The history of wine dates back to the ancient times and counts over eight thousand years. Different nations have different interpretations of this story, challenging their own success on its origin. After our ancestors had tasted this divine nectar for the first time, they left us the love to this drink as a heritage, which became an integral part of today’s civilization.
Each wine-producing region of Azerbaijan has its own local stories, backed by unique archaeological findings that tell us of the ancient wine-growing traditions.
... And invited the queen to pay tribute to the great Iskender with wine instead of gold. And that wine was generous and granted more happiness than gold.
So says the story about the campaign of Alexander of Macedon, and through the prism of time there is one thing is clear - the gold-worthy vine has been grown in our area for centuries. This has been proved by the archaeological excavations on the territory of Azerbaijan, clearly confirming the existence of developed viticulture and winemaking art.
The Italian archaeologist Lawrence Constantine shows that grape seeds which were found in Shomutepe serve as a proof that in the early second millennium B.C. cultivised vine existed there. Similar findings have been discovered in Uzerliktepe, Kultepe and Kazakh.
Dried or semi-decomposed grapes have partially preserved inside the ground layers. Numerous fires have incinerated huge harvest of grapes one after another, and only the pitchers and vessels have brought us an echo of the former prosperity. Grape seeds aged more than three and a half thousand years were found during the archaeological excavations near the Aghdam town, Uzerliktepe, Goygol region and Nakhchivan and the experts have come together in the opinion that these were table grape seeds of various sizes, the largest of which were 6.5 mm in length (respectively the size of berries could be 18 - 20 mm). These seeds were found together with stone tools, which were used for the preparation of wine; give every reason to assert that in the Bronze Age wine played a special role in the economy and life of the tribes inhabiting those territories.
Excavations were also carried out around Gyandzhachay. Their results demonstrate that the people of this region were actively engaged in horticulture and viticulture during the Bronze Age. During the excavations of the mound, referring to the last period of the Bronze Age clay jars containing fossils of some products were found. Their chemical analysis indicates that this is a fossilized precipitate of wine, with the remnants of grape seeds. Vessels for wine storage, as well as fossilized food remnants were also found during the Yaloylutepe tombs excavations in Goygol region.
The finds date back to the late Bronze Age. Leaving these vessels filled with wine next to the deceased during a funeral ceremony, the relatives of the deceased believed that he would certainly need it in the afterlife. Along with the dishes, which have preserved the remains of wine (jugs, cups, various vessels), archaeologists have found tools used by winemakers: a hoe, a knife, stones for pressing grapes, a sector, a bill, etc.
Press-stones, used for making wine, were also found deep under the ground in the Givrag and Shahtahtly- Garabaglar villages and Galachyg, Kultepe settlements of Sharur region in Nakhichevan. Each stone had a deep hole in the middle, and a deep groove on one edge through which clarified wine used to overflow.
These findings also indicate widespread development of viticulture in this region in the II millennium B.C. A large clay pot dating back to the II millennium B.C. was found during the excavations in the Borsunlu village of Ter-Ter region in 1982. Scientists have shown that this pot with a hole at the base was used for the extraction of grapes.
In fact, the territory of Azerbaijan has the natural conditions that favorably influence the emergence and development of wine. Along with hunting and fishing, the primitive people were also engaged in collecting wild berries, fruits, grapes and using them as food and nutrients with high flavoring qualities.
The history of wine growing in Azerbaijan and neighboring countries is very rich in a variety of exciting events and interesting facts. We know, for example, that when the troops of Alexander of Macedon besieged the neighborhood of the Bard, according to the agreement with the ruler Nushaba the tax imposed on the local population was replaced with wine. And in the Assyrian books wine is also mentioned in the list of products that enumerates the taxes in the north - western Media. The Manna residents used to greet the Assyrian soldiers with wine and flour during the campaigns of Sargon II at Urart in 714 year B.C.
Various ancient scholars and historians have left evidence of the development of viticulture. Greek scholar Herodotus, known as the "father of history" who lived in the fifth century B.C., describing the grapes from the territory of modern Azerbaijan, said: "The abundance, quality of the grapes of these places is known even in ancient Iran, Babylonia and Greece."
