Wine tours in Armenia: The last decade can be safely called a new wave in the ancient history of winemaking in Armenia. Wineries appear here every now and then, impressing even seasoned foreign tasters. Now there are about 400 registered wineries in the country. The culture of consumption has also gradually changed: today the wine palette of Armenia can be tasted both on the “most wine” street of Saryan in Yerevan, and outside the city, in nature, enjoying the views of vineyards and mountains. We have selected the best routes to explore the wine culture of Armenia.
Vayots Dzor region – the heart of Armenian winemaking
Route: Areni cave – Areni food yards – Trinity Canyon winery – Old Bridge winery
Getting to the region is quite simple: minibuses and regular taxis to Vayots Dzor depart from the stop at the Gortsaranain (Zavodskaya) metro station in Yerevan. Such a trip will cost from $ 2-4 one way. The last flights leave back to Yerevan by 16:00 from the city of Yeghegnadzor. Ask for the phone number of the taxi or minibus driver – he will help organize the return journey by regular taxi if you call him an hour or two before departure. If you call an individual taxi, you will have to pay about $ 20-30 one way.
Just a couple of hours on the road – and you are already in the Vayots Dzor region, which is rich in ancient traditions of winemaking. Surrounded by picturesque mountain slopes, this region was once at the epicenter of volcanic activity. Basalt, tuff, and obsidian are still mined here. Jermuk resort, rich in mineral waters, is also a part of this region. The soil here is rich in trace elements that have a beneficial effect on the grape harvest. And from the local volcanic tuff, the creations of the famous architect Momik were created. For example, the pearls of medieval Armenian architecture are the Noravank monastery and the Church of the Mother of God in Areni.
Rapid mountain rivers irrigate various grape varieties that have been growing on the steep slopes of this area for millennia. In the neighboring village of Khachik, you can see one of the highest mountain vineyards, which grow at an altitude of 1750 m above sea level. This harvest is used to produce Keush wines.
Areni village – the epicenter of winemaking in Armenia
At the entrance to the village of Areni, you can visit the oldest winery in the cave, where since 2007 excavations have been carried out by 12 archaeological institutes from 9 countries of the world. The finds in the Areni-1 cave, according to archaeologists, are the oldest known evidence of wine production in the world and date back to the 4th millennium BC.
Here, devices for making wine were found: a wine press and crucians buried in the ground – jugs (amphorae) for wine the size of a man’s height. The remains of grapes and hollow cane stalks were found in the karas jugs, which were most likely used as modern cocktail tubes.
“Whoever was thirsty had to put a cane in his mouth and pull wine through it. The wine not mixed with water was very strong, but for people familiar it was a very pleasant drink, ”the ancient Greek historian Xenophon described the halt of the Greek troops in Armenia in“ Anabasis ”.
We recommend starting the tasting from the Areni factory – here you can taste the wines before buying. There are also unusual wines made from raspberries and blackberries or pomegranates. And on holidays or by pre-order, incredibly delicious lavash is baked there.
- The center is open to visitors every day from 9:00 – 21:00
- Address: s. Areni, Vayots Dzor region
- Tel: +374 94 424427
- E-mail: email@example.com
The Areni Wine Festival is the most important event in this region. It is already in its tenth year at the end of September – the beginning of October. Here you can taste the wines of both famous wineries in Armenia and family wineries. And even the local homemade wine is the usual Machar (young wine). In addition, you can listen to traditional Armenian songs and dance kochari with everyone.
The festival greatly influenced the development of the tourism infrastructure in the village. About a dozen new gastro-yards and wineries have appeared here, where you can taste wines and take part in master classes on making traditional Armenian dishes. And soon the hotel complex Areni Wine Resort of the Tufenkian Heritage Hotels chain will open here.
Areni gastronomic farms:
Momik wine cube
- The winery accepts guests daily from 10: 00-22: 00
- Facebook Address: s. Areni, 10th street, alley 1, building 1
- Tel: +374 95 48 04 50; +374 93 48 04 50
- E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
The small winery Momik Wine (Ghazaryan’s gastronomic yard) in Areni belongs to the Nver Gazaryan family, a winemaker with 40 years of experience. In the production of wines “Momik” used red grapes Areni and white Khardzhi. This family-run vineyard is rich in limestone and calcium, making the grapes so sweet and without any fertilizers.
The wine here is partly aged in carcasses, partly in wooden barrels, and in glass containers. The family is proud that their wine was recognized as the “Best Household Wine” at the 2011 Areni Festival.
