Armenian wine

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Vineyards of Armenia
Wine region
Country Armenia

Armavir Province
Ararat Province
Vayots Dzor

Growing season Cold snowy winters
Warm, dry, sunny summers
Climate region Continental
Heat units Region III, IV, V
Precipitation (annual average) 400–600 mm
Soil conditions Volcanic soil
Total area 29,800 km2 (12,000 sq mi)
Size of planted vineyards 1,459 km2 (1,000 sq mi)
Ranked 11th
Varietals produced Areni,[2] Kangun, Voskehat,[3] Vitis vinifera, Pinot noir, Rkatsiteli, Pinot blanc, Aligoté, Madrasa (grape)

Armenian wine is wine made in the Republic of Armenia, in the region of South Caucasus. Armenia is one of the oldest wine producing regions of the world.


Areni-1 cave entrance
Urartian wine pottery

Since ancient days Armenia was famous for the wine makers where original traditions were kept until this day. It is possible to learn about this even from works of such philosophers, as Herodotus and Strabo. In 401–400 BC, when the Greek armies led by Xenophon "were passed" on the country Nairi (one of the most ancient names of Armenia), in the Armenian houses they were treated with wine and beer which was kept in deep dugouts in special "karases" (clay pots). In karases with beer, reeds have been inserted which served for our[who?] ancestors as saltcellars. Archaeological excavations carried out by academic Pyatrovski in the 19th and 20th centuries have confirmed that in the 9th century BC, the area of modern-day Yerevan was a wine-making region. Archaeologists have found, in the fortress Teishebaini, a wine storehouse with 480 karases, which hold 37,000 daL of wine. During excavation in Karmir Blur (one of the most ancient settlements of Armenia where first attributes of life are found out a little thousand years ago) and Erebuni (city-fortress in territory of present Yerevan, built 2800 years ago and became in 2700 the capital of Armenia) had been found 10 wine storehouses in which were 200 karases. Still ancestors of Armenians – inhabitants of one of the most ancient states of the world - Urartu, were engaged in wine growing. In historian certificates, that in thus one of the most ancient states in the world the special attention was given development of wine growing and fruit growing were kept. Often in the historical data which have reached to us manufacturing techniques of wine and beer are mentioned. During Soviet Union period the Armenian wine makers were on peak of the glory.

From 1940 to 1985, manufacturing of wine increased by nine times, brandy by seventeen times, and from 1960 to 1986, the production of sparkling wines increased by a factor of ten. In the 1980s Armenia annually processed an average of about 210 thousand tons of grapes from which received 14–15 million decalitres of wine. Two million from them were used in manufacturing of brandy; the remaining part was used for wine making. 37, 4% of incomes of Armenia in the field of foodstuffs were necessary for winemaking. In 1980s Armenia provided 25% of brandy made in all Soviet Union, 3% of wines (5–6% of strong wines) were necessary on a share of Armenia. Three quarters of released production was exported mainly to Russia. During that period the Armenian wine making has been concentrated in "Ararat-trest". Having visited here, Maxim Gorky has told that it is easier to rise on mountain Ararat, than to leave storehouses "Ararat-trest". There, in the cut gorge, there is a museum of wine making in which collection is registered more than three thousand versions of wines, aged few centuries. There are only three similar storehouses of wines in all over the world: in France, Italy and Armenia. Today many peasants, as well as three millenniums ago, process grapes and receive wine in special premises. In wine factories the material for wine is stored in oak barrels, but in many villages kind traditions of fathers to now are used, and karases are used for storage of materials of wine. Owing to its pinkish structure, Armenian oak allows receiving wines with natural taste of vanilla, chocolate and dried fruits. Wines from local Armenian grades of grapes adjoining to the surface of the barrels from the Armenian oak, give rise to unique bouquet. This unique combination is impossible to reproduce in any other country of the world.[4]

