Vineyards of Armenia
Wine region
Sub-regionsArmavir Province
Ararat Province
Vayots Dzor

In Artsakh:

Growing seasonCold snowy winters
Warm, dry, sunny summers
Climate regionContinental
Heat unitsRegion III, IV, V
Precipitation (annual average)400–600 mm
Soil conditionsVolcanic soil
Total area29,800 km2 (12,000 sq mi)
Size of planted vineyards1,459 km2 (1,000 sq mi)
Ranked 11th
Varietals producedAreni,[2] Kangun, Voskehat,[3] Vitis vinifera, Pinot noir, Pinot blanc, Aligoté, Madrasa (grape)

Armenian wine is wine made in Armenia and the Armenian-populated Republic of Artsakh, in the region of South Caucasus. Armenia is one of the oldest wine producing regions of the world. In particular, the oldest known winery, Areni-1 winery, was found in Armenia's Areni region, which is still known for its wine production and endemic grapes.


Celebration of the holiday Khaghoghorhneq at Etchmiadzin, near the gate of Saint Gregory and the opean-air altar
Areni-1 cave entrance
Urartian wine pottery

Since ancient days Armenia has been famous for its wine-making traditions which are still kept in practice to this day. The ancient winery found in the Areni cave dates back to 4100 BC (see Areni-1 winery), and is the oldest one in the world found to this date, with the grape seeds found shown by genetic analyses to be those of the already domesticated Vitis vinifera. The written recorded history of Armenian wine can trace its roots back to 401–400 BC, when the Greek armies led by Xenophon passed through Armenian lands and were reportedly treated with wine and beer. These beverages were prepared and stored in "karases" (clay pots). Archaeological excavations carried out by academic Pyatrovski in the 19th and 20th centuries have confirmed that in the 9th century BC, what is modern-day Yerevan was a wine-making centre. Archaeologists have also found wine storehouses with 480 karases in the Teishebaini fortress located in Yerevan. Each karas can reportedly hold up to 37,000 daL of wine. Excavation works in both the Karmir Blur and Erebuni sites uncovered a total of 10 wine storehouses holding 200 karases. These excavations proved Armenia's ancient wine-making culture. A 3rd to 1st century BCE wine press was discovered near Armenia’s old capitals Armavir and Dvin, and another was discovered near the ruins of the fortress of Garni which was used as the summer residence of pagan, as well as Christian Armenian kings.[4] In Armenia, many holidays, like the water festival Vardavar or the grape blessing festival Khaghoghorhneq[5] have their roots in pagan rituals. According to Christian tradition, Jesus Christ shed his life-giving blood, represented during Christian holidays by wine, for the cleansing of the sins of mankind. That is why on Armenian cross-stones, the cross is carved as the tree of life, also called the blooming cross, symbolizing the grape vine or a pomegranate tree. Grapes and pomegranates are also frequently used to decorate cross stones, and are used as ornaments decorating the walls of churches, symbolizing eternity and rebirth. Carvings on Armenian churches and cross-stones, as well as paintings in manuscripts, show what importance grapes and wine had in medieval Armenian culture. Door frames of churches and the edges of cross-stones often depict embroidered ornaments which look like intertwined grape wines, representing the Garden of Eden.[6]

As part of the Soviet Union, wine production increased nine times between 1940 and 1985, while brandy production increased seventeen times, and from 1960 to 1986, the production of sparkling wines increased 10 times. In the 1980s Armenia annually processed an average of about 210 thousand tons of grapes from which it received 14–15 million decalitres of wine. Two million were used in producing brandy; the remaining part was used for wine making. During the 1980s Armenia provided 25% of brandy made in the entire Soviet Union. Three quarters of released production was exported mainly to Russia. Many people today still utilise the same methods used three millennials ago, processing grapes and receive wine in special premises. Nowadays most factories in Armenia use oak barrels to store wine, however many villages and smaller producers still use the traditional karases. Karases are traditionally made out of Armenian oak, thus giving the karases a pinkish color. Wines from local Armenian grades of grapes adjoining to the surface of the barrels from the Armenian oak, give rise to unique a bouquet. This unique combination is very difficult to the point of being almost impossible to reproduce in any other country of the world.[7]

