The essence and core of my wines lie in their Armenian roots

Zorik Gharibian


If the essence and core of our wines are to lie in their Armenian roots, if the wines are to tell the unique story of Armenia’s millenary past and if they are to embrace a living heritage that binds and connects past, present and future then the wines must be an expression of not only their terroir but also of the cultural traditions of place.


Ever since local wines were first fermented in the highlands of Armenia distinctive clay pots known as karas were used, a tradition that celebrated its beginnings here more than 6000 years ago and eventually spread around the entire reaches of the Mediterranean. Embracing this ancient cultural tradition, in a quest to make wines which are true to origin, ZORAH has spent much time and energy in the revival of winemaking in these vessels, a practice which was lost in Armenia during the soviet era.


The use of these ancient amphorae is not only a tribute to the winery’s next door neighbour, the Areni 1 cave, a source of inspiration visible from the winery and a constant reminder of the unique patrimony of the country but also, it embodies ZORAH’s desire to make wines in a natural idiom, the intangible sense of using something moulded out of earth, a living, breathing vessel to cradle and nurture the living liquid. Just as the soil shapes the vine, the clay shapes the wine.


In contrast to the ancient amphorae, which are found roaming the villages, large modern, temperature controlled concrete vats, left deliberately rough, are also used in the winery. These, similar to the karas allow the wine to breath enhancing the wine’s complexity, elegance and depth while large untoasted casks, which have replaced smaller barriques, help improve tannins without overpowering the wine flavour.

The juxtaposition of ancient with modern is a reflection of the winery’s focus on reconciling Armenia’s 6000 year old wine culture with its modern potential and creating wines which are deeply rooted in place and tradition.