YereWineDays: Armenian Wine Ambassadors
This has been the third year in May where for two consecutive days where Saryan Street air is filled with the aroma of wine, crowds and laughter. For the third year, people stroll about with a joyous mood, their eyes brilliant and beaming. At the end of the day strangers get acquainted, a bit drunk and, of course, happy. This is just one example of how Yerevan Wine Days is a real celebration not only for people living in Armenia but also for guests. On these days, you can be sure that wine lovers from all over the world will gather in one place. The mood of the day is red, pink, white, and some are semi-sweet, semi-dry and dry.
The decision was made: my participation in this event should be a learning experience. I like wine, but I know almost nothing about Armenian wine producers and that needs to be corrected. Before my glass was filled with wine, I asked the factory workers at the pavilions to tell the story of the wine they had produced. As a result, I had 3 glasses of wine and 3 interesting stories.
The first pavilion that I approached was Van Ardi. This factory in 2008 laid the first seedlings in Sasunik village of the Aragatsotn province, and in 5 years began to produce wine. “Van Ardi” means Van Sun. The name is not a coincidence as founders of the company also trace their roots back to Van. In the vineyards of the factory, jazz concerts are often organized. The founder believes that good music is needed not only for people but for the grape seedlings as well.
Wines from founder Smbat Matevosyan were traced back to 1925 in photos. The successful businessman sells all his possessions in Boston and returns to Armenia. In Sardarapat wine orchards were planted, but the dream of producing wine remains incomplete, and the Bolshevik government hampers it. And only in 2008, the descendants were able to restore the vintage grape varieties and carry out the dream of their grandfather.
This winemaking dynasty takes its roots from grandmother Maran of Khoy. In the 1830s, the family immigrated to Armenia from Persia and settled in Vayots Dzor. Here, in the 1860s, the son of Maran set up vineyards in Artabuni, naming them Maran in honour of his mother.
After my tastings, I walked along the street, events, smiling familiar and unfamiliar faces, and musical performances in different corners mixed with the mood of the day.
Armenian and Artsakh winemakers took part in the wine festival in Yerevan showcasing their 200 wines. The participants proudly tell foreign guests that wine production in Armenia is spoken of in the works of Greek historian Herodotus and Greek philosopher Strabo.
It makes you really proud when you remember that the history of wine production in Armenia goes back for thousands of years. Proof of this can be found in the excavations found at Areni caves of grapes and grape vines. This speaks to the fact that this ancient cradle of wine production and is more than 6,000 years old.
And only at the end of the event, you realize the day’s mission was not wine tasting, but to be ambassadors of our Armenian wines.
Photos by Tigran Ghukasyan, Tatev Manukyan
Translator Alice Ananian