Armenian mosaic and inscription at Jerusalem

The fertile valleys of the South Caucasus, which Armenia finds itself in, are believed by many archaeologists[who?] to be the source of the world's first cultivated grapevines and neolithic wine production, over 6100 years ago.[8] Armenian wine played an important role in the history of wine, and it has been suggested that the domestication of the Eurasian grape first occurred in the mountainous regions of Armenia before moving to the south.[9] During all this time they never stopped making wine. They were one of the main wine producers in the Soviet Union and have since started exporting their wine worldwide. Armenian wine spread to Africa. During the Armenian genocide perpetrated by the Ottoman Empire during World War I, some Armenians fled to Ethiopia, where they cultivated vineyards. Many Armenian reds are very sweet and rich..[10] During periods of Islamic rule, Armenians were the suppliers of alcoholic beverages, such as wine, to the Muslims, who were not allowed to distill alcohol.[citation needed]

Gandzak wine

In 2011 archaeologists in Armenia announced the discovery of the world's oldest-known wine production facility. Located in the Areni cave complex, it consists of a shallow basin used to press grapes, a vat for storage, and fermentation jars. They also found grape seeds, remains of pressed grapes, and dozens of dried vines. The seeds were from Vitis vinifera, a grape still used to make wine.[11] The cave remains date to about 4100 BC – 900 years before the earliest comparable wine remains, found in Egyptian tombs.[12][13] Archaeologist Gregory Areshian of UCLA says, "The site gives us a new insight into the earliest phase of horticulture—how they grew the first orchards and vineyards."[14]

Gregory Areshian, co-director of the excavation and assistant director of the University of California Los Angeles's Cotsen Institute of Archaeology stated that "It's the oldest proven case of documented and dedicated wine production, stretching back the horizons of this important development by thousands of years," [15]

Wine-making in Armenia

Wine production during the Soviet era

Grape harvest in the Armenian SSR depicted on a 1950 Soviet stamp.

During the Soviet Union, specifically during 1930 and 1970, winemaking studies were developed specifically for the sherry type.[16] The production of sherry type wines had a significant role in the development of viticultural technologies of the Soviet Union. In the regions of the former USSR, sherry type wines were produced in Crimea, Moldova, Kazakhstan, Krasnodar, Rostov, and Armenia.[17] Many scientific sources indicate that during the Soviet Union the production of sherry type wines was mainly focused in Armenia.[18] The production of sherry wine in Armenia was established by N.N. Prostoserdov and R.L. Afrikyan, two prominent Soviet oenologists. In 1931 Prostoserdov and Afrikyan discovered that non-hermetic karases (Armenian clay amphorae) produce pellicles. The reason for the formation of pellicles on the surface of the wine was found to be the Sacch.cheresiensis armeniensis yeast similar to those found in Spanish wines. This discovery thus proved that sherry yeast can be found not only in Spanish but also in wines of other countries.

Armenian sherry type wines are made from the Voskehat (Kharji) and Chilar ingenious grape varieties. Armenian sherry was considered a high quality wine and was second in volume of production after Armenian brandy production. Ashtarak was the first sherry type wine produced in Soviet Armenia. It was produced by the Ashtarak Wine Factory, subdivisions of which were situated in Oshakan and village Voskevaz.

Current status

A large number wineries and vineyards are found throughout the provinces of Armenia. Here is a list of wineries/distilleries/producers of alcoholic drinks, classified by the provinces of Armenia:

Aragatsotn Province

ArmAs Winery

The wine produced in Aragatsotn is mainly from the vineyards located to the south of the Aragats and Arteni mountains. The village of Voskevaz has an ancient history of wine-making. Many karases were found in the nearby church of Surp Hovhannes, dating back to the 7th century.[19]

Ararat Province

Vineyards of Artashat
Wine cellars of Shahumyan-Vin Winery

The wine produced in Ararat is mainly from the vineyards of the Ararat plain.

Armavir Province

An Urartian wine pottery known as karas in Armenian, from Argishtikhinili of Armavir, dating back to the 8th century BC

The ancient city of Argishtikhinili located within the territories of Ararat province, was a major centre for wine production. Large storage areas for wine and grains were found by archaeologists within the fortifications of the ancient town dating back to the 8th century BC.[37] The wine produced in Armavir is mainly from the vineyards of the Ararat plain.

