By Rick Moradian
Over 6,100 years ago, in the village of Areni, our ancestors were busy crushing grapes and filling their earthen jars with frothy purplish juice, ready for fermentation and enjoyment for special occasions and rituals. Some 200 miles south of Areni, in the village of Urmia in present day Iran, I remember crushing the grapes that my grandparents harvested from their vineyard in the same fashion as our ancestors, stomping over grapes and watching the frothy purple juice flow through the spigot onto a catch basin!
Armenians have enjoyed wine, or as we know it, ghini, for all occasions. Aside from birthdays, baptisms, weddings or funerals, ghini has accompanied Armenian dishes for centuries. Ghini is not meant to be twirled in a crystal stemmed glass in order to “capture the layers of ripe honeydew melon, anise, sage and melted black licorice…” but to be enjoyed with a table full of delicious Armenian dishes, full of laughter and love and without the need to be expertly “paired”.
To follow up with the ghini tradition, at the upcoming December 5 AIWA wine tasting and fundraising event, I’m expecting to taste some of California’s premium wines that were not necessarily prepared in the old Armenia winemaking tradition, but more so with the expertise of grape growers and enologists who take pride in their artisanal hand crafted wines that compete with some of the best globally produced wines. I highly urge the Armenian community to attend this great event and support AIWA’s philanthropic initiatives. While I can’t promise that you will find a bottle of 4100BC vintage wine from Areni at this event, I can, however, guarantee that you will have a great time interacting with a professional group of wine lovers. More importantly, you will be supporting various Armenia based development initiatives, sponsored by the AIWA San Francisco chapter.
Remember, it all started when our ancestors, some 6,000 years ago, decided to stomp on a batch of red grapes and put the juice away for future use. Now, that’s Armenian thinking—Genats!
Rick is President and CEO of WineShipping, the leading provider of direct to consumer wine distribution services in the US with facilities in California, Oregon, and New York. His eldest daughter, Sophia Moradian, is Vice-President of AIWA San Francisco.