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Wine Story: History of NOA, from Noah to modern times

19:30, June 16

NOA Wine, founded by Areni Viticulture LLC, is a synthesis of rich historical heritage and modern winemaking technology. The project began in collaboration with the Swiss wine house St. Jakobskellerei Schuler & Cie AG Schwyz, founded in 1694.

In an interview with News.am Style, the director of the Noah of Areni winery, Arsen Mkrtchyan, told how from a person working with telecom operators, he became the head of one of the famous wineries in Armenia.

Chance meeting: How Arsen Mkrtchyan became a winemaker

Arsen admits that he never thought of connecting his life with winemaking, but an incident changed his destiny. A friend asked him to help Jakob Schuler, owner of the oldest winery in Switzerland, acquire vineyards in Armenia to produce Armenian wine. In 2013, Jakob Schuler, head of St. Jakobskellerei, went to South Caucasus to explore the origins of winemaking. His journey took him to Armenia—to Vayots Dzor Province. And after much research and tasting, he decided to create a winery here.

“It was a very responsible assignment. I was excited because I had no idea how to choose a good vineyard. I only knew about the Areni variety and practically did not drink Armenian wine. But I started studying this topic, trusted the right people, and made a choice that became the first step towards creating NOA wines,” said Arsen. He thought that this would be the end of his role in the project, but received an offer to become Shuler’s business partner and monitor the economy and production process.

Founding of NOA Wine: Partnership and development

By 2017, the vineyards in Rind and Aghavnadzor villages were acquired, marking the beginning of NOA Wine.

Armenia has an ancient and rich history of winemaking, dating back to biblical times. Legend has it that Noah planted the first vineyards on the slopes of Mount Ararat. Scientific research has confirmed this legend: a 6,000-year-old wine press and grape seeds were discovered in a cave near Areni village, making Armenia the birthplace of winemaking.

NOA Wine is named after Noah. Its whole story is an interweaving of symbolism and accidents. The history of this winery is not just a journey of making wine, but a journey through time, culture and heritage, reflecting the spirit of Armenia and its winemaking traditions.

NOA Wine approach to winemaking

In general, NOA Wine’s approach to wine production is based from start to finish on respect for traditions and the introduction of modern technology. Its vineyards in Rind and Aghavnadzor are carefully maintained, reflecting a commitment to quality and sustainability. The wines produced here are a testament to the region's unique terroir and age-old winemaking practices.

“Jacob Schuler first acquired the vineyards and only then built the winery. Although this may seem unusual, his philosophy is based on the belief that wine begins in the vineyard. It is an approach that emphasizes the importance of quality grapes as the foundation for creating exceptional wines.”

The people who lived on the land where Schuler purchased his first vineyard stayed to work for NOA and became one big family. This community, united by a shared purpose, reflects the spirit of unity and commitment to quality that underlies all NOA wines.

NOA Wine's portfolio is diverse and reflects the rich heritage and unique climate of the region. The main goal is to create wines that not only celebrate Armenia's winemaking heritage, but also suit modern tastes.

Armenian wines in Kazakhstan

NOA Wine recently held a wine presentation in Almaty, Kazakhstan, and it was an important experiment. “First of all, we represented not ourselves and our wines, but Armenia and the Armenian history of winemaking. It turns out that people in Kazakhstan are practically unfamiliar with Armenian wines; for them, only our brandy exists. The Georgians have succeeded in this, and this is not surprising. They know how to promote and sell themselves, and their wines in Kazakhstan are very well promoted, their brand is advanced, and their varieties are recognizable. We still need to work hard and for a long time on this in order to achieve the same level of recognition abroad,” noted Arsen Mkrtchyan. He added that the problem of local industries and the Armenian economy as a whole is that they strive for “overseas” distances while missing out on available promotion options right next door.

NOA wines are a bridge between ancient traditions and modern winemaking, telling the world the history of Armenian winemaking. And through a combination of historical respect and innovative practices, NOA Wine continues to create exceptional wines that honor its rich past and look to the future.

Liana Aghajanyan

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