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The real taste of the Armenian lands in a glass of wine!

Famous to the world as one of the oldest wine-making countries, Armenia prides itself on preserving the millennial traditions of wine production and making. According to a legend, winemaking has come to life since Noah’s landing on Biblical Mount Ararat, after the Great Flood. As the legend goes, the forefather of the nations found out about the wine thanks to his goats and planted the first vineyard in the Ararat Valley. The vineyard was seen as a gift from God, while the wine – was a reward for Noah’s and his family’s suffering during the Flood. However, everything is not just limited to the legends, and myths, that is why let’s together dive into the history and remarkable wines and vineyards of Armenia. Armenian wines continue getting popularity and bringing new awards from every next exhibition. By embarking on a wine and food tour in Armenia, you will have the great opportunity to try the unique wines of the country

1. Historic Remark

It goes without saying that Armenia has a winemaking history of 6000 years. This is not just a made-up number without any scientific and archeological proof. Within the scope of archeological excavations conducted by Armenian and Irish archeologists in 2007, ancient wine-making tools, and grape seeds have been found in the caves near Areni village. Based on the findings, the Areni-1 cave dates back to 4000 BC, 900 years older than the earliest wine remains in Egyptian tombs. The grape seeds were of Vitis Vinifera which is still used for winemaking. However, this is not the end. In the 19 – 20th centuries, the archaeological excavation found 480 wine clay pots in a fortress located in Yerevan dating back to the 9th century BC. In addition to this, the first record of Armenian wine dates back to 401 BC when the Greek Army was reportedly treated with wine and beer. 

Armenian wine-making entered a new stage during the times of the Soviet Union. Nine times increase was recorded in wine production with a more than seventeen times rise in brandy production. Currently, more than 100 types of Armenian wine are produced by 40 Armenian companies in the Ararat Valley and Armavir regions. The regions of Aragatsotn, Tavush, Syunik, and Vayots Dzor are the other four regions responsible for winemaking in Armenia. Considering the huge number of companies and wines in Armenia, we have tried to list some of the award-winning wines and wineries in Armenia. 

Wineries in Armenia

Zorah Winery

Driven by the motto “6000 years of History in every Bottle” Zorah Winery strives to create wines as ambassadors of the land, nation, and ancient culture full of history. Located 1600 m above sea level in the remote village of Rind – the heart of the Vayoc Dzor region, Zorah Vineyards proudly find itself to be the highest winery in the northern hemisphere. The combination of volcanic, sedimentary, and limestone soil and the favorable weather conditions create the unforgettable taste of the grape varieties and their consequent wines. In addition to the international awards and prizes, significantly in 2020, The Times and “Wine & Spirits’ ‘ world-known magazines included Zorah Wines in the top 100 wins of the Summer of 2020. The list of special inclusions and awards is yet to come for Zorah Winery.

  2. Voskevaz Winery 

Located in Aragatsotn province, Voskevaz Winery is yet another amazing winery to visit the vineyards and taste the best wine selection. The castle-like buildings of the winery give the impression of being in a movie set until you do not come across the wine bars. The winery itself was established in 1932 but got a renaissance in 2004. One thing remains the same. To have the purest taste of the wines and keep Armenian traditions alive, Voskevaz Winery keeps its wines in karasses made in the 19th century. 

The hard work and dedication of the Voskevaz winery have been noticed and awarded multiple times both by locals and international professionals. Those include medals from various contests like  “Mundus Vini”, “Decanter World Wine Awards”, “Sommelier Wine Awards”, etc. Voskevaz is a hotspot, where culture, architecture, entertainment, and world-class taste of wine combine.

3. Old Bridge Winery 

Established in 1998, Old Bridge Winery is yet another preserver of Armenian traditional techniques. Having the vineyards located on the right bank of the Arpa River, the winery grows local and endemic grape varieties which have been approved to be the best selection for winemaking. Believing in the statement of “quality over quantity”, Old Bridge has the smallest wine production in Armenia with 10.000 bottles of red wine in a year. The reason is their approach to the business by putting the main workforce in producing, cultivating, washing, and maturing the best grapes for the dream result. This is what makes their wines to be so successful in the competition.

With relatively small amounts of production, out of the eight varieties of red wine, the three varieties – Old Bridge 2009, 2013, and 2015- have been awarded Mundus Vini gold medals. The unbelievable taste of Old Bridge will help you value the value and quality more than the quantity.

4. Armas Winery

Armas Estate is challenging the market with its certificates and awards. Starting from its first appearance in the “Decanter World Wine Awards 2014”  (the largest wine competition in the world) and winning medals, Armas made itself recognizable to the international market and paved its way for other competitions. With the rise in 2007, Armas Estate has resembled real agriculture and viticulture. While its vineyards, crowned with Mount Ararat, are rich with limestone, calcium carbonate, and other ingredients, – responsible for the minerality, taste, and aromas in the product. With its breathtaking views, enormous vineyards, and traditions Armas Winery has become one of the iconic places to feel the atmosphere and taste Armenian Wines. 

Wine and Food

Wine-pairing is one of the crucial elements of wine. The perfect duet of food and wine guarantee having unforgettable dining experience, and feeling the real taste. So, how can we let you have a bad dining experience, especially with Armenian wine and food? That is why we are here to help you to find the best food pairing with some of the best, award-winning Armenian wines from the above mentioned companies.

Which Wine with which food? 

To start with, wine-pairing of Voskehat Red Dry Wine from Armas Winery is perfect with aged cheeses, lamb spicy meat and soups with pork. While Areni Red Dry Wine is perfectly paired with aged cheese, white meats, meat-based soups, and special grilled meats. 

However this is not the end, the food and wine combination cannot be this little especially in Armenia. What about Voskevaz wine-pairings? Areni Noir 2016 from Voskevaz Karasi Collection goes excellent with poultry, grilled meat, barbeque, and meat appetisers in general. While the wine-pairing of Voskehat 2016 from the same collection can be done with lean meat, poultry, and why not steamed fish. Do you want to add more flavours to the food and wine combination? Then serve the wine at a temperature of 11-13 C. Without forgetting about glorious victories of the past, Haghtanak 2017 front he same collection serves the best with poultry, grilled meat, barbeque and cheese plate. What a taste! 

Old-Bridge could not leave the show. For example, their Old Bridge 2017 Reserve and Old Bridge 2015 Reserve wine and food combination cannot be left without Armenian barbeque and local dishes. Yet the wine-pairing for Old Bridge 2013 Reserve is more for aged cheese, spicy foods and red meat. The list bring to the end, the Old Bridge 2009 which wine-pairing differs from the others because of the offered unusual food and wine combinations, such as rabbit, wild rabbit, turkey, meat, wild fowl, duck, some kind of fresh, soft cheese.  

Just a small note:

This is not the end with the Armenian wineries and wines. After an exploring visit to Armenia, the country will be your favorable destination for wine tasting. 

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About the author

By being specialized in the field of Communications, Elen believes in the power of words: even a single word can change our perceptions, impact our behavior and, consequently, shape our world. While her family's decades-lasting connections with tourism made her passionate about introducing Armenia and its hidden marvels to everyone. With her blogs she believes to be able to present the best of Armenia and Georgia and to be as helpful as possible for all the travel-lovers. The writing not only helps her communicate with the tourists, but also to learn, read, discover and develop as a professional. Each time, each topic opens hidden doors and triggers new ideas and fresh topics to write and talk about.