“I love wine because it is one of the last true things. In a world digitized to distraction, a
world where you can’t get out of your pajamas without your cell phone, wine remains
utterly primary. Unrushed”
The author of Wine Bible
Wine in Azerbaijan
Azerbaijani wine is produced in several regions throughout Azerbaijan. Prior to 20th century communist rule, Azerbaijan had a thriving wine industry that dated back to the second millennium BC. Azerbaijan, considered to be one of the birthplaces of the vine, is very rich in grape varieties, not only for the production of table or technical grapes, but also wild ones. According to a study, more than 600 local and introduced grape varieties can be found in Azerbaijan today. Azerbaijan was one of the major wine producers of the Soviet Union. Not only was the production area much larger than today but also yields were much higher. Harvests peaked in 1984 when Azerbaijan’s grape crop topped 2,000,000 tons, around 30% of the whole USSR total. But next year, in 1985, after Mikhail Gorbachev’s “anti-alcoholism campaign”, the majority of vineyards were cleared ruining the sector. In the beginning of the transformation process, the wine sector was not revitalized. The revitalization of the wine sector has begun at the beginning of the new millennium when a number of new companies have been established. Right from the beginning, these new companies started to work with European experiences and technologies. According to Mark Elliott, the catalyst for this new wave of European-style wine making here was the arrival of destitute settlers from Germany to areas of Azerbaijan that had been recently annexed by Imperial Russia. In 1860, Herr Vohrer incorporated Azerbaijan’s first fully fledged commercial winery company. Goygol Winery (Vineqro) still cites this as the starting point of their own business.
Wine tourism basically involves tourists visiting the wineries and having wine tasting of different wines with snacks. Sometimes, tourists have the opportunity to taste wines directly from cellars. It helps wineries to get known and showcase their best wines.
Wine Tours in Azerbaijan
Nasimi’s Wine Tours - https://winetours.az/ - is the first Wine tourism company who specializes in wine tours in Azerbaijan. Different wine tours are offered which involves both day trips, 1-night tour and multi-day tours in Baku, Shamakhi, Aghsu, Ismayilli, Gabala, Ganja. Moreover, combined wine tour of Azerbaijan and Georgia can be booked as well.
Apart from wine tours, combination of wine tours with golf, ethno master classes (cooking, pottery, carpet weaving and blacksmith), wine crawl and culinary tour of Azerbaijan are among the choices.
The foundation date is 27 September 2018 which is also considered as World Tourism Day.
You can find out more about the tours offered here: https://winetours.az/our-tours/
Till now every tourist left satisfied with the tours and surprised how amazing wines Azerbaijan has to offer. You can find all the positive reviews about the tours on TripAdvisor:
Besides the tours of the company are also listed on the great wine project by Azerbaijan Tourism Board:
About the founder
The founder – Nasimi Sadigzade was born in Baku, and studied Tourism Management in Victoria University of Wellington in New Zealand. During his studies for 3 years, he travelled a lot throughout the country and participated in winery tours in New Zealand as well (Napier).
It gave him an inspiration to open local wine tour company in future, at his home country. He also wrote a book about how to develop tourism in Azerbaijan, back in 2014. After working for different tourism companies in Azerbaijan, he decided to offer something different to Azerbaijani tourism, as he was feeling the need to offer something different, because most companies are offering same standard tours catering to mass tourism, which makes it difficult for tourists to choose.
Word from the founder:
“I would like to say thank you to all our friends at wineries – Savalan, Chabiant, Firelands, Azgranata, Goygol Wine Factory, not only for their support but also for producing quality wines, making us proud when guests enjoy them and tell us that Azerbaijani wines are quality wines which can compete with even French wines.
Most of the guests tell me that wine tours in famous wine countries are quite structured but here all tours are held like you are with your friends and having a great time. For me, the best part of this job is to bring together people from all over the world in Azerbaijan and enjoy great food and wine of this land. We are blessed with great climate and sunny days, which is reflected in fresh, natural food and wine we consume.
Currently, we do not have much financial resources, but we try to do our best to improve and to have social projects which will benefit more local people. We have to be thankful to our nature to giving us the quality products, and people who have their hard work on this land”