Armenian Wine Importers was formed by Charles Masraff with the purpose of importing wines from Armenia to sell in the UK both through the wholesale and retail market. Charles spent 5 years living in Yerevan, Armenia from 2006-2011. There together with Linda Fergusson he ran a successful small restaurant and outside catering business. He also worked closely with USDA(United States Development Agency) on a number of rural development projects and through USDA’s rural development arm CARD was introduced to several wineries in Armenia.
Armenia is one of the oldest wine-producing nations in the world. Prior to Armenia’s independence in 1991, there was a great propensity in Soviet times to mass produce grapes for making Armenian Brandy. However, in recent times, recognising the importance of their indigenous grape varieties,there is a new determination to combine the excellent terroir and climate with their winemaking skills to produce a range of new wines-now truly world class. This is the cutting edge of wine-making!
Currently we are importing 13 different wines from 4 wineries though it is expected that the number of varieties will increase in time.
Armenia holds a remarkable depth and diversity of cultural and natural landscapes. This diversity and richness is evident in music, cuisine, art, and—increasingly—Armenia’s rapidly developing wine industry. In the picture above you can see the Koor vineyards nestling below the twin peaks of Mont Ararat the legendary landing ground for Noah and his ark. What few people know is that he did not just bring animals with him but the seeds of winemaking as well!!
In 2011, respected researchers discovered the oldest winemaking facility in the world, dating from approximately 4100 BCE. Armenian grape varietals, like Areni, Kakhet, Voskehat, Kangun, Kakhet and Haghtanak are still relatively unknown outside of the region. Indigenous to the area and distinct from both the European Old World and New World varietals, these are the grapes that, as Vahe Keushguerian, doyen of the Armenian wine renaissance puts it “would perplex a wine professional.”
Since 1998 Vahe and his fellow winemakers have been rebuilding and expanding the Armenian wine industry, and today there is a renaissance. The 2010 vintage was a watershed year, and Yerevan now boasts almost a dozen wine bars, while Armenian wines are appearing on global top ten lists.