Armenias wine history is old and the wine culture in blooming. Climate, terroir and knowledge comes together as a perfect match. Here is a good introduction before you travel.
There are 6000 year old findings in Armenia that shows an early wine production. The findings have been made in Areni in southern Armenia which is both a village and the name of the most known grape in Armenia. Many famous wines are made with the Areni grape and for white wines it’s Voskehat. These two grapes are the king and queen in the Armenian wine culture. There is also a handful other interesting indigenous grapes like Kangun, Karmrahyut and Kakhet. The wine production is wide spread and there are six major wine regions. Some wine is exported abroad but much wine is consumed locally. As a former Soviet republic, many people drank vodka and also locally produced brandy which still is famous in Armenia. But the youger generations as well as the older prefer wine and beer nowadays.
Areni Wine festival and Yerevan wine days
The biggest happening every year is the Areni Wine Festival but in 2022 it had to be cancelled due to the conflict with Azerbajdzjan. The Areni wine festival takes place during the autumn every year just outside Areni and gathers the most important wine producers in the country. Yerevan wine days is a longer festival that takes place in Yerevan in June and is a cooperation between many wine bars and producers. There is also the Artsakh wine festival in September that takes place in the wine region Artsakh but it require some travel compared with Areni which can be visited easy from Yerevan.
Two good wine bars to visit in Yerevan
If you want to learn more about Armenian wine start with a visit at either In Vino or Wine Republic in Yerevan. In Vino is a pure wine bar that also serves cold cuts and some local cheese suitable to accompany a glass of wine. Wine Republic is restaurant that has a French and an Asian fusion section and is perfect for a dinner with wine.
In Vino is created by a couple of wine lovers that are connected with the wine producer Trinity. The winery is around two hours from Yerevan and exports some of their wines all the way to Sweden and many other countries. In Vino is filled with wines up to the roof and there are around thousand bottles to choose from whereof 250 Armenian wines. Just ask the staff what you prefer and they will find the suitable wine for you. They do also arrange tastings every now and then.
Armenia has a small population and Yerevan has the perfect size so you can easily walk around it and visit cafees, bars and wine restaurants. The street to ask for is Saryan street that also is called wine street and is filled with cafees and restaurants with a good selection of wine, beer and coffee. Thats also the street where Yerevan Wine days take place.
Wine Republic is just nearby the famous Yerevan Cascade, the giant stair way you should walk up to before you start to sample wine. It’s a bustling area and most restaurants has outdoor seating but it can be good to make a reservation since it’s very busy on weekends.
Wine Republic is well known among the francophone population in Yerevan since they have a French cuisine with imported French cheese and wines. They have a separate chilled room for their wines in which you find more than a hundred Armenian wines and much more. There is always a 6-7 wines available on glass and even a beer or two. The crew behind Wine Republic is welcoming and they have been in the wine business a long time so don’t hesitate to ask questions.
Armenia has much to offer and is also well known for it’s coffee culture. It’s overall a very pleasant country to visit and it’s safe and cheap so you will reach far with your budget. People are helpful and friendly and many speak English but also some French.
Armenia has also a craft beer culture so if you are into beer as well, read the Craft Beer Guide to Armenia. They have a handfull of craft breweries in central Yerevan and you can get everything from IPA and Ale to Sour beers and Imperial Stouts.
The future of wine in Armenia
There is a total area of around 30 000 square kilometers with wine and except the local grapes, also pinot noir and pinot grigio is cultivated. There are around 70-80 notable wineries and the total volume has more than doubled since 2015 so it’s really a market under strong development. Many wines are excellent and the combination of dedication and investment in education shows that Armenian wines is something to count with. Visit Armenia during the autumn during one of their wine festivals or read more at the official tourism site to find information on coming happenings.