Armenia is a small wine-producing country nestled in the Caucasus Mountains, and it is considered to be the cradle of wine, where wine production, as we know it, was born. It is famous with its brandy production and has a small but flourishing wine industry based on a wealth of autochthonous grape varieties.
The viticulture history of Armenia is thought to be over 6,100 years old with the oldest discovered ancient winery in a cave near the town of Areni. Despite the long winemaking tradition of Armenia, a big part of the 20th-century wine history of the country was almost destroyed, as being part of the Soviet Union which resulted in mass distillation. The majority of Armenia’s 17,000 hectares of vineyards are still used for the well-know brandy. In 1991 the country has gained its independence and has started vigorous reviving of its wine industry.
Even though Armenia is landlocked between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea, its climate remains dry, continental with the typical volcanic soils. Most of the vineyards are planted between 500 and 1700 meters, having a big impact on vineyard microclimates. The country is home to more than 300 different indigenous grape varieties, but the most vastly planted are including the white grapes Voskehat and Garandmak the red Areni also called Areni Noir and the Khndoghni, all of them considered to be the leading varietals of Armenia. Of course, international grapes like Chardonnay, Syrah, Merlot and Viognier are thriving as well.
Most of the quality wine production is concentrated in the three regions, including Armavir, Ararat and Vayots Dzor. Traditionally the wine producers are using the Armenian oak known as Caucasian oak, but the most famous and ancient technique of maturing wines is executed in Karasì which are traditional amphorae, meaning "from amphorae" in Armenian. Some of them are buried into the ground, and others left outside achieving different styles of the aged wines. For the past decade, some of the most renowned flying wine-consultants have become involved with projects in Armenia.
The quality of the produced wine is increasing tremendously and is highlighting the potential of the local grape varieties. Currently, the wines of ancient Armenia have become a trend in the international wine world.