The tasting area is named after the medieval architect Momik, who lived in the 14th century. The owner of Narine winery is an experienced stone carver. She tells guests about the characteristics of the local limestone, which is used in many local buildings, including churches. Narine also conducts master classes on carving khachkars (traditional Armenian stone crosses).
- Address: Areni village, 20 street, building 1
- Tel .: +374 94 748760; +374 55 748760
- E-mail: email@example.com
In 2019, the Stepanyan family of hereditary winemakers opened a gastronomic yard for visitors. Here you can relax in the small garden with a glass of wine from a local winery. “Stepanyan” wines are made from Areni and Voskehat varieties. In addition to a tour of the family winery, the hosts conduct master classes on the production of wine and dried fruits. You can visit the food court by appointment.
- Address: Aghavnadzor village, 115, 1st street
- Tel: +374 55 227337
- E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
A 10-minute drive from Areni, in the village of Akhavnadzor, you can taste organic wine at Trinity Canyon Winery. This winery was founded by three wine enthusiasts in 2009. Jean-Luc Isnard, an organic wine specialist from France, took part in the development of the Trinity Canyon concept. And in addition to Armenian grape varieties, foreign ones are also grown here, such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Chardonnay, Merlot. The winery in Akhavnadzor is one of the few in Armenia where they experiment with wines fermented and aged in carcass.
At the moment, construction work is underway in the winery, but guests are expected here from 2022. Already now, you can book tours for the future.
Old Bridge Winery
- Address: Yeghegnadzor, Yerevan Avenue, 1
- Tel: +374 93 80 02 40; +374 55 09 87 99
- Monday – Sunday from 10:00 to 22:00
- E-mail: email@example.com
A family-owned boutique winery near Yeghegnadzor has been operating since 1998. Not far from here is the historic 13th-century bridge that gave the winery its name. It produces high-quality reserve wines from the local Areni grape variety – they are aged in oak barrels for 2 years. Old Bridge wine is a prize-winner of various international competitions in Germany, Belgium, and other countries.
This winery can host up to 40 people at a time. Here you can taste local dishes made from vegetables, meat, and fish. Goat cheese and locally produced honey are served with the wines for tasting.
Depending on the season, visitors can participate in the grape harvest, distillation process, or bottling. The winery’s host family also owns the cozy B&B of the same name and offers overnight packages. Since this winery is very popular with tourists, it is best to arrange your arrival in advance.
In the valley between the mountains: Aragatsotn, Armavir, Ararat
Route: Sasunik village – Voskevaz village – Nor Yedesia village
The regions at the foot of Mount Aragats and the Ararat valley also have an ancient history of viticulture. There are many excellent wineries located here, located at a distance of 30 minutes to an hour from Yerevan. In these places, you can enjoy high-quality wine while admiring the views of the snowy peaks. It is better to get to the vineyards by taxi, but some wineries include transport in the tour package.
Wine history museum on the territory of the Armenia Wine factory
- Address: Sasunik village, 1st lane, 3, 30th street
- Tel: + 374 60 46 77 07; +374 44 80 22 22
- E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Book a tour of the winery’s cellars and tasting
A museum of the history of wine at the Armenia Wine winery has recently opened in the village of Sasunik. Passing through the massive doors, referring to the Armenian epic “David of Sasun”, you go down to the rocky cellar, dug at a depth of 6.5 m in the basalt rock. It was in such cellars that wine was aged in ancient times. Here you can see archaeological artifacts related to winemaking: clay and silver rhytons (ancient drinking vessels in the form of an animal’s head down), wine containers, Urartian cuneiform, and lithographic inscriptions, as well as medieval manuscripts describing the medicinal properties of wines.
After getting back upstairs, go to the tasting of the Armenia Wine factory, which also produces cognac. At the factory, you can get acquainted with the process of wine production. And also on the territory, there is a restaurant “Nazani” which serves Armenian traditional dishes.
Winery Van Ardi
- Address: Sasunik village
- Tel. +374 93 77 03 53
- E-mail: email@example.com
The boutique winery was founded in 2008 by Varuzhan Muradyan, who moved to Armenia from the United States, “importing” Californian winemaking experience with him. It was with such wineries that modern winemaking began to flourish in Armenia.
Translated from ancient Armenian, the name of the company means “the sun over Van” – the ancient capital of Armenia, which is now located on the territory of Turkey. It is from there that the ancestors of the owner of the winery come from.
The vineyard here is laid out on an area that was once recognized as unfit for agriculture. However, today several varieties of grapes are grown here on the principles of organic viticulture.
