The world renown American novelist Ernest Hemingway once said "Wine is the most civilized thing in the world." In this blog I would like to talk about Armenian wines, spirits and famous wine festivals which take part in Armenia every year. From early history Armenia was noted as one of the first nations that exported wine.
The 5th century BC Greek historian Herodotus describes shipping of Armenians wine down the Tigris and Euphrates river to Babylon. Also the Greek general Ksenofone mentions this in his book "Anabasis" (401-400 BC ) where he write about the Nairi (old name of Armenia) county through which they passed and about the people that have in their homes wine and a "foreign" drink for guests. The wines were stored in deep jars and the foreign drink they had tasted had grains in it and was beer.
This ancient history of wine in Armenia was further fortified in the 19-20th century by academician Petrovski who revealed more than 2500 year old wine storage with 480 jars at Red Hill in Yerevan. The history of the modern wine-making industry in Armenia started in 1887. The famous merchant, Nerses Tairov, established the first enterprise for wine and cognac production in Armenia.
Nowadays at the same location is the museum of wine-making with a collection of more than 3 000 varieties of wine. There are only 3 similar wine reservoirs in the whole world: in Armenia, France and Italy.The ticket of the museum costs 3000 drams (~ $8) which includes entrance and tasting 3 sorts of wine.
Today, according to official state figures, there are about 40 wine production companies in Armenia, which produce more than 100 types of wine.
From famous wine festivals I would like to separate the "Areni Wine" Festival which takes place every year in Areni village. This festival is one of the greatest opportunities for everybody to discover Armenia. The festival program includes public and professional wine tasting as well as traditional dishes made by the best Armenian restaurants, national music, dances, games and theatrical performances.
Even if you just drive through Areni village, don't miss your chance to stop on the way and take a bottle of home made Areni wine, made of grapes specific to the region, called "Areni".
Every year, there is an International "Wine Master Class" which in 2012 takes place on October 7 in Yerevan. This is an unprecedented opportunity for wine lovers to taste various sorts of wine! I am a wine lover myself and I highly recommend this festival as a way to discover Armenia through one of its oldest traditions, a glass of Armenian wine! Thanks for reading!