Old wine bottles covered with decades worth of dust at a storage facility in Yerevan.
No alcoholic beverage has been enjoyed on Armenian lands as long as wine has: the oldest known winery, 6,100 years old, was found in Areni. There is also no drink in the Armenian repertoire that has experienced as great a revival in recent years.
In the Soviet times, quality was secondary to quantity and production was often an end in itself. Thus, although Armenia produced red wine during the Soviet years, the focus was on the idea of producing it, not on making it any good. After reestablishing independence, Armenia inherited underdeveloped production facilities. More recently, however, Armenian vintners have been at the forefront of beverage production in the country, and boy have they made some good stuff!
Red, white and rose
There is a robust mix of wines made with familiar varieties like cabernet sauvignon, syrah and muscat, as well as traditional Armenian varieties like areni, khndoghni and voskehat. The now-vivacious industry has taken to creative experimentation using both the most modern technologies and making wine as it was traditionally made in Armenia, using amorphae known in Armenian as “karas.” Production is not geographically limited, either: wine is being produced throughout Armenia, from Armavir to Areni to Artsakh.
Young wine (“majar” in Armenian)
“Majar” is a partially-fermented wine usually (though not necessarily) made with white grapes. It is semi-sweet and has a tart kick. It’s rarely consumed with a meal, but is enjoyed with snacks or on its own.
Armenia also produces sweet wine, mostly from pomegranate, which is usually enjoyed after a meal with dessert, like port or another digestif.
BRANDY (ARMENIAN COGNAC)