ARTSAKH
History of winemaking
Unknown — but open, mysterious — but hospitable, distant — but easily accessible, great in its antiquity — but modern, all of that and much more - Artsakh.

The northeastern part of the Armenian Highlands has always been in the center of the World's history: archaeological research and findings — the tooth of a cave bear, the jaw of a Neanderthal man, the ancient labor tools and other valuable exhibits — proof that life here existed already three hundred thousand years ago. For those who are interested in the early period of mankind history, Artsakh is a great opportunity to plunge into the past and visit the karst caves where discoveries were made and watch the work of the archaeologists.

If the Paleolithic is a leap too deep into the past, then moving closer to our time, one can find the first written mention of this land as the state of Urtekhini in the cuneiform of the neighboring state of Urartu in the 8th century BC. The god Khaldi, the chief of the triad of supreme deities of that time, was not only the patron saint of heaven, life, crafts and fertility, but also revered as the god of winemaking. The variety and number of indigenous grape sorts in Artsakh is really amazing; nowadays one of the brightest and most widely cultivated varieties is Khdoghni.

Later, Strabo, Pliny, Ptolemy, Plutarch and other ancient authors write about this land as a part of Armenian state. The life of the region does not stop even for a second, and despite frequent wars and invasions from the outside - winemaking and viticulture are always in the spotlight: new vineyards are cultivated, wine is exported to other countries. In Tigranakert, the fortress of the 1st century BC, the recent discovery of which can be compared with the discovery of Troy at the end of the 19th century, karas jugs (clay jugs) for storing wine and grape seeds were found.

The beginning of our time is already marked on the map of Artsakh by the Dadivank monastery — one of the first Christian churches built at the place of the death of one of the disciples of Christ — Thaddeus. It will be curious to mention that Christianity and viticulture in Artsakh gave rise to some unique symbiosis, and if before the adoption of Christianity in the symbolism of Artsakh art there was often a vine, then after - it began to coexist with stylized images of the cross. On the gravestones of the palace complex in the village of Togh, Hadrut region there are images of feasts with grapes, jugs, musicians and angels on the same stone.

As thousands of years ago, so now winegrowing and winemaking in Artsakh continue to flourish: the unique ecosystem of the region, the purest air and water, the elevation above sea level, mild climate, a large number of sunny days, diligence and manual care of the inhabitants for the vine contribute to the appearance of wine, taste which many professionals admire.

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Artsakh viticulture timeline
2015
Founding of Vinegrowers and Winemakers Association by Ministry of Agriculture of Republic of Artsakh
President of Association - Grigory Avetissyan, Founder of Domaine Aveitssyan winery (Kataro wine)
2014
First Annual Artsakh Wine Festival in Togh village, Hadrout region
Mid 20th century
Growth of local winemaking, popularization of Artsakh indigenous grape varieties
End of 19th century
Phylloxera first registered in the region, local varieties show good resistance
1st century a.c.
Grape ornaments start to co-exist with Christian symbols
1st century b.c.
According to historicans, region is actively exporting locally made wines to other countries. Clay jugs and grape seeds found in Tigranakert archeological site.
8th century b.c.
Khaldi, main god of Urtekhini kingdom (nowadays Republic of Artsakh) is being worshiped as a patron of winemaking
50-100 thousand years b.c.
Traces of human settlement, Neanderthals jaw and paleolithic tools found in Azokh cave. "Azokh" means "unripened grape"