Celebrating International Women’s Month with Armenian winery owner Aimee Keushguerian

aimee iglive

The grape doesn’t fall far from the vine when it comes to ambition in the Keushguerian family. Aimee grew up in Tuscany, Italy, steeped in the family wine business, and is currently getting her MBA in Wine and Spirits at the Burgundy School of Business. Living in Burgundy, she is learning from some of the world’s oldest wine making families in France. She draws many parallels between how Burgundy was divided 200 years ago, and how Armenia, following post-soviet collapse, is faced with similar challenges today. Aimee envisions Armenian winemaking echoing Burgundy’s focus on crafting elegant, terroir-driven wines.

After joining her father in the 2016 Keush harvest, Aimee fell in love with Armenia’s ancient viticultural history and hooked on the challenge of being a pioneer.

Transitioning from roles at WineWorks and Keush Wines, she became a Riedel Ambassador to Armenia before founding her own brand, Zulal. Initially, Zulal aimed to experiment with rare indigenous grape varieties, leading Aimee to explore the unique characteristics of the Areni grape variety.

Driven by a desire to understand lesser-known vitis vinifera grapes endemic to the region, Aimee successfully micro-vinified varieties such as Chilar, Tozot, and Garan Dmak. This pioneering project pushes the boundaries of Armenian winemaking and highlights the rich viticultural landscape. Aimee sees the challenges in Armenian viticulture as an opportunity to redefine the emerging wine region.

Aimee was recently featured in the film SOMM ”A Cup of Salvation”, a documentary produced by the prolific Jason Wise, which follows Aimee and her father, as they embark on their quest to make wine in post-soviet Armenia and Iran. Recently, Aimee has been joined in discussions about the current state and promising future of Armenian winemaking on both the Wine Enthusiast and Wine for Normal People podcasts.


Interested in joining Club Storica?

Visit our club page to find out more about the benefits.

Through our Sip to Give program, Storica Wines is proud to donate 5% of all membership sales from Club Storica to Armenian charitable causes that are near and dear to our hearts. As a member of Club Storica, you are helping to contribute to the lifeblood of Armenia in more ways than just to the vintners in our portfolio, and we thank you.

Zulal Areni Featured in SOMM: Cup of Salvation Movie

This exclusive clip gives you a sneak peek about what to expect from the full movie…

Sneak peek of Zulal scene from SOMM: Cup of Salvation

Through an exclusive partnership with SOMM TV, Storica Wines is able to offer free access to SOMM TV through 2024 for anyone who purchases the SOMM: Cup of Salvation 4-Pack, which features two wines from Zulal. When you purchase the SOMM: Cup of Salvation 4-Pack from Storica Wines, you will receive an email directly from Storica within 1-2 days with a link to subscribe for unlimited access to SOMM TV Streaming through 2024.


Interested in joining Club Storica?

Visit our club page to find out more about the benefits.

Through our Sip to Give program, Storica Wines is proud to donate 5% of all membership sales from Club Storica to Armenian charitable causes that are near and dear to our hearts. As a member of Club Storica, you are helping to contribute to the lifeblood of Armenia in more ways than just to the vintners in our portfolio, and we thank you.

Wines from Keush Featured in SOMM: Cup of Salvation Movie

This exclusive clip gives you a sneak peek about what to expect from the full movie…

Sneak peek of Keush scene from SOMM: Cup of Salvation

Through an exclusive partnership with SOMM TV, Storica Wines is able to offer free access to SOMM TV through 2024 for anyone who purchases the SOMM: Cup of Salvation 4-Pack, which features two wines from Keush. When you purchase the SOMM: Cup of Salvation 4-Pack from Storica Wines, you will receive an email directly from Storica within 1-2 days with a link to subscribe for unlimited access to SOMM TV Streaming through 2024.


Interested in joining Club Storica?

Visit our club page to find out more about the benefits.

Through our Sip to Give program, Storica Wines is proud to donate 5% of all membership sales from Club Storica to Armenian charitable causes that are near and dear to our hearts. As a member of Club Storica, you are helping to contribute to the lifeblood of Armenia in more ways than just to the vintners in our portfolio, and we thank you.

‘The world’s most dangerous wine’: an Armenian vintner’s daring dream

On December 22, 2023, the LA Times published an article featuring Mòläna, one of our flagship wines. Ani Duzdabanyan had this to say in her article:

Several years ago, Vahe Keushguerian, one of the pioneers of modern Armenian winemaking, had a daring idea — making wine in Armenia and presenting it to the world as a wine made in exile.

The wine was named Mòläna to honor 13th century Persian poet and scholar Rumi, who was often referred to as Moulana. Aged in stainless-steel tanks, the ruby-colored wine with notes of raspberry and cherry and hints of winter spices showcases the native terroir with a rich volcanic soil and high elevation.

“It’s the most dangerous wine in the world,” Dustin Wilson, the master sommelier and co-founder of Verve Wine says in the film “SOMM: Cup of Salvation,” the most recent in a series of films that began with Wise’s 2012 documentary “SOMM,” which tracked aspiring master sommeliers as they tried to pass the notoriously difficult wine exam.


Interested in joining Club Storica?

Visit our club page to find out more about the benefits.

Through our Sip to Give program, Storica Wines is proud to donate 5% of all membership sales from Club Storica to Armenian charitable causes that are near and dear to our hearts. As a member of Club Storica, you are helping to contribute to the lifeblood of Armenia in more ways than just to the vintners in our portfolio, and we thank you.