Here you can enjoy not only wine but also views of the peaks of Ararat and Aragats, as well as listen to music and bell ringing, which are often heard here for better grape growth. The owner of the winery believes that the quality of a juicy berry is influenced not only by soil, sun, and water but also by music since sound changes the structure of water, which is so abundant in grapes. The bell tower was built here especially for such a “procedure”.
In the cozy and intimate atmosphere of the winery, family parties and weddings are often celebrated. It also hosts open-air film screenings, harvest festivals, jazz concerts, and much more.
- Address: Voskevaz village
- Tel: +374 10 20 20 06; +374 99 55 09 70
- E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Working
- hours: daily from 09:00 to 18:00
Then we head to the village of Voskevaz, which is 10 km from Sasunik – to the winery of the same name, more reminiscent of a medieval castle. In 1998, the owner of the winery, David Hovhannisyan, acquired a Soviet winery, which had been operating since 1932, and built an almost real chateau here. Voskevaz wine is made from grapes from different regions of Armenia, but the winery already has its own vineyards in the Ararat Valley.
Interesting fact: not far from the winery, at the ruins of the 5-7th century church of Badali Zham, fragments of a crucian carp were found, in which the wine was stored. Another confirmation of the antiquity of the history of Armenian winemaking!
- Address: New Edesia village
- Tel: + 374 99 00 9262
- E-mail: Info@armas.am Working
- hours: daily from 10:00 to 18:00 (in season)
Another place standing at the origins of the new wave of winemaking in Armenia is located in the village of New Edesia (Nor Yedesia), 40 km from Yerevan. The Golden Grape ArmAs Company was founded in 2007 by Armen Aslanyan, a repatriate from California, who decided to transfer the traditions of wine tourism from the Napa Valley to the Armenian soil. Soon, he also infected his daughter with his hobby, who today runs the company with her father. But they are not the first winemakers in the family: the family tradition was laid by Armen’s grandfather, after whom the company is named.
Looking at the winery, it’s hard to believe that once upon a time there were only stones and abandoned fields on the site of these luxurious vineyards, and there was no infrastructure around. But this place was not chosen by chance: it is the volcanic soil rich in limestone and calcium carbonate that gives the grapes special flavoring properties.
The wines of “ArmAs” are very titled: they have received more than 40 international awards and even got into the menu of Michelin restaurants. And the main winemaker of the company is the Italian Emilio del Medico.
When you arrive here, we recommend that you first walk through the vineyards and gardens of the estate. You will be told about the history of the origin of Armenian wine and brandy, you will be shown a cellar and a factory built by Italian engineers and architects. You can book a tasting and choose a suitable package here. Tours after 15:00 are organized only for groups of 10 people and are 25% more expensive. Here you can also dine at the tasting restaurant “Kenac”. And if you want to stay here longer, there is also a hotel on the territory of the ArMas estate.
Route: Arevadasht village – Aaraks village – Paruyr Sevak village
- Address: s. Arevadasht
- Tel. : +374 94 19 94 78
- E-mail: email@example.com
Another company that changed the idea of Armenian winemaking and influenced its revival belongs to the famous Argentine businessman Eduardo Ernekian. Ernekian’s company also operates an international airport in Yerevan, so a huge bottle of “Karas” is the first thing that tourists see when leaving Zvartnots airport.
Today the company is run by Eurnekian’s niece Juliana del Aguila Eurnekian and an international team of professionals. The main winemaker of the company – Gabriel Rohel – as well as the chief agronomist – the Argentines. A famous winemaker from France Michel Rolland advises the company.
Karas vineyards grow on an area of 450 hectares. As in many previous cases, the once wasteland of 2,300 hectares has turned into a modern winery. Both famous varieties are grown here: malbek, syrah, cabernet, and local ones: areni, voskeat, akhtanak and khndogni from Artsakh. And to create experimental wines, the company launched a separate project – “Karas Wine Institute”.
A tour of the winery takes about 2 hours. Visitors can taste from one to three samples of red, white, and rosé wines. Depending on the tour package, you will be offered simple wines, classic or premium. You can visit the winery almost all year round, except for the winter months, from 9:00 to 16:00. On weekends, the group must be at least 5 people. Tours are available by appointment.
