The ancient people of Azerbaijan were notable for their high viticulture,
which isproved by numerousarcheologicalfindings.Expertsthink Azerbaijan's viticulture
dates back to no less than 7,000 years ago. Grape grew throughout the country,
from the highlands to the Absheron sands.
For instance, extremely interesting findings have been obtained in
Nakhchivan. Entire grape bunches, stone tools to process those and
household goods have survived from the depths of centuries. All this is
not surprising as viticulture played a special role in local tribal economy
and daily life during the Bronze Age.
Having improved grape selection for centuries, Azerbaijanis managed
' to make the vine a priceless source of inspiration for scholars and
poets. Pliny the Elder, a Roman historian, impressed by the richness and
farming culture in Azerbaijan, wrote, "Nowhere else have I eaten such
tasty grapes. This nation can work soil better than Egyptians do".
In their works, the ancient Greek historian Herodotus and the geographer
Strabo expressed their admiring successes of Azerbaijani wine-growers,
i . Not only have Azerbaijani wine-makers selected plenty of valuable
grape varieties, but also learned how to adapt imported varieties to the
specificities of different climates and soils across the country. Local grape
varieties reflect the history of viticulture with their names showing the
wide range of specifications from the type, color and aroma of grapes to
the location and grower.
There are more than 8,000 grape varieties in the world, but those which were
and are grown in Azerbaijan are among the sweetest and most high-yielding.
The famous Russian writer Aleksey Gorki while visiting Baku in 1936 didn't
hide his admiration for Azerbaijan's wine, and toasted to "the health of
the nation who drink sparkling sun beams from their glasses". And he
was right because grapes of such a fine taste grow due to sunshine and
warmth. However, the main secret of Azerbaijani wine is the love and
hard work of those people whose hands grow and protect the precious
Thanks to the government's clever policy, viticulture is experiencing
a revival as an important sector of agriculture. The famous viticulture
districts of Shamkir, Tovuz, Ismayilli, Shamakhi, Goygol and Nakhchivan
Local wine-growers especially hope that the project "Keeping
Genetic Resources of Caucasian and Black-Sea Wines" sponsored by the
International Institute of Genetic Resources (Italy) will help preserve
unique Azerbaijani varieties of grape.
Another project of importance for local viticulture is the Wine Route developed
by the Ministry for Culture and Tourism within the Kyiv Initiative Regional
Programme of the Council of Europe.