BY ANUSH O’CONNOR
Have you heard abut GiniFest? This word that has been circulating around since last year. Gini (wine in Armenian) and Fest (for festival), is a Festival that celebrates and showcases Armenian wines and spirits.
I heard about GiniFest two years ago and got super excited because this would be the first ever event dedicated to celebrate and promote Armenian Wines and Sprits, a very first opportunity for Armenians and non-Armenians to try amazing wines of Armenia in one place in the US!
After hearing about the GiniFest I immediately set to find who the organizer was. My investigations led me to a person who stands behind this awesome idea and his name is Stepan Partamian. I did not know him but I was curious to meet and talk to him and find out why did he decide to organize a Wine Festival without having wine background.
My question to him was, why wine? He told me that his goal in life is to introduce everything Armenian to the world and for the world to know, learn and appreciate all about Armenian culture and heritage including wine since is was a big part of our history.
This is why he stands behind so many amazing projects: Stepan is one of the Founders of the Armenian Rose Float Association, sole organizer of the concerts that brought various Armenian musicians: A musical journey at J. Paul Getty Museum and the Spirit of the Armenia at the 2007 KCRW world Festival commissioned by the Los Angeles Philharmonic Association.
Stepan is also the author of books called “Yes We Have’ – compilation of contributions made by American-Armenians to the United States of America and to the world. The list goes on and on. In return I shared with Stepan my extensive wine background and we figured we would make a great team.
What is this festival and why is it so important? In my previous article I wrote how Armenian Wine Industry has gone through dramatic transformation. The aim of this festival is to promote Armenian Wines among Armenians who live in the US as well as to introduce them to non-Armenians.
Today the wine industry is a major part of the economy of Armenia and by consuming Armenian wines in the US we are supporting the economy greatly. Last year GiniFest recorded around 300 attendees out of which about 20 percent were non-Armenian.
Out of 300 people about 50 percent never had good quality Armenian Wine before. After this festival most of the stores were running low on certain Armenian wines which was an amazing indicator that the GiniFest successfully fulfilled its purpose.
Another very important part of the GiniFest is the education. During the GiniFest we offer ninety-minute class on wine appreciation. During this class you can learn more about wine, wine making and wine appreciation, develop skills that will carry your future experiences with wine. Wine classes put wine into a geographic, historical, personal and sociological context that makes each bottle of wine that much more special.
If you missed GiniFest last year don’t worry May 19 we will host the 2nd Annual GiniFest at Chevy Chase Country Club in Glendale. This year the festival is anticipated to host over 500 attendees. As a part of the festival we will have a walk around tasting of all wines and spirits.
Wine and cognac classes will be offered for those who are interested to dive deeper into the subjects. We will have various cheeses to pair with your wines as well as few catering companies offering samples of their amazing food. For cigar aficionados we will have a wonderful area dedicated to enjoy cigars with brandy. And all of this will be accompanied by amazing music performed by Vahagni, Roman Kanyan – Jazz Fusion Quartet and Sako.
Please spread the word of GiniFest because every person who will walk through that door will get to know more about Armenian Wine and will get to purchase it along the way and that will support Armenian winemaker who puts his sweet and tears into that soil to deliver this wonderful wines. I really hope to see you at the festival! Cheers!