swedbank, one of Sweden’s largest banks. He is a dedicated wine lover with great attention for details and perfection, both in business and in the wine glass. Jakob and Erik are childhood friends who have seen many parts of the world together.
Henrik brings a lot of creativity to the group and his expertise in marketing is a valuable asset. Apart from his devotion to food and wine, he is also an amateur painter and singer. In the summer of 2010 he started working at Straylight, a Stockholm-based marketing consultancy. Henrik and Jakob began studying together at SSE in 2004. Erik first met Henrik during a legendary students’ trip to Russia in 2006 where Erik was the travel guide.