Tour an orchard and taste homemade wine
When Jivan Hovhannisyan moved to the Ararat Valley from Vayots Dzor in 1964, he brought with him a vine originally planted by his father to ensure the continuity of his family’s winemaking traditions. Nearly 60 years later, the Hovhannisyan family continues to make homemade wines from those same grapes, and they welcome you to come savor a sip (or two) of their history! With Jivan’s grandson Harutyun, you will tour the family’s magnificent fruit orchard, vineyards, and beautiful wine cellar in their newly built Noyan Vaz guesthouse, located in Pokr Vedi village—adjacent to biblical Mount Ararat. Winemaking in the Armenian Highlands is several thousand years old, but winemaking in the Ararat Valley dates to biblical legends of the patriarch Noah planting the first vines and making the first wine at the foot of Mount Ararat. While visiting the fruit orchard, you will learn about signature trees of the Ararat Valley, such as apricots and peaches. Harutyun will show you how he takes care of the trees, while also managing to find some time for both gardening and winemaking. You will appreciate agriculture’s vital role in the Ararat Valley, especially when you taste the orchard’s sweet seasonal fruits (including plum, apple, and peach) or pick some of them to make freshly squeezed juice to enjoy back on the Noyan Vaz terrace. While visiting the vineyard, you will better understand the nuances among the many local grape varieties and how Harutyun uses them to craft superior quality wines. Of course, there’s more to these fruits than wine! Harutyun also distills an impressive assortment of homemade vodkas from his diverse harvest of grapes and other fruits. While visiting the cellar, you’ll see where the magic happens—where the fruits from Haratyun’s orchard and vineyards become wines and vodkas. Based on his extensive knowledge of those fruits, Harutyun will share with you some of his secrets for making excellent spirits and how to best discern their distinctive flavors and aromas. But be careful: due to their smoothness and delicate flavor, the spirits may still pack a punch that can sneak up on you if you get carried away. Your tour includes an assortment of tea, coffee, sweets, and fresh fruits, which may help you select from the collection of wines and vodkas for sale. You will want to take home some of the intoxicating flavors of the Ararat Valley—and, when the time is right, to savor them and your memories of Armenia.
Meet the Host
Harutyun is a third-generation winemaker who has transformed his love into a profession and business. “When my grandfather was born, his father was already ill,” Harutyun recalls. “He planted a vine and told his wife, ‘When my son Jivan grows up, let him enjoy my love through these grapes.’” For Harutyun’s family—and for Armenia in general—winemaking is like parental warmth and gentleness that each generation shares with the next. Harutyun knows that his orchards and vineyards convey history and tradition because grapes and wine are an indelible part of the community’s culture and identity. Come join Harutyun for conversations over a glass of wine and Armenian fruits to experience the land where Noah may have planted the first vine.