ArmInfo. Winemaking in Armenia is ahead of the dynamics of viticulture in terms of development, which may lead to a shortage of grapes. This opinion was expressed by the head of the Union of Winemakers of the Republic of Armenia Avag Harutyunyan at a press conference on November 11.
According to him, today Armenia is experiencing a wine boom. In particular, over the past 2 years about $ 20 million has been invested in winemaking, the lion's share of which is ensured by the Armenian Diaspora of Russia. In addition, during this period, as the expert noted, 25 new winemakers appeared.
According to preliminary data, both production and export of wine increased by almost 30%. It is noteworthy that along with the diversification of sales markets, the acceleration of growth in wine exports was recorded not in the traditionally leading Russian market, but in other sales markets. "We are on the verge of a wine revolution, there is great enthusiasm, investment, but there is no long-term development strategy for the sector," he stressed.
In this regard, Harutyunyan drew attention to the lack of quality grapes for wine. He explained that farmers are not used to produce high-quality raw materials, since it requires high resource costs for irrigation and fertilizing vineyards. At the same time, a quality crop requires late harvest. "The farmer does not have full trust in either the state or the purchaser. There are no risk insurance mechanisms for late harvest in Armenia. We don't have this culture", he said.
Among the main problems of winemaking Harutyunyan mentioned the accelerated pace of phylloxera spread in the absence of rational control methods. "We, unlike European countries, do not have the appropriate resources and mechanisms, so everything is in state of neglect. Soon we may encounter a situation that happened in Europe in 1840-1880'', the head of the Foundation said, stressing that about 30- 50 ha of vine plantations are infected with phylloxera in Armenia every year. According to Harutyunyan about $ 600 million is needed to mitigate the consequences of the problem, which will be used for replanting and updating vineyards, introducing new technologies, while neither the farmer, nor the state, nor investor have such resources. According to Harutyunyan, investors want to invest in land of large areas, which today are in the hands of a certain number of wealthy people who bought them back in the 90s for business purposes. Thus, as the expert noted, these lands do not serve agricultural purposes and degrade. "This is a very serious problem. In particular, in the Vayots Dzor region half of the land fund plots are not used today, " Harutyunyan noted.
It should be noted that according to the Statistical Committee of the Republic of Armenia, in January- September 2019 8.6 million liters of wine were produced in Armenia, with an increase of 44% per annum. According to the RA Customs Service, during the reporting period, Armenia exported 1.3 million liters of wine, with y-o-y growth of 16.5%, with a decrease in customs value by 1.5%. Traditionally, the main export market for Armenian wine is the Russian Federation (72.3%), followed by China (5%), Switzerland (4%), the USA (3.4%), Poland (2%), France (1, 8%), Italy (1.5%), Ukraine (1.2%), Georgia (1%) .