"I studied Armenian history by myself. Once the plane landed in Armenia, first I wanted to see Mt. Ararat, that I only saw it in photos" . That is how the 78 year old sommelier and wine blogger describes his first visit to historical motherland. Armand Melkonyan's family settles in Paris after Genocide and at age 31, the young man participates at the Sommeliers' International competition and becomes world's first best sommelier.
The Vine and Wine Foundation of Armenia with the funding of the Center of the Promotion of Imports from Developing Countries (CBI) organized a visit to Armenia for Armand Melkonyan and 4 other bloggers . They toured winemaking centers of regions of Vayots Dzor, Aragatsotn and Tavush, spoke with the local winemakers to understand what technology is applied to produce Armenian wines.
They acquired some knowledge about local wine taste and aroma, as well as managed to taste several wines produced locally.
The French Armenian sommelier noticed a drastic improvement in Armenian wine quality. "Many years ago, when I was tasting Armenian wine, there was sweetness that I did not like much, but now the Armenian wine quality has drastically improved". When asked what is associated much with Armenia, the sommelier confessed "Since childhood I heard about Armenia as a beautiful country, where people are friendly and hospitable. In France, my mother cooked Armenian food. When I learnt I have the chance to come to Armenia, I decided to definitely try Armenian traditional cuisine.
As far as the Armenian wine is concerned, I am here to witness how the wine is produced in Armenia, to taste it then support the wines to participate at the Meilleur Sommelier du Monde competition where I am a wine jury member. Journalists around the world participate at this competition and it has a huge TV audience. Bloggers from Spain, Estonia, Poland upon return will illuminate the history of Armenian wine and winemaking in their media platforms. Thus the advertising campaign is essential because Armenia is trying to find new markets for export in Europe.