By Sara Israfilbayova
Since ancient times, viticulture has been of great industrial importance in the agriculture of Azerbaijan. And today viticulture is considered a priority industry in improving the economic situation in the country.
Over the past 10-15 years, modern grapes processing enterprises have been built in Azerbaijan, the technical equipment of which allows them to compete even with the leading European manufactures, since this sphere was given special attention by the government, and a lot of investments were attracted.
The government plans to increase the wine exports fivefold by 2025, according to the State Program for the Development of Winemaking in Azerbaijan in 2018-2025, approved by President Ilham Aliyev on May 3.
Last year, over one million decaliters of winemaking products were produced in Azerbaijan, of which 375,000 decaliters were exported. The main export directions of the Azerbaijani wine were Russia (338,000 decaliters) and China (27,000 decaliters).
Rafael Mammadov, Senior Leading Adviser of the Economic Department of Jalilabad Region Executive Power said that grape harvesting in Jalilabad is about to end.
“This year 1,331 hectares of vineyards have been planted in the region and 9,920 tons of grapes were harvested from this area,” he told Trend.
He went on to say that 801 hectares of 1331 are grapes for tablecloth, while the remaining 530 hectares are grown for technical production.
Mammadov stressed that among table grapes varieties in these areas are Sultani, Prima, Autumn Royal, Sardoni and Marlon grapes, for technical production, there are Pinot, Saperavi, Cabernet, Moldovan, Tabrizi and Sirah grapes, adding that it is planned to complete the harvest by mid-September.
Viticulture in Azerbaijan has an ancient history. The proof of this is that during the archaeological excavations conducted in Aghstafa region of Azerbaijan in 1962, grape seeds were found. Archaeological finds in Uzerliktepe, Kultepe and Gazakh evidence to the ancient culture of winemaking, which is going back to the end of the III millennium BC.
In the 1980s the State Committee for Viticulture of Azerbaijan occupied the first place in the USSR, outstripping the oil industry.
Winemaking is one of the profitable and historical spheres of the agro-industry. About 210 wineries operated in Azerbaijan in the 1980s, while over 151,000 workers and specialists worked in the winemaking system.
On the territory of Azerbaijan, both white and red wines are produced. In particular, most wines are produced at the Khachmaz factory. Hence the best white, red and pink wines are exported to Russia, Ukraine, the Baltic States, Poland, France, Spain, Turkey and China.
Among the most famous varieties used in wine production are Kishmish, Bendi, Gamashara, Gizili, Marandi, White Shani, Aligote, Sauvignon, Muscat, Pinot, Riesling and others. In total, the state grows more than 450 varieties of grapevine.
Today, the country plans to open wine houses in different countries, and the first one opened in Urumqi, China on September 2.
Azerbaijan Wine House will support the export of national products, expand the volume and geography of exports, and promote the Made in Azerbaijan brand in Chinese market.
The main export destinations for Azerbaijani wine are Russia (85 percent), China (seven percent), Europe, Belarus and Kyrgyzstan.