Zorik and Yeraz Gharibian founded Zorah Wines in 1999 with the first vintage released in 2010. The 15 hectare estate is located in the shadow of Biblical Mount Ararat, in the South West Armenian mountains, at 1400 meters of altitude: this is the Vayots Dzor wine growing region.
Along with Georgia, Armenia lays claim to being the birthplace of wine. This is where the archeological evidence of the world’s oldest known winery has been discovered: the Areni 1 Cave, dating back to 5000 BC. The site is only a kilometer away from the estate.
Vayots Dzor has long dry summers with plenty of sunlight and high daytime temperatures that contrast with cool nights encourage a lengthy growing season. The phylloxera-free soils are rocky and rich in limestone, helping maintain moisture for the vines during the intense summer heat. These conditions enable the ancient native varieties Areni, Sireni, Chilar, Ararati, Voskèak and Garandmak, to reach their full potential.
While the Armenian wine industry was not able to flourish during the Soviet era, which at that time focused on Brandy production, Zorah is breathing new life into the country’s winemaking heritage. This is extreme agriculture, with no mechanization, focused on showcasing native old vines potential. Winemaking is minimalist with fermentation taking place in concrete tanks or terra cota amphorae (Karas in Armenian). The use of sulphites is judicious and no other inputs, or interventionist techniques are used. The resulting wines are pure, dense, dry, complex with long ageing potential. Decanting is recommended to fully enjoy these wines.