Viticulture and wine production is perhaps one of the oldest branches of economic activity of Armenia. From ancient times to the present day, agriculture in general, and grape-growing and wine-making in particular, have played a significant role in shaping Armenia’s economy and have been a major survival means for the Armenian people across centuries.

Even though Armenian Wine is not a major player in the world of wine today, it has played a vital role in the history of wine, too. It is believed that the domestication of the Eurasian grape occurred in the mountainous regions of Armenia before moving to the south. 

Stating the difficulty to precisely date the first appearance of the cultivated vines, some researchers say that, geographically, the Trans-Caucasian countries of Armenia and Georgia seem to be the birthplace of viticulture. 

Ancient rock inscriptions found during 1949-1950 archaeological excavations in the town-fortress Erebuni (founded in 762 B.C. on the territory of Armenia’s current capital city of Yerevan) evidence that vine growing and winemaking were already well developed in Armenia in the 8th century B.C.
In 2011 archaeologists in Armenia announced the discovery of the world’s oldest-known wine production facility, which was proved to date back to 4000 B.C. The facility is located in Areni Cave complex, Vayots Dzor region. It consisted of a shallow basin to press grapes, a vat for storage, and fermentation jars. Grape seeds, remains of grapes, and dozens of dried vines were also found in this location. The seeds were of Vitis Vinifera, a sort of grape still used to make wine.

Before this discovery, the earliest comparable wine remains were considered to be those found in Egypt, which date back to 3100 BC.

Besides Vayots Dzor and Ararat, other regions of Armenia are also known for their old culture of wine production. For example, in the region of Tavush (part of the State of Urartu before Christ) farmers were occupied with gardening and had many vineyards on those days. The local wine was praised in royal families and was famous all over Armenia. The kings of Bagratunyats dynasty drank the nectar from these vineyards.


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