Armenia Named One of the 7 Up-and-Coming Wine Regions

We are proud to share that Armenia was recently named one of the 7 Up-and-Coming Wine Regions That Should Be on Your Radar by Wine Enthusiast Magazine. Pamela Vachon had this to say:

Armenia’s wine renaissance is happening in real time, according to Ani Mouradian of Van Ardi, Armenia’s first post-Soviet, boutique winery. “The world can be watching live as we are progressing through the golden age of Armenian wine,” she says, given that the region is only about 15 years into the process of rebuilding. Soviet rule since the 1920s had seen the eradication of private winemaking enterprises in Armenia, during which time grape production in the country was co-opted for fruit brandies.

For Armenia’s winemakers, what’s old is new again. Evidence of winemaking in Armenia dates back at least 6,000 years. (Evidence of ancient winemaking can be found in the Areni-1 cave, after which Armenia’s most important red grape is named.) Today, ancient sites and grapes are being revived. So, too, are techniques such as amphora aging and the practice of kakhani, the careful drying of grape bunches hung on ropes.

“Armenia is fast being recognized globally for a set of wines that have a beautiful blend of familiarity and uniqueness that sparks a satisfying intrigue among consumers,” says Zack Armen, the second-generation Armenian-American who in 2018 founded Storica Wines, which imports Armenian wines to the U.S. In addition to Areni, which has a fresh and juicy profile similar to Pinot Noir, the white grape Voskehat—meaning “golden berry”—is poised as a Chardonnay alternative.

If you’re curious about Van Ardi, you can learn more about them here, and purchase their wines on our shop page


Interested in joining Club Storica?

Visit our club page to find out more about the benefits.

Through our Sip to Give program, Storica Wines is proud to donate 5% of all membership sales from Club Storica to Armenian charitable causes that are near and dear to our hearts. As a member of Club Storica, you are helping to contribute to the lifeblood of Armenia in more ways than just to the vintners in our portfolio, and we thank you.

Five Armenian Wine Grapes to Know

Five Armenian Wine Grapes to Know

There are more than 350 grape varieties grown across Armenia, some of which date back millennia. While a thirsty scholar could spend years studying all of Armenia’s indigenous wine grapes, a few varieties have emerged as major players in its modern wine industry. 

Arguably the most important red wine grape in Armenia is Areni, while Voskehat is considered the key white wine grape. They’re two of hundreds of indigenous grapes featured in the winemaking renaissance across the country. Winemakers use these grapes and many others to produce diverse bottlings that reflect not only Armenia’s varied terrain, 70% of which is mountainous, but also winemakers’ evolving tastes and expertise.

These five Armenian wine grapes can jumpstart your dive into an ancient world of wine.

Armenian Red Wine Grapes

Areni

Areni is used to make all sorts of dry red wines and rosés, and is cultivated throughout Armenia. Like Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, Areni is Vitis vinifera, a species of grapevine native to Southern Europe and Central Asia.

“With thick, dark skin, Areni is disease-resistant and strong enough to survive the country’s harsh winters, lending itself to elegant, full-bodied wines,” journalist Ani Duzdabanyan writes in The Los Angeles

Tasting notes for Areni include notes of red cherries, currants, and spices. Oak-aged iterations like Noa’s Areni 2019 can express nuanced flavors of berries, black tea, and cedar alongside velvety tannins. Areni is also used to make crisp, dry rosés like Shofer Rosé, and sparkling wines that highlight the grape’s potential for minerally complexity, such as Keush Ultra Blanc de Noirs

Haghtanak

Another widely planted red wine grape in Armenia, Haghtanak has a dark, almost purple color. Its name means “victory” in Armenian. 

Key aromas and flavors of Haghtanak include cherries, currants, blackberries, plums, and other red and black fruits, as well as chocolate, cloves, and other spices.

Haghtanak is often used in red wine blends, but the Voskevaz Karasi Collection includes a 2016 varietal Haghtanak fermented in clay amphora, or karas, and aged in oak barrels. The result is a full-bodied red wine with smoky, spicy blackberry notes that pairs beautifully with barbecue and other hearty fare.

Milar 

Also known as Kakhet, Sev Milage, and a host of other names, Milar is a red wine grape with a deep ruby color. It’s used in blends, as a varietal dry wine, and in sweet wine production. 

Milar produces fruit-forward varietal wines with notes of blackberries and red currants. Winemakers also blend Milar with other Armenian grape varieties to make layered wines with smoky, spicy flavors. 

Armenian White Wine Grapes

Voskehat

“There are more indigenous white grapes in Armenia than red—and Voskehat leads the pack,” says Matthew Horkey, coauthor of Uncorking the Caucasus, told SevenFifty Daily. “Producers are only beginning to unveil its potential.”

It’s an ancient variety, grown in Armenia for some 3,000 years. During the Soviet era, Voskehat was used to make brandy and sweet wines. 

Modern Armenian winemakers produce dry, medium-bodied Voskehat wines with aromas and flavors that include fresh-cut grass, white flowers, citrus, stone fruits, and more. When oak-aged, Voskehat produces wines with round, creamy profiles. Oshin Voskehat 2017, a barrel-fermented varietal wine, has a textured palate with bready, almond, and ripe fruit flavors.

Kangun

Created during the Soviet period, Kangun is a cross of Georgia’s Rkatsiteli grape and Sukhalinskiy Beliiy from Ukraine. One of the most common white wine grapes in Armenia today, Kangun is often bottled varietally and produces wines with notes of apricots and other stone fruits, as well as citrus, green apple, and herbal flavors.