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 was found in Armenia's Areni region (see Areni-1 winery), which to this day is still known of its wine production and endemic grapes.


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 4000 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.

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 millenniums 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 and giving wines a natural taste of vanilla, chocolate and dried fruits. 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.[4]

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 6000 years ago. Although not a large player in the world of wine today[citation needed], Armenian wine played an important role in the history of wine[citation needed], 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.[5] 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, and Ethiopian wine has a similar quality.[6] 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.[7] The cave remains date to about 4000 BC – 900 years before the earliest comparable wine remains, found in Egyptian tombs.[8][9] 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."[10]

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," [11]

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.[12] 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.[13] Many scientific sources indicate that during the Soviet Union the production of sherry type wines was mainly focused in Armenia.[14] 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.[15]

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.[33] 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.[47]

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.[48] Vayots Dzor is home to the annual Areni wine festival launched in 2009.[49]

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.
  3. ^ "Armavir Vineyards – Information".
  4. ^ "History of Armenian Wines". Winar. Archived from the original on 23 March 2016. Retrieved 21 August 2016.
  5. ^ Randolph E. Schmid, "Researchers Find Oldest Known Winery In Cave In Armenian Mountains", The Associated Press, January 10, 2011.
  6. ^ "Archaeologists discover world's oldest wine press in Armenia". 12 January 2011. Retrieved 21 August 2016.
  7. ^ Hotz, Robert Lee (11 January 2011). "Perhaps a Red, 4,100 B.C." Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 21 August 2016.
  8. ^ "World's oldest winery discovered in Armenian cave". Retrieved 21 August 2016.
  9. ^ "6,000-year-old winery found in Armenian cave (Wired UK)". Archived from the original on 2015-12-08. Retrieved 2015-11-01.
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  11. ^ "Scientists discover 'oldest' winery in Armenian cave - CNN". Archived from the original on 2011-01-29. Retrieved 2011-02-15.
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  13. ^ Soviet sherries
  14. ^ USSR Wine Production
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  16. ^ "Voskevaz Winery wines". Archived from the original on 2017-04-11. Retrieved 2016-12-19.
  17. ^ "Voskevaz won a Gold Medal at Mundus Vini". Archived from the original on 2016-11-24. Retrieved 2016-12-19.
  18. ^ ArmAs Winery and cellar
  19. ^ Armenia Wine
  20. ^ Hayasy Group
  21. ^ Sarduri Wines, Wine House Winery
  22. ^ Van Ardi Wines
  23. ^ Artashat Vincon Winery
  24. ^ Ararat Cognac Factory AKZ
  25. ^ Avshar Wine Factory
  26. ^ Van 777 Winery
  27. ^ Agatat Gold
  28. ^ Mrganush Brandy Factory
  29. ^ Tavinko Winery
  30. ^ Shahumyan-Vin Winery
  31. ^ "Shaumyan Alco". Archived from the original on 2016-12-21. Retrieved 2016-12-20.
  32. ^ Ararat Abrikon
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  34. ^ MAP Winery
  35. ^ Merdzavan Brandy Factory
  36. ^ Interalco cognac products
  37. ^ Armenia's “Alluria” Red Wine: Produced in Etchmiadzin, but Named After a River in Van
  38. ^ Samcon Brandy Factory
  39. ^ Byuregh Alco Winery
  40. ^ Flanzh Alco Armenia
  41. ^ Rukar Group
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  43. ^ Helias Wines
  44. ^ Shirak Wine
  45. ^ Shirak Wine products: Kumayri wine
  46. ^ Kashuni Vodka in Armenian market
  47. ^ Ijevan Wine Factory
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  49. ^ Areni wine festival
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  51. ^ About Getnatoun wine factory
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  53. ^ "Vayk Group apricot vodka". Archived from the original on 2016-12-21. Retrieved 2016-12-19.
  54. ^ "Matevosyan Wine". Archived from the original on 2019-02-27. Retrieved 2016-12-19.
  55. ^ Zorah Wines: Our story
  56. ^ Armenian Wine Makes Bloomberg's Top 10 List
  57. ^ Armenia's best wineries
  58. ^ About Hin Areni Vinwyards
  59. ^ Noy Brandy
  60. ^ ArArAt brandy
  61. ^ ArmChampagne products
  62. ^ Armco products
  63. ^ "Proshyan products". Archived from the original on 2016-12-21. Retrieved 2016-12-19.
  64. ^ Hookup vodka cocktail
  65. ^ Maran Winery Yerevan
  66. ^ Independent Armenia's First Wine Producer Receives Bronze Medal in 2014 Decanter World Wine Awards
  67. ^ Arabkir Alco factory
  68. ^ Gevorkian Winery, Yerevan
  69. ^ Mac Alex and Mac Grant whiskey
  70. ^ About Astafian Factory
  71. ^ Koor Wines-Highland Cellars
  72. ^ H2O Vodka
  73. ^ No Problem Vodka
  74. ^ Godfather Vodka
  75. ^ Arssi Alliance
  76. ^ "5 Boutique Wineries Putting Armenian Wines on the Map – and How to Visit Them". Forbes.
  77. ^ Stepanakert Brandy Factory products
  78. ^ Artsakh Brandy Company
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  81. ^ Armenian Brandy and Wine Company
  82. ^ Armenian Wine and Spirits
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