Armenian mosaic and inscription at Jerusalem

The fertile valleys of the South Caucasus, which Armenia straddles, are believed by many archaeologists[who?] to be the source of the world's first cultivated grapevines and neolithic wine production, over 6000 years ago. Although not a large player in the world of wine today[citation needed], Armenian wine played an important role in the history of wine[citation needed], and it has been suggested that the domestication of the Eurasian grape first occurred in the mountainous regions of Armenia before moving to the south.[5] During all this time they never stopped making wine. They were one of the main wine producers in the Soviet Union and have since started exporting their wine worldwide. Armenian wine spread to Africa. During the Armenian genocide perpetrated by the Ottoman Empire during World War I, some Armenians fled to Ethiopia, where they cultivated vineyards. Many Armenian reds are very sweet and rich, and Ethiopian wine has a similar quality.[6] During periods of Islamic rule, Armenians were the suppliers of alcoholic beverages, such as wine, to the Muslims, who were not allowed distill alcohol.

Gandzak wine

In 2011 archaeologists in Armenia announced the discovery of the world's oldest-known wine production facility. Located in the Areni cave complex, it consisted of a shallow basin to press grapes, a vat for storage, and fermentation jars. They also found grape seeds, remains of pressed grapes, and dozens of dried vines. The seeds were from Vitis vinifera vinifera a grape still used to make wine.[7] The cave remains date to about 4000 BC – 900 years before the earliest comparable wine remains, found in Egyptian tombs.[8][9]

This is what CNN wrote:

Forget France. It turns out, the real birthplace of wine may be in a cave in Armenia.

An international research team says it has found the world's oldest winery in a paper published Tuesday in the peer-reviewed Journal of Archaeological Science.:[10] James Owen from National Geographic News quotes archaeologist Gregory Areshian of the University of California, Los Angeles: "The site gives us a new insight into the earliest phase of horticulture—how they grew the first orchards and vineyards"

"It's the oldest proven case of documented and dedicated wine production, stretching back the horizons of this important development by thousands of years," said Gregory Areshian, co-director of the excavation and assistant director of the University of California Los Angeles's Cotsen Institute of Archaeology.[11]

Wine-making in Armenia[edit]

Wine production in Soviet Union[edit]

In Republics of the Soviet Union the development of studying and producing technologies of wines, especially sherry type ones began in 1930-1970. On Soviet Union territory produced “sherry” is better to define “sherry type wine” because of the fact that Soviet has nothing common with Spanish Andalucia and Spanish grape varieties.[12] The production of sherry type wines had a significant role in development of viticultural technologies of Soviet Unioin. In former USSR sherry type wine was produced in Crimea, Moldova, Kazakhstan, Krasnodar, Rostov region and Armenia.[13] Many scientific sources indicate that in Soviet Union the production of sherry type wines was established exactly in Armenia.[14] The production of sherry wine in Armenia was established by scientists in winemaking and viticulture field N.N. Prostoserdov and R.L. Afrikyan. In 1931 the scientists found out that in non-hermetic karases (Armenian clay amphorae) on the surface of wine emerges pellicle, which is formed by yeasts similar to Spanish ones. The authors named the yeast Sacch.cheresiensis armeniensis. They proved that sherry yeast can be found not only in Spanish but also in wines of other countries. In Armenia sherry type wine was made from Voskehat (Kharji) and Chilar ingenious grape varieties. Armenian sherry was a high quality wine and was the second in volume of production after Armenian brandy production. “Ashtarak” was the first sherry type wine produced in Soviet Armenia. It was produced by Ashatarak Wine Factory, subdivisions of which were situated in Oshakan and village Voskevaz.

Current status[edit]

A large number wineries and vineyards are found throughout the provinces of the Republic of Armenia. A winery is a property that produces wine, or a business involved in the production of wine (as well as other types of alcoholic beverages), such as a wine company. Some wine companies own many wineries. Besides wine making equipment, larger wineries may also feature warehouses, bottling lines, laboratories, and large expanses of tanks known as tank farms.

