By Wally Sarkeesian,
I meet United nation biologist Bonnie Furman in Yerevan Armenia, after 5 minute of chet chat exchange of business card and goodby, one week letter while I was traveling from yerevan to beirut received email from Bonnie
I‘m writing to put you into contact with my colleague/friend Ruzanna (copied here). She will be able to help put you in contact with the people that you may be able to interview about grapes in Armenia. Derenik Safaryan is a 92 year old grape expert that has been collecting and conserving grape varieties for his entire adult life. He has also mentored the other grape expert in the country, Dr. Gagik Melyan. I think it would be really interesting to interview both of them.
This is how the story began, I contacted Ruzanna she arranged all the meeting and the interview, but the interview was in setting environment and it was long since Mr Safarian loaded with library of information I suggested we travel to a vineyard to show our viewers the real Armenian grapes so we did, watch the video see it yourself.
Noah is said to have planted a vineyard at the foot of the mountain, harvested grapes, fermented them and become inebriated on too much of his own wine. In the book, “Ancient Wine: The Search for the Origins of Viniculture” by Patrick E McGovern, Scientific Director of the Biomolecular Archaeology Project, University of Pennsylvania Museum, there is a reference to wine in Armenia around the 8th century BCE. Inscriptions by the kings of Urartu who were settled around Lake Van (once part of southern Armenia, now in eastern Turkey) described Ararat Valley, Armenia’s key agricultural hub, as the “land of the vineyards”. Even the Greek historian, Herodotus, wrote about wine being transported from Armenia down the Rivers Euphrates and Tigris in the 5th century BCE.
Armenia’s winemaking culture may have lapsed to some extent due to the ravages of war, but it’s back in full swing now with avant-garde wineries, post-communism vintners and snazzy wine restaurants spread across the country. Lianna Abelyan, Head of Project Implementation, Vine and Wine Foundation of Armenia, says that wine continues to be an item of importance in the daily life of Armenians.