Voskeni is a young and ambitious winemaking project based on family traditions. The first vintage has already proven the high level of Voskeni wines, but its most exciting releases are yet to come. Attention to rare indigenous grape varieties and availability of vineyards located in several different regions of Armenia will serve as an excellent basis for further experiments.
Voskeni’s main 22-hectare vineyard is located in the Armavir (Sardarapat) region, Ararat valley, at an elevation of 1,000 m above sea level. The major types of soils are limestone, rock and sand. The grapevines are 7–8 years old. The plants are ploughed under for winter.
In addition, Voskeni has a number of experimental vineyards. One of them is a two-hectare plot located at an elevation of 1,150 m not far from the city of Ashtarak, with over 100-year-old vines growing on volcanic (tufa, pumice stone) and limestone rocks. Three more plots fully controlled by Voskeni throughout the growing season are located at Vayots Dzor: Rind village (1,300 m above sea level), Aghavnadzor (1,300 m above sea level), and Khachik village (1,900 m above sea level). The most widely planted grape varieties in all vineyards are Areni and Voskheat, with some Rkatsiteli cultivated at Sardarapat. Everywhere organic winemaking techniques and manual harvesting are practiced.
The newly-built Voskeni Winery is receiving the first grapes for processing in 2016. Until then, they used the facilities of Semina Consulting. The grapes were processed by a five-ton membrane press made by Bucher Vaslin. The company uses temperature-controlled stainless steel tanks, new Karabakh (Caucasian) oak barrels and third- to fifth-passage French oak barrels. The use of karas, traditional Armenian wine amphorae, is to begin in the near future.
The project is managed by the third generation of descendants of Smbat Mateossian, who founded a winery near Sardarapat way back in 1925. The vineyard is the responsibility of Smbat Mkrtchyan, the head of the family; promotion and marketing is the domain of his daughter and son Ararat. Karen Minasyan is employed as a viticulturist; he takes care of the vineyard, starting from pruning and finishing with development of the watering schedule. Josef Watzl is a guest consultant on a series of new wines.
Visiting Sardarapat, do not miss the majestic memorial dedicated to the heroes of the battle for survival and independence of Armenia that took place there about a century ago.