Gegharkunik Province

Kotayk Province

Shirak Province

Syunik Province

Tavush Province

Ijevan vineyards

The wine produced in Tavush is mainly from the vineyards of the Aghstev river valley. Modern viticulture in the Tavush region has been developed since the 1950s. However, the Ijevan winery is particularly famous for its pomegranate wine.[51]

Vayots Dzor Province

Vayots Dzor is one of the ancient regions that produce wine in the Caucasus. The wine produced from the Vayots Dzor vineyards – particularly from the region of Areni – is known as Areni wine.[52] Vayots Dzor is home to the annual Areni wine festival launched in 2009.[53]

Zorah Wines vineyards
Hin Areni Winery


Archaeological excavations carried out by Pyatrovski in the 19th and 20th centuries have confirmed that in the area of modern-day Yerevan was a wine making and producing region as early as the 9th century BC. In the Urartian fortress of Teishebaini near Yerevan, archaeologists found a wine storehouse with 480 karases (wine potteries), which hold 37,000 daL of wine. During excavations in the most ancient settlements of Erebuni/Yerevan, including the Karmir Blur site and the Erebuni Fortress of 782 BC, archaeologists found 10 wine storehouses in which more than 200 karases were kept.

Yerevan Ararat Brandy
The cognac cellars of the Yerevan Brandy Company

Republic of Artsakh

Artsakh is the 10th province of the historic Kingdom of Armenia. The region is known for wine-making since ancient times, especially the southern part where the Artsakh vineyards are mainly found. It is home to the Sireni grape variety. The climate of the region combined with its fertile soil allows to produce a unique variety of grapes, at an average height of 800 meters above sea level. Many wine karases (jugs) dating back to the 7th century, were found in the archaeological sites near the village of Togh.

Armenian Wine Distribution in Europe

Armenian Wine Distribution in The United States

See also


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  2. ^ "In Vino Veritas". Asbarez. Retrieved 1 August 2014.
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  4. ^ "Armenian Wine Traditions Rediscovered". EVN Report. Retrieved Jul 13, 2022.
  5. ^ "Խաղողօրհնեք". Surb Zoravor.
  6. ^ Armenian Folk Arts, Culture, and Identity. Indiana University Press. 2001. ISBN 978-0253337047.
  7. ^ "History of Armenian Wines". Winar. Archived from the original on 23 March 2016. Retrieved 21 August 2016.
  8. ^ II, Thomas H. Maugh; Times, Los Angeles (2011-01-11). "Ancient winery found in Armenia". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2024-01-27.
  9. ^ Randolph E. Schmid, "Researchers Find Oldest Known Winery In Cave In Armenian Mountains", The Associated Press, January 10, 2011.
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  11. ^ Hotz, Robert Lee (11 January 2011). "Perhaps a Red, 4,100 B.C." Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 21 August 2016.
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  25. ^ Sarduri Wines, Wine House Winery
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  27. ^ Artashat Vincon Winery
  28. ^ Ararat Cognac Factory AKZ
  29. ^ Avshar Wine Factory
  30. ^ Van 777 Winery
  31. ^ Agatat Gold
  32. ^ Mrganush Brandy Factory
  33. ^ Tavinko Winery
  34. ^ Shahumyan-Vin Winery
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  39. ^ Merdzavan Brandy Factory
  40. ^ Interalco cognac products
  41. ^ Armenia's “Alluria” Red Wine: Produced in Etchmiadzin, but Named After a River in Van
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  43. ^ Byuregh Alco Winery
  44. ^ Flanzh Alco Armenia
  45. ^ Rukar Group
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  47. ^ Helias Wines
  48. ^ Shirak Wine
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  50. ^ Kashuni Vodka in Armenian market
  51. ^ Ijevan Wine Factory
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  65. ^ ArmChampagne products
  66. ^ Armco products
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  68. ^ Hookup vodka cocktail
  69. ^ Maran Winery Yerevan
  70. ^ Independent Armenia's First Wine Producer Receives Bronze Medal in 2014 Decanter World Wine Awards
  71. ^ Arabkir Alco factory
  72. ^ Gevorkian Winery, Yerevan
  73. ^ Mac Alex and Mac Grant whiskey
  74. ^ About Astafian Factory
  75. ^ Koor Wines-Highland Cellars
  76. ^ H2O Vodka
  77. ^ No Problem Vodka
  78. ^ Godfather Vodka
  79. ^ Arssi Alliance
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  82. ^ Artsakh Brandy Company
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