Eight years of Yerevan Wine Days

Armenia’s capital city hosted one of its most anticipated annual festivals, Yerevan Wine Days, on June 7-9, 2024. Already established as one of the city’s summer traditions, this was the eighth Yerevan Wine Days. Started in 2017 with only 20 winemakers, this year there were 87 who presented over 1,000 varieties of wine. The festival not only supports major local wine companies but also serves as a platform for emerging ones.

During the festival, three of Yerevan’s main streets — Saryan, Moskovyan and Tumanyan — were closed off and dedicated to the festival. The number of visitors increases every year, and more than 150,000 people attended the festival this year, 30% of whom were tourists. As one of the most large-scale events in the Republic of Armenia, Yerevan Wine Days has become both a brand and a tool of economic circulation. The festival contributes to the re-establishment and development of old Armenian wine-making traditions while aiming to position Armenia in the world as the cradle of wine. 

Along with the promotion of Armenian wine, Yerevan Wine Days brings together thousands of people in the center of the city, enabling them to create warm memories and new acquaintances. This is one of the goals of the organizer, EventToura, as it plans large events and festivals and directs the flow of tourists to specific events, providing them with pleasant entertainment, all while highlighting the country’s cultural values.

The festival is divided into four zones: wine, gastro, music and charity․ The music zone includes two stages, and the entire course of the festival is accompanied by music featuring several Armenian and foreign bands and artists. The event also offers a variety of gifts from participants and sponsors. The raffle booth is located in the center of the area, where visitors fill out raffle tickets for wine enjoyment packages. In the evening, the winners are announced from the stage, for prizes including wine, various branding items, trips abroad and an expensive phone from the sponsor. A number of flash mobs, dance numbers and games take place during the festival as well. In addition to winemakers, dozens of food companies participate, which also provides them with visibility and the opportunity to publicize their products.

Interestingly enough, not only does Yerevan Wine Days promote Armenian wine in the region but also in the international market. By shedding light on Armenia’s winemaking potential, the festival has contributed to the development of the country’s event tourism and the state’s economy. In 2017, when the festival was taking its initial steps, it had around 20 participating wine companies and about 10,000 visitors, and it was held in one part of Saryan Street. With each passing year, the event expanded, resulting in a large increase in both the number of participants and visitors. Along with winemakers, new partners and sponsors have become involved, and the space for the event has expanded to include the three major thoroughfares. In 2023, the festival had 120,000 visitors, 30,000 of whom were tourists. Thanks to this tourist flow, the festival provided an average profit of $25 million to the economy.

This year, in parallel with Yerevan Wine Days, EventToura held a new “Wine and More” business market project at Diana Abgar Park (Seasons Park). During the market, alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverage producing, exporting and importing businesses had the opportunity to meet, present their products to visitors and establish profitable cooperation with representatives of the international and local market. More than 45 manufacturers participated in the business market this year.

When considering the factors that have contributed most to the festival’s growth and popularity, the motto that founders Mary Badalyan and Nune Manukyan go by is, “It is important to be in the right place at the right time.” Even though the festival was a necessity for both the winemaking and tourism industries in the country, the basis of the festival is nonstop work. The goal of the co-founders was and remains to create a business model that could work independently with different sponsors, rather than relying on grants or other funding. “Yerevan Wine Days was the first commercialized and self-sufficient festival, which was independent of grants and state funds. This is an important factor for the longevity of the event,” said Badalyan and Manukyan.

The goal of establishing Yerevan Wine Days was to create a product that will continue to be implemented even after 100 years and serve the development of Armenia. As the festival continues to expand each year, the goal remains constant, but larger milestones lie ahead, as both the festival and the industry hold immense potential for growth.

Hena Aposhian

Hena Aposhian

Hena Aposhian is a freelance journalist who primarily focuses on Armenian arts & culture. She is a graduate of the American University of Armenia and holds a bachelor's degree in English & Communications.

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