Winemaking in Artsakh has rich history and tradition, but the war damaged the field and the winemakers face a variety of problems today. We had an interview about the achievements and problems of the sector with Grigori Avetisyan, the director of the “Kataro” winery which has broken into the wine market of a number of countries.
What kind of perspectives and problems has the winery sector of Artsakh?
Winemaking as a separate field has great perspectives in Artsakh. But is it easy to produce wine in Artsakh? This is a problem, since the industry needs state assistance. If a person wants to be involved in the production of wine he must be ready to start his business from the scratch, to know that the whole responsibility will lie on him. Having rich traditions of viticulture and wine making the sector has a number of problems. The war has caused great harm, gardens and factories have been destroyed. In addition to this wine making technologies throughout the world are developing today. If we do not change our style of wine making for better it means we are condemned to failure. Besides, there is luck of raw materials, since vineyards are few in number. Viticulture in Artsakh was seriously damaged which requires global solution to the problem. There is a problem of plant production. It is not done the way we used to imagine: cutting the branch and getting the plant. There is a special technology of doing it. It has been 2 years since we are engaged in it, and as a result we have got 15 thousand trees. And if you try to do everything by yourself, that is, to start a vineyard and to be engaged in wine production 3 years must be allotted to the cultivation of gardens and harvest, after 2 years will be needed for obtaining wine and 3 years for marketing.
In addition to this we must purchase market, in case of large volume of wine production there would be the problem of market. Our vintners are able to sell 2 tons of wine per year. For this the state aid is also very important. If the state assists vintners in this, defining certain tax privileges in the domestic market, more wine will be produced; there will be need of doubling the number of gardens. I mean the sector requires hard work, tolerance, since you will get your profit after the above mentioned period. On the other hand wine making is very aristocratic and noble occupation.
What should be done to break into the foreign market? In what countries is “Kataro” represented?
To break into the foreign market and to attract it one must produce qualified wine, provide with marketing, in order to be competitive, especially if you are a newcomer.
Marketing is very important for trade relations, which seems to be a matter of mindset, we are not used to “performing” something, we cannot do it.
“Kataro” wine is imported to England, Belgium, the Czech Republic, the Baltic States, Canada and in the next few months it may be imported to America.
Is the wine produced in Artsakh competitive?
Soon I will be able to give detailed answers to your question. In February we are going to send our wine to “Mandy wine competition” organized, the results will show. From my point of view potential of Khndoghni is more than Areni. I must mention that nobody has grape variety of Khndoghni, nobody can get its flavor, which is our tramp card. Certainly we can grow European sorts to product wine but we will not have the flavor and taste of that in Europe.