On a fine Friday evening, after a long, stressful week, sitting in In Vino, Yerevan, you take a sip of the Armenian traditional wine that has come to you through generations since thousands of years ago. Armenia has been recognized by historians and ancient writers as the cradle of winemaking. Many stories have been told indicating the fact that wine has its deep origins in this prosperous land. Winemaking has established its roots in Armenia as a timeless tradition of producing world-class wine that has a long history, its past, and present. In this article, let’s try to answer the question “Where is the world’s oldest winery?”, and let’s discover Armenia anew as a sacred reservoir of wine.
One of the legends about ancient Armenian winemaking comes from the Bible. Here, it’s told that after the big flood Noah plants grapevines at the foot of Mount Ararat, makes the first-ever wine, and has a taste of its marvelous flavor. Since then, Noah’s family and Armenian people of that area became the first people on earth who made wine, setting the foundations of winemaking.
Jumping into a more recent and distinct historical recording, let’s see how many people in the world found out that winemaking actually had its origins in Armenia.
In Areni cave complex in Vayots Dzor province of Armenia, archeologists began unusual excavations in 2007. In 2010, they finished the excavations and disclosed an entire area of wine production dating to 6000 years. Moreover, the archeologists of the University of California, Los Angeles, mentioned that it was the most ancient and most reliable evidence of winemaking in the world.
They have found specific materials, objects, and chemicals used in today’s winemaking, especially materials used in making red wine.
To make wine, ancient Armenian winemakers pressed the grapes with their feet, the remnant seeds of which have been found by archeologists.
There are other stories as well about winemaking in Armenia recorded in the writings of ancient historians such as Herodotus, Strabo, and Xenophon. For example, according to Herodotus, Armenians in ancient times sold wine to Assyrians just because it had a premium quality.
There are 6000 grape types in the world, about 2000 of which have been discovered in Armenia, proving that there was a unique wine-making culture here back then. Besides, there are approximately 100 indigenous sorts of grapes typical to the climate of Armenia, such as Areni (Areni Noir), Haghtanak, Khndoghni, Kangun, Muscat Vardabuyr, Voskehat, and so on. To illustrate the importance of grapevines, we can have a look at hundreds of paintings, monuments, or engravings on Khachkars, churches, or Soviet-era buildings created by Armenian talented artists. Many of them have been decorated with gracious grapevines.
Now, it is time to explore some of the best wines cultivated all across Armenia and get to know them a little better. Let’s start the journey!
Located in Vayots Dzor, Areni is one of the oldest and the best wineries in Armenia. You can visit the wine factory and have a tour, getting closer to the elements that make Areni wine even more exquisite.
Since 2002 being cultivated in Armavir, established by the Eurnekian family, Karas is one of the most beloved wines among Armenians.
Van Ardi’s home is Aragatsotn, where the soil is rich in minerals and the climate is perfect for making one of the best wines in the world. The idea of this wine was originated by Varuzhan Mouradian, who decided to follow his creative passion of winemaking by coming to Armenia with his family from Los Angeles and starting the cultivation of wine in 2008.
This wine is being sold in 25 restaurants in Italy and made in the most prosperous wine regions of Armenia, Vayots Dzor is graciously made from the Armenian native varieties of grapes and with local traditions. There are 3 types of Zorah wines: Karasi, Yeraz, and Voski.
Founded in Aragatsotn, Armenia Wine Company has become the symbol of Armenian modern winemaking and has produced premium quality wines since 2008. The mesmerizing taste of the company’s wines instantly speaks about its quality and the dedication of its founders to creating something great. It’s a product made by mixing ancient traditions with cutting-edge technology.
During recent years, Armenian winemaking became the center of the world’s oenophiles’ attention. Armenian winemaking traditions have been preserved and are used today to make the most aromatic and high-quality wines of Armenia.
Nowadays, Armenian winemaking is conquering new heights, crossing the borders of Armenia, and gaining recognition worldwide. It’s being rediscovered and reevaluated by not only its people, but also by foreigners thanks to different wine festivals organized in Armenia every year, such as the annual Areni Wine Festival, or the Yerevan Wine Days.
Armenian wine is gaining more recognition thanks to its unique taste and quality. People in Armenia are starting to love visiting places where Armenian wine is served, setting the foundations of a new wine-making and wine-drinking culture. In Yerevan, you can visit many unique places where the best Armenian wine is served and where you can truly feel Armenia as a sacred reservoir of wine. It’s your time to create memories celebrating Armenian fine wine, and having a sip or two of that tasty pure drink!