The Roman scholar Plinin the Great (79-23 years B.C.), delighted with the untold wealth and agriculture on the territory of Azerbaijan, wrote: "I have never eaten such delicious grapes. These people know how to work the land better than the Egyptians. "
The famous Greek geographer Strabo (I century B.C. - I century A.D.), describing the economic activity of the population of Ancient Azerbaijan, underlined the role of wine: "In the Caucasian Albania vineyards do not hide, every five years, the ends of the vines are harvested, the new plants given crops on the second year, and the old vines give so much crop that part of it remains unharnessed. »
The prominent Azerbaijani geographer and historian Abdurrashid Bakuvi, who lived in the second half of the XIV and early XV century, tells of growing grapes in Baku and the surrounding areas, as well as the importance of viticulture.
The best varieties of grapes were exported to distant lands by numerous merchants and travelers. The geographer and traveler Adam Oleari writes that the first vines were brought to Astrakhan by Azeri merchants, or the merchants of Shirvan. In his memoirs of Azerbaijan A. Oleari described varieties of grapes cultivated here, and pointed the existence of about six varieties of grapes.
The famous Turkish scholar and geographer Evliya Celebi traveled to Azerbaijan in 1647-1649 years. In his ten-"The journey", he gave detailed information about the countries he had visited, including Azerbaijan. There he pointed out the unique taste and quality of the Azeri wines.
Azerbaijan’s accession to Russia in the early nineteenth century contributed to the revival of winemaking, and in the Soviet times – to the creation of large vine farms and wineries.
Throughout the centuries, viticulture and winemaking developed in Azerbaijan, climatic conditions have contributed to the cultivation of different, very sugary, the earliest and long-term storable grapes.
Our country has all the conditions for the production of wines that can compete with the world's best wines. That's because from generation to generation varieties have been carefully selected, cultivated and improved by wine producers. Local grapes and wine were appreciated far beyond of Azerbaijan by travelers, famous scientists and statesmen.
The famous Russian writer Maxim Gorky tried the wine and was impressed and fascinated by its taste during his visit to Baku, Azerbaijan in 1936. History has preserved his famous toast: "To the health of the people who drink the sparkling sun rays from the wineglasses!”. Indeed, without the sun ripening of tasty grapes is impossible. There are many regions in the country where there is enough solar heat and light. Even the lowest-sugar varieties grown in the territory of our country feature special taste that perfectly suits for the production of table wines and grape juices. As a result of serious empirical research, the Azerbaijani Vineyards have brought many valuable varieties. Each of these varieties has been adapted to the peculiarities of soil and environmental conditions inherent to the different zones of the country.
These varieties were named for different qualities: color (black, white, yellow, sarygilya, violet, gok gezendan, kara serme, etc.), quality, taste, aroma (gilabi, kishmishi, shakeri, Tembo (tembeki), Shira, kerimgandi), type and size of berries (gushureyi, misgaly, tulkukuyrugu, devegozu, tulegozu, kechimemesi-inekemjeyi, gelinbarmaki-hatynbarmaki), the density of cork (das uzum, kalinkabig, nazikkabig), seed size and shape of the clusters (sapda-Durmaz, hacabash, bandi, teberze).
The names of some varieties of grapes come from the names of places of origin, "Beylagan", "Tabrizi", "Shabran", "Derbendi", "Ordubadi", "Shirvanshakhs", "Tattli", "Marand", "Madrasas", "Shahtakhti." Not many grapes can be compared with the Azerbaijani "Shirvanshakhs." The Cahors wine "Kurdamir" which was made of this variety, has become one of the wines, recognized around the world. Some of the same grape varieties have made famous the names of the people who brought them, "Khalili", "Husseini", "Asker", "Sakina Khanum", "Mukhtar", "Agadai", "Meley," etc.
In addition to local varieties, the Azerbaijan growers have learned how to grow and adapt new varieties of grapes imported from other countries to different climatic conditions. For example, the sorts "Rkatsiteli", "Tavkveri" were brought from Georgia, "Muscat”, “Bird" - from the Crimea. In the mid-nineteenth century, new varieties were imported from Europe - "Isabella", "Riesling", "Cabernet", "Aligote", etc. As a result of acclimatization and research in the field of care they bring wonderful crops and feel excellent at the new location.
Since the ancient times, the Caspian coast has been the place for viticulture thriving.
Throughout all the stages of the history viticulture has been developing in Azerbaijan. But the development of its wide industrial production refers to the 70 th year of the twentieth century.
"PRIMORSK" winery is located in picturesque unique location and microclimate of the valley village of Boyuk Hamya which was built and began its operating at that time. The winery was built in the middle of vineyards cultivated varieties of local and European breeding since long time.