LOS ANGELES, Calif.—Author, global energy consultant and anti-trafficking advocate Vahan Zanoyan’s latest novel Waking Noah’s Vines is a fictional tale about Armenia’s wine revival following independence from the Soviet Union. But the book will have a real impact on the country’s vineyards today. All royalties from the book’s sale will go to ONEArmenia’s (1A) current WineCubes of Armenia campaign, the continuation of its 2017 Farm-To-Bottle project, which is helping small-scale winemakers become active players in the Armenian wine industry, and driving tourism to their vineyards.
Waking Noah’s Vines tells the tale of a group of adventurous vintners from around the world, who embark on a wine-infused journey to revive the 6,000-year-old wine industry in Armenia after the country gains independence from the Soviet Union. Inspired by the real life revival of Armenian wine over the past decade, Zanoyan, who is a major consumer of Armenian wine, is determined to introduce the country’s ancient winemaking tradition to the world.
“When I first visited Armenia 30 years ago, one could hardly find a locally-produced drinkable wine. Today, I can honestly hold many Armenian wines up to the best international standards. That story was worth writing,” says Zanoyan about the inspiration for Waking Noah’s Vines.
Many of the winemakers who spearheaded the renaissance of Armenian wine today are close friends of Zanoyan, and are not unlike the fictional characters depicted in Waking Noah’s Vines. Some of those characters include a veteran winemaker from Tuscany, a casino mogul from Moscow, and a philosopher-vintner from Los Angeles. All are drawn to Armenia by the potential of wine, which in real life, is big. Forbes Magazine recently said that Armenian wine has a “brilliant future.” Zanoyan agrees.
“The potential for Armenia is not just in volumes of wine production and exports, but also in expanded tourism,” says Zanoyan. That’s why he is giving all the royalties from Waking Noah’s Vines to 1A’s WineCubes of Armenia campaign.
WineCubes of Armenia is helping small-scale winemaking families break into the industry by giving them the tools they need to produce high-quality wine, and then showcase it to tourists. That includes access to a state-of-the-art wine making facility in Yerevan, and a WineCube, an elegant tasting room built directly in their vineyard. Armenia’s first WineCube is already up and running in Areni village, where Nver and Narine Ghazaryan are showcasing their new wine brand, Momik Wines, launched through 1A’s Farm-To-Bottle project in 2018.
Since launch, Momik has sold out on all its 2017 vintage red, white and rosé bottles, hosted over 500 tourists from 20 different countries for tastings at the WineCube, and achieved 5/5 star reviews from visitors on Facebook, TripAdvisor and Google. As a result of their success and the support 1A continues to provide, the Ghazaryans have increased their annual household income by over 160 percent. They went from selling their grapes to large wineries for about $0.25/kg to now owning and operating their own wine brand and tasting room.
WineCubes of Armenia will expand on the success of Momik, launching a second local wine brand with a new entrepreneurial family, build a second WineCube in their vineyard in the village of Aghdzk, and drive tourism to both vineyards in 2020.
“WineCubes of Armenia achieves many goals. First, it’s helping villagers create sustainable incomes in their villages. Second, it’s bringing an age old tradition back to Armenia’s winemaking regions. This is part of [Armenian] heritage and culture, and was almost extinct. Third, it’s creating diversity among wine producers in Armenia. And fourth, it’s creating wonderful hubs for wine tourism, with proper tasting rooms and related activities in Armenia’s vineyards,” Zanoyan says.
“Armenian wine is good, it’s ancient, it’s complex, and it’s ready for today’s market.”