Viticulture and winemaking were developed in the kingdom of Urartu even from the 9th century BC. During the excavations at the Urartian Teyshbani (Karmir Blur) castle, wine cellars full of 480 clay pots with total of 800-1200 liters capacity were discovered. In these oldest pots there have been found grape seeds, with their characteristics similar to those of "Voskehat", "Kharji", "Mskhali" and "Garandmak" grape varieties. Moreover, the sulfur discovered in the cellars suggests that ancient wine-makers were familiar with winemaking technology. The manuscripts preserved from the Urartian times show evidence of viticulture and winemaking being a high culture in the territory of historic Armenia.
In 2010, during the excavations held in "Birds Cave" located in Areni village, archeologists have discovered clay pots, glasses and grape seeds meant for grape fermentation and preservation, which proves that people were making wine in Armenia more than 6,100 years ago.
This cave is the world’s oldest winery known to humanity. The seeds found in the pots belong to “Areni” grape variety. This proves that “Areni” is one of the most ancient varieties of grape grown in Vayots Dzor region.
Over the millennia, wine has been one of the most favorite drinks of humanity. It was included in religious rituals. Important guests have always been served good wine. Wine has also been used for the treatment of many diseases.
Wine has had such a great role for ancient civilizations that its consumers were considered to be the representatives of a high social class, whereas those who didn’t consume wine were considered barbarians.
Even famous philosophers Xenophon and Plato praised the beneficial effects of wine on the human body in case of the moderate usage.
Wine played such a big role for the representatives of the ancient civilizations that they had even created a worship of wine that was considered one of their favorites. In ancient Greek mythology, Dionysus was the god of wine-making, nature, vegetation, and inspiration. He was also known as Bacchus, Vakh or Liber in other mythologies.
From the ancient literature and works of art preserved to this date, it becomes clear that even before Christ fruitful soil was described not through the abundance of water, but by the abundance of grape fields and wine. Besides all this, wine was also used for religious purposes and donations to the gods.
Moreover, wine is mentioned in the Bible as one of the greatest gifts that God has given to man. Not surprisingly, this divine drink is mentioned in the Bible 450 times.
Armenia is known not only as the first Christian country but also as the oldest winemaking center. The origins of winemaking go back to the days of Noah.
“And on the seventeenth day of the seventh month, the ark came to rest on the mountains of Ararat.”
“And Noah began to cultivate the land and planted a vineyard.”
(Genesis 8: 4, 9:20)