Here is a list of wineries/distilleries/producers of alcoholic drinks, classified by the provinces of Armenia:

"ArmAs Winery"
  • Aragatsotn Province: The wine produced in Aragatsotn is mainly from the vineyards located to the south of the Aragats and Arteni mountains. The village of Voskevaz has an ancient history of wine-making. Many karases were found in the nearby church of Surp Hovhannes, dating back to the 7th century.[15]
    • "Voskevaz Winery", opened in 1932 in Voskevaz.
    • "Great Valley Winery", opened in 1998 in Oshakan.
    • "ArmAs Winery", opened in 2007 Nor Yedesia.
    • "Armenia Wine Winery" (wine, brandy, vodka, champagne), opened in 2008 in Sasunik.
    • "Hayasy Group Winery" (brandy, vodka), opened in 2011 in Voskevaz.
    • "Wine House Winery" (Sarduri Wines), opened in 2011 in Aghdzk.
    • "Van Ardi Winery", opened in 2013 in Sasunik.
Vineyards of Artashat
Wine cellars of Shahumyan-Vin Winery
  • Ararat Province: The wine produced in Ararat is mainly from the vineyards of the Ararat plain.
    • "Aregak Brandy", opened in 1874 in Dalar.
    • "Ararat Winery" (wine, champagne), opened in 1903 in Ararat village.
    • "Artashat Vincon Winery" (brandy), opened in 1905 in Mkhchyan.
    • "AKZ Ararat Cognac" (brandy, wine), opened in 1932 in Avshar.
    • "Aygezard Winery", opened in 1936 in Aygepat.
    • "Vedi Alco Winery" (wine, brandy, vodka), opened in 1956 in Ginevet.
    • "Avshar Winery" (wine, brandy, vodka), opened in 1968 in Avshar.
    • "Yeraskh Winery", opened in 1970 in Yeraskh.
    • "Van-777 Winery" (wine, brandy), opened in 1992 in Taperakan.
    • "Agatat-Gold Winery" (wine, brandy, vodka), opened in 2007 in Nor Kyurin.[16]
    • "Kaghtsrashen Winery", opened in 2002 in Kaghtsrashen.
    • "Shato Arno Winery" (wine, brandy), opened in 2002 in Ayntap.
    • "Mrganush Brandy Factory" (brandy, vodka), opened in 2002 in Mrganush.
    • "Tavinko Winery" (wine, brandy), opened in 2006 in Taperakan.
    • "Shahumyan-Vin Winery" (wine, brandy, vodka), opened in 2006 in Shahumyan.
    • "Shaumyan Alco" (brandy, vodka), opened in 2007 in Artashat.
    • "Sis Alco" (vodka), opened in 2007 in Hayanist.
    • "Ararat Abrikon" (vodka, brandy), opened in 2010 in Ararat village.
    • "Verin Artashat Winery", in Verin Artashat.
    • "Proshyan Brandy Factory-Aygestan branch", in Aygestan.
An Urartian wine pottery known as karas in Armenian, from Argishtikhinili of Armavir, dating back to the 8th century BC
Ijevan vineyards
  • Tavush Province: The wine produced in Tavush is mainly from the vineyards of the Aghstev river valley. Modern viticulture in the Tavush region has been developed since the 1950s. However, the Ijevan winery is particularly famous for its pomegranate wine.[19]
Hin Areni Winery
  • Vayots Dzor Province: Vayots Dzor is one of the ancient regions that produce wine in the Caucasus. The wine produced from the Vayots Dzor vineyards -particularly from the region of Areni- is known as Areni wine.[20] Vayots Dzor is home to the annual "Areni wine festival" launched in 2009.[21]
    • "Getap Wine Factory", opened in 1938 in Getap.
    • "Areni Wine Factory", opened in 1994 in Areni.
    • "Old Bridge Winery", opened in 1998 in Yeghegnadzor.
    • "Ginetas Winery", opened in 1998 in Arpi.
    • "Getnatoun Winery" (wine, brandy), opened in 1999 in Yeghegnadzor.[22]
    • "Vayk Group Winery" (wine, vodka), opened in 2000 in Vayk.