- Address: s. Araks, st. Soghomon Tehliryan 8
- Tel: +374 93 123 640
- E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
The descendants of the repatriate from Boston, Smbat Mateossian, revived the work of his grandfather in the Armavir region. The successful businessman laid out vineyards near the site of the Sardarapat battle of 1918, where the historical victory of the Armenian army over the Turkish troops took place, which preserved the statehood of Armenia. However, Smbat himself was not destined to wait for wine – in 1925 he was repressed by the Soviet authorities. The descendants of Smbat found the very vineyards and in 2008 began the revival of the grandfather’s business. The company has been producing wine since 2016. And the consultant of Voskeni is the famous French winemaker Stephane Derenoncourt.
Voskeni Winery offers several tours, during which you can draw with wine instead of colors under the guidance of an experienced artist, take part in a master class on baking traditional Armenian lavash, or even choose a romantic picnic for two. Or you can try to crush grapes with your feet (just like Celentano), but the best thing is to feel like a winemaker and create your own blend with the help of a professional. You can also just have breakfast or lunch here.
Not far from the winery there is a memorial complex “Sardarapat”, designed by the famous modernist architect Rafael Israelian, as well as a museum dedicated to the Sardarapat battle.
- Address: Paruyr Sevak, Taperakan, Ararat
- Tel: +374 93 055 777
- E-mail: email@example.com
Winery “Tushpa” is located 35 km from Yerevan, in the village of Taperakan in the Ararat region. The company was founded by professional viondel Mihran Manasseryan in 1992, naming it after one of the ancient capitals of the state of Urartu. Tushpa vineyards grow on clay soil in the Ararat Valley, and Tushpa wine has been produced since 1999.
The winery offers 2 tour packages. The first one is wine tasting with light snacks – Armenian lavash and cheese. You can get to such a tasting every day from 10:00 to 20:00. The second package – wine tasting at dinner, where 3 types of “Tushpa” wines and dishes of Armenian cuisine will be served. This option is available from 13:00 to 20:00. But remember – you need to sign up for both tours in advance. You can also organize your own event here – if you need it.
Route: Old Nork – Erebuni Museum – Saryan Street – Cascade
- Address: st. Sero Khanzadyan 94, Yerevan
- Tel: + 374 98 100193
On a sunny Yerevan morning, drive to old Nork on the hill. Historical folk architecture has been preserved here, as well as a beautiful view of the city. It is in such old houses as in this quarter that the traditional maranas – wine cellars – have been preserved.
Tourism potential is being actively developed in Nork, excursions are being conducted, guest houses and restaurants are opening. One of these restaurants that we recommend is Kehar, which is open in an old house with maran. Here you can taste the wine produced in this very interesting place. In addition, the owners of the restaurant conduct guided tours of the basements of the house, which is very interesting. But before visiting, do not forget to make a preliminary appointment so that there is enough space for sure.
- Address: Erebuni st., 38
- Tel. + 374 10 432661
You can plunge into the history of wine production in the Erebuni Archaeological Museum-Reserve. Erebuni Fortress was built in 782 BC. – and it is from this time that the age of Yerevan is counted. During archaeological excavations on the territory of the fortress, 5 grain and 6 wine cellars were discovered, where there were about 200 huge crucians. You can get acquainted with these and other finds in the museum.
Well, in the evening go to Saryan Street. Named after the famous Armenian artist, in recent years this street has become especially attractive and moving. Wine restaurants are opening here one after another, where you can taste both the best Armenian and foreign wines. And the pioneers on the wine street were the owners of the InVino restaurant, which also sells wine. Other famous places on the street to visit: Tapastan, Voskevaz Wine Time, Gouroo Club & Garden, Smoking Chef, and others.
Since 2017, Yerevan Wine Days, a festival where you can taste Armenian wines, as well as dishes from the best restaurateurs of Armenia, have been held on Saryan Street and the territory of nearby streets. From 2022, the festival will be held on the first Friday, Saturday, and Sunday in June. Admission is free for everyone, but for wine tasting, you need to purchase special packages that cost about $ 15.
You can also spend a cozy evening with a glass of wine on the Cascade – this is such an architecture complex in Yerevan. There is also a decent number of restaurants with excellent cuisine here. We advise you to pay attention to the Wine Republic and Aperitivo Yerevan.
Bonus. Community dinner from One Armenia
Non-governmental organization OneArmenia supports tourism in Armenia. One of the important projects of the organization is dinners and tastings in nature, where you can taste wine and regional cuisine. Such dinners are a good opportunity to feel like a local, meet people from different countries and different professions.
An outdoor dining and tasting schedule is already planned for 2022. If you want to be the first to receive the schedule, write to firstname.lastname@example.org – and the plan will be sent to you as soon as it is approved.