LET THE WINE FLOW in the streets of Yerevan

LET THE WINE FLOW in the streets of Yerevan

Yerevan Wine Days is the most anticipated event of the year both for the locals and the tourists. Everyone awaits for the opening of the tourism season to take a glass of wine in their hand and enjoy the summer. In 2019, the event hosted 35,000 wine aesthetes within two days.  The situation was significantly different in 2020 due to the Covid outbreak, however, the organizers found another way to keep the presence of the Yerevan Wine Days active and make the year-long quarantine gap less harmful for the winemakers in Armenia.
Regional Post talked to Mary Badalyan, the co-founder of the Yerevan Wine Days, about the hardships of the previous year and the upcoming return of the wine celebration on the streets of Yerevan.
 
Text: Margarit Mirzoyan

 

 

That time of the year

Each year in May, the Yerevan Wine Days marks the kick-off of the tourist season in Armenia. This two day festivity provides the local winemakers an opportunity to introduce themselves to the visitors from all over the world, applying all their creativity and inventiveness.

“In general, the Yerevan Wine Days targets two primary directions: the development of event tourism and winemaking in Armenia,” says Mary Badalyan, “The event is an amazing opportunity for the winemakers to become recognizable, more visible, sell the product, and – which is more important – to receive feedback from the consumer on the spot.” Usually, it might take a lot of time and resources to get the opinion of the people and see your own production in the consumption process. During the Yerevan Wine Days, all it takes from the winemaker is to put together an interesting pavilion, sip the wine into the glass and listen carefully to what the consumer says. For the visitors, in their turn, this event is a good occasion to get familiarized with some new faces of the wine industry in Armenia or to find out more about their favorites from the founders or the winemakers themselves. Throughout the years, Yerevan Wine Days has united tourism and winemaking at one  platform and had quite a positive impact on the economy. 

 

Online

Even though, due to the Covid lockdown, previous year’s festival was postponed, the organizing team eventually decided to hold the event online. “At first, we wanted to have a very small live broadcast, where each of us would connect from our phones, but then we realized that the winemakers are in a crisis situation, it is summer ahead and the wine is not selling well. It seemed a bit crazy, as it’s hard to taste and smell the wine online but we looked for ways to deal with this issue and found them,” says Mary Badalyan. 

Realizing the importance of Yerevan Wine days for winemakers and acknowledging the impact the event has on the industry, they decided to take a closer look and go deeper than just a simple broadcast. The team hired CivilNet studios and DreamShots production to film the online event. At first, they wanted to rent a studio but they later found a cozy balcony at Saryan street, the main wine spot in Yerevan. No one knew that the event would take 7 hours instead of the planned four hours, but no one wanted to go offline either. People were sipping wine, and listening to the online conversations, enjoying the quality content about wine presented by different sommeliers, winemakers and other relevant specialists. These seven hours passed in one breath and made the organisers consider educational elements as an integral part of the event. 


 

Back to offline

This year, it feels like everything is back on track, the winemakers are fussing around, carefully bottling their wines and preparing the ideas to make their pavilions stand out from the others. Usually, the Yerevan Wine Days organizing team starts the preparation eight months before the initial event, however for this year's celebration, they didn’t need to prepare for 8 months as they have been ready for two years now. Of course there has been a lot of work to do, with new partners and new winemakers joining the scenery and the event extending its geography almost up to the parallel Parpetsi street. Quite interestingly, despite the fact that it was a difficult year for winemakers, the latter asked to increase the number of participating companies and have not 25 but 41 wine spots. Even though this extension would make their work much harder, the team decided to increase the number of spots, as the events of 2020 vividly illustrated the importance of helping one another and taking all the necessary steps to support the local producers. 

 

Wine content and creativity 

During the previous Yerevan Wine Days, the organizers conducted surveys among the visitors and realized that content and education is what was lacking for the event to become truly unprecedented. One can come to an event, drink wine, enjoy delicious snacks and then go home and it doesn’t matter whether it was an Armenian wine or not, if it was made from the indiginous grape types specific to this region or not. Quality content and information is what binds the customer with the product and makes him/her choose that particular wine from the abundant assortment in the stores, recommend it to the friends, or take it with them to another country. 

“We want the event to be meaningful, not only entertain the visitors, but connect them with Armenian wine, to give knowledge not just the experience,” says Mary Badalyan,“Thus we decided to hold a series of wine master classes during this year’s event.” There will be a large tent where 50 people will participate in one hour classes on various topics, such as "the 3 shades of Areni," "wine tasting," "pairing Armenian traditional cheeses and dishes with wine,” and so on. 

Mary Badalyan didn’t want to reveal all the surprises, but she mentioned the Art and Wine initiative which will give a chance to the visitors to learn how to paint inspired by various motives.Only 18-20 visitors will be able to participate in the masterclass simultaneously and the tickets are already being sold.

This year is Arno Babajanyan's centenary and the whole event is dedicated to the maestro and his music. The State Philharmonic Orchestra will perform in a smaller group during the event on a special stage (while a second one will be used by DJ’s).

“This is our tribute to Babajanyan,” says Mary Badalyan, “Every year the event is dedicated to one prominent person, such as Tumanyan, Saryan or to Yerevan’s 2800th anniversary, and next year we will dedicate the Yerevan Wine Days to Charles Aznavour.” So go find your glass and the small tote bag from the previous Yerevan Wine Days and prepare for the celebration of wine and life on the streets of Yerevan under the melodies of Babajanyan, while helping the local winemaker to stay afloat. 


Team picture of Eventtoura company