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Armenian Winemakers Rediscovering 6,100-Year-Old Organic Winemaking

Armenian Winemakers Rediscovering 6,100-Year-Old Organic Winemaking

During this year's Yerevan Wine Days, our team at The Armenian Report focused on natural and amber wines made by Armenian winemakers across Armenia. This year’s festival was a celebration of tradition and the unique flavors that natural winemaking brings to the table.

One of the key figures we spoke with was Hovakim Saghatelyan, Co-Founder of Trinity Canyon Vineyards. Saghatelyan’s vineyard is dedicated to low-intervention, organic agriculture, and the use of ancestral methods. He explained that there is a growing trend towards natural and organic wines as people become more health-conscious. “Our grandfathers drank 2 liters of natural wine per day and most of them lived more than 90 years,” Saghatelyan said, suggesting that natural wine and food could be a secret to longevity.

We also had the pleasure of speaking with Karlen Manasserian from Tushpa Wines. Manasserian recently launched Tushpa x Lab, which focuses on natural sparkling wines called PetNats. These PetNats are made from indigenous Armenian grape varieties such as Lalvari, Banants, and Tozot. Manasserian's dedication to natural winemaking showcases the rich heritage and unique flavors of Armenia’s native grapes.

From the diaspora, we reached out to Sommelier Anush Gharibyan O’Connor in Los Angeles. She provided detailed insights into the uniqueness of natural wine and its deep connection to Armenian winemaking traditions. “Natural wine is made with low intervention. It goes back to the original roots, how wine has been made for centuries in Armenia. You harvest the grapes, put them in clay amphoras, and let nature do its thing. Fermentation happens naturally without adding cultured yeast, and the winemaker allows the process to proceed organically without rushing or stopping it. This means no addition of yeast nutrients, sugar, acids, or any agents,” explained O’Connor.

She also noted that the popularity and interest in natural wine have grown significantly in the past two years. There is even a wine bar in Yerevan, Oops Wine Bistronomy near Republic Square, that features only natural and amber wines, highlighting the increasing demand and appreciation for these traditional methods.

The festival also attracted numerous tourists, eager to explore Armenia and its rich wine culture. We spoke with several visitors about their impressions and were delighted to hear their positive feedback. Many were captivated by the country’s hospitality, scenic beauty, and, of course, the exceptional wine and food.

For those planning to travel to Armenia this summer, we highly recommend trying the natural wines made in the ancestral way, just as it was done 6,100 years ago in the oldest winery in the world, Areni cave. Yerevan Wine Days 2024 offered a unique opportunity to experience these exceptional wines, each bottle a testament to Armenia's rich winemaking heritage and commitment to natural, organic practices.


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