Contest Attracts Winemakers at Yerevan’s Areni Festival

A booth displaying wines from an Armenian vinyard at the Areni Wine Festival

YEREVAN (Arka)—A wine contest attracted dozens of winemakers to Yerevan as part of the Armenian capital’s sixth Areni Wine Festival.

The five-day festival was launched on Oct. 1 in Armenia’s Vayots Dzor province, organized jointly by public and private agencies.

Executive Director Hayk Mirzoyan of Industry Development Fund, one of the organizers of the event, said that this is the fourth contest held as part of the festival, and winemakers are becoming increasingly more interested in it.

“We invite foreign sommeliers, who rate quality and taste of Armenian wines,” he said. “Their independent opinion is very important for companies, especially for export.”

Nine Armenian wine companies took part in the contest. The wines they presented varied greatly in composition and price range.

Jurors were experienced sommeliers from the United States and France. Winners will be named on Oct. 4 in the village of Areni.

Mirzoyan said the winners of the previous contests display information about their prizes on their labels and this spurs sales. The contests also strengthen competition among winemakers, forcing them to improve the quality of their wines.

He said the major importer of Armenian wines is Russia now, but sales in Europe, China, the Baltic countries, and the United States are growing and that the quality of Armenian wines are increasingly improving.

“Wine exports grew 50 percent in the first half of this year,” Mirzoyan said. “Three to five new wine companies appear every year. They are export-oriented and use modern technologies.”

In his opinion, the wine industry is a dynamically developing segment of Armenia’s economy.

The Armenian wine industry’s output shrank 10.3 percent in Jan-July 2014, compared with the same period of the previous year. About 82 percent of Armenia’s wine exports went to Russia.


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