    • "Ginekar Winery", opened in 2000 in Aghavnadzor.
    • "Mets Syunik Winery" ("Matevosyan Wine"), opened in 2001 in Aghavnadzor.
    • "Zorah Wines", opened in 2001 in Rind.[23] The company's "2010 Zorah Karasi Areni Noir" was ranked in the 2012 Bloomberg's top 10 list.[24][25]
    • "Hin Areni Vinyards", opened in 2007 in Areni.[26]
    • "Trinity Canyon Vineyards", opened in 2009 in Aghavnadzor.[27]
The "Yerevan Brandy" cellars
  • Yerevan: Archaeological excavations carried out by academic Pyatrovski in the 19th and 20th centuries have confirmed that in the area of modern-day Yerevan was a wine making and producing region as early as the 9th century BC. In the Urartian fortress of Teishebaini near Yerevan, archaeologists found a wine storehouse with 480 karases (wine potteries), which hold 37,000 daL of wine. During excavations in the most ancient settlements of Erebuni/Yerevan, including the Karmir Blur site and the Erebuni Fortress of 782 BC, archaeologists found 10 wine storehouses in which more than 200 karases were kept.
    • "Yerevan Ararat Brandy Factory" (Noy Brandy), opened in 1877 in Yerevan.
    • "Yerevan Brandy Factory" (ArArAt Brandy), opened in 1887 in Yerevan.
    • "Yerevan Champagne" (champagne, wine, brandy, vodka), opened in 1939 in Yerevan.
    • "Armco Winery" (wine, brandy), opened in 1972 in Yerevan.
    • "Proshyan Winery" (brandy, wine, vodka), opened in 1980 in Yerevan.
    • "Maran Winery" (wine, vodka), opened in 1992 in Yerevan.
    • "Arabkir Alco Winery", opened in 2003 in Yerevan.
    • "Gevorkian Winery" ("365 Wines") (wine, vodka), opened in 2006 in Yerevan.
    • "Alex Grig" (vodka, whiskey), opened in 2007 in Yerevan.
    • "Astafian Winery" (wine, brandy), opened in 2008 in Yerevan.
    • "Jerandevu Winery" ("Qotot Wines"), opened in 2014 in Yerevan.
    • "Highland Cellars" ("Koor Wines"), opened in 2014.
    • "Arssi Alliance" (vodka), opened in 2015 in Yerevan.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Babayan, Knar (May 21, 2014). "Made in Artsakh: Kataro Wine Breaks Into Armenian and Russian Markets". 
  2. ^ "In Vino Veritas". Asbarez. Retrieved 1 August 2014. 
  3. ^ "Armavir Vineyards - Information". 
  4. ^ "Winar- HISTORY OF ARMENIAN WINES". Retrieved 21 August 2016. 
  5. ^ Randolph E. Schmid, "Researchers Find Oldest Known Winery In Cave In Armenian Mountains", The Associated Press, January 10, 2011.
  6. ^ "Archaeologists discover world's oldest wine press in Armenia". 12 January 2011. Retrieved 21 August 2016. 
  7. ^ Hotz, Robert Lee. "Perhaps a Red, 4,100 B.C.". Retrieved 21 August 2016. 
  8. ^ "World's oldest winery discovered in Armenian cave". Retrieved 21 August 2016. 
  9. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2015-12-08. Retrieved 2015-11-01. 
  10. ^ Earliest Known Winery Found in Armenian Cave
  11. ^
  12. ^ "Sherry wine in Armenia"
  13. ^ "Soviet sherries"
  14. ^ "USSR Wine Production"
  15. ^ About the Voskevaz Winery
  16. ^ Agatat Gold
  17. ^ Alekseyev, V. P. (1968). Contributions to the archaeology of Armenia. Peabody Museum. p. 15. Retrieved 9 December 2012. 
  18. ^ Merdzavan Brandy Factory
  19. ^ Ijevan Wine Factory
  20. ^ Areni, the winemakers' country
  21. ^ Areni wine festival
  22. ^ About Getnatoun wine factory
  23. ^ Zorah Wines: Our story
  24. ^ Armenian Wine Makes Bloomberg's Top 10 List
  25. ^ Armenia's best wineries
  26. ^ About Hin Areni Vinwyards
  27. ^ Trinity Canyon Vineyards