Wine journalists, sommeliers and wine specialists invited from the USA as a result of the cooperation between the AGRI CAMP Program and Storica Wines Company, tasted Armenian wines on April 23 – 27, 2023. Storica Wines is an Armenian wine import company in the US. It currently cooperates with 4 wineries in Armenia.
Establishing new connections with international distributors is one of the key elements of the AGRI CAMP Program to stimulate market growth and increase export volumes.
The agenda developed for this short wine tour was quite diverse․ Along with wine tasting it included sightseeing, acquaintance with cuisine and traditions of the country, etc. But the main purpose was to introduce to the wine experts the potential of the Armenian wine industry.
The guests were fascinated with favorable climate and orchards they visited. So-called vertical tasting offered at one of the wineries was interesting and informative. Wine tasting provides a great opportunity to sample and compare the differences between wines. While traditional tastings typically include different varieties and styles, vertical wine tastings include different vintages of the same wine. The visitors were also interested in the various wine aging methods used in our wineries. Aging in “karas” vessels particularly caught their attention. Their attention was particularly drawn to the fermentation and aging of wine in “karas” vessels, which is one of the oldest traditions of Armenian winemaking.
Visits to wineries and, especially, vineyards provided a unique opportunity to learn about the topography, terroir, as well as the challenges that Armenian winemakers face and how they overcome these challenges. The sightseeing organized on the way to the wineries was intended to reveal the touristic potential of the country.
In the restaurants and bars of Yerevan the guests tested wine produced by various grape varieties and discussed their potential in the US market․ They also got acquainted with the traditions of serving wine. In particular, wine experts were interested in what temperature and in what glasses the wine is served. Some of the guests were restaurant owners, so they asked a lot of questions to compare and share their experience.
On April 26 the AGRI CAMP organized a wine tasting event to introduce greater variety of Armenian wines to the experts. About 12 Armenian winemaking companies participating in the event were mostly beneficiaries of the USAID-funded AGRI CAMP Program and the New Economic Opportunities for Rural Economic Development in Armenia (RED-NEO) Program, as well as members of the Wines of Armenia.
The positive feedback and the curiosity of the guests give us hope that we will soon witness an increase in demand for Armenian wines presented in the US.
On the final day of the visit, the wine journalists, sommeliers and wine experts tasted the “EVN Wine Academy” wines crafted by the students and the winemaker of EVN Wine Academy of the ICARE Foundation. Master of Wine Lisa Granik stated that the Areni Reserve is an interesting wine, with velvet tannins and a long aftertaste. “It is a great honor for us to receive such comments from a well-known expert,” – said ICARE Foundation Director Artur Grigoryan.
The event held in AgriHUB, at the Zabel Yesayan Agribusiness Center (ZAYC) owned by ICARE, was remarkable. About 60 copies of the updated 2023 wine map of Armenia provided to the wine experts will be distributed to wine lovers and wine experts interested in Armenian wines.
The highlight of the event was a group photo taken in front of the monument DEDICATED to the prominent Armenian writer and public figure Zabel Yesayan. By the way, this is the first and so far, the only monument of Zabel Yesayan in Armenia. The guests departed with personalized gifts/products made by graduates of the ICARE Foundation.
Influencer visits play an important role in the development of any industry. We hope that this wine tour will be fruitful not only for the AGRI CAMP Program and the ICARE Foundation, but will also contribute to the further development of the Armenian wine industry.