Grape and wine festival

30 - 31 August, 2019

AZERBAIJAN IS A PROUD SECULAR, MULTICULTURAL COUNTRY, A PLACE OF PASSIONATE CAUCASIAN SPIRIT, AND ONE OF THE CRADLES OF THE WORLD VITICULTURE.

The quaint, quiet village of Meysari in late August of 2019 hosted visitors from all corners of the world to behold one amazing event. Vice-President of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation Leyla Aliyeva has visited pavilions at the First Grape and Wine Festival orga- nized with the support of the Heydar Aliyev Founda- tion, Ministry of Agriculture, Shamakhi District Execu- tive Authority, “Regional Development” Public Union, State Tourism Agency and Azerbaijan National Carpet Museum.

Those who may disregard visiting a boutique wine tasting as “a small experience” are invited to Meysari to attend the National Grape and Wine Festival.

On the first day of the festival the stakeholders, including wine producers, field experts and representatives of the regulatory authorities got together for a roundtable dis- cussion. The aim of the event was to share opinions on the development of the local wine industry and the ways of expanding export potential in order to facilitate the access to the international markets.

Launched for the first time in August 2019, the festival is billed as “the most expected wine event in the country”. Food and wine aficionados travel across the country up to Shirvan Wines for a two-day celebration. Go- ing beyond simply food and wine tasting, the festival is a monumental effort to lend prestige to the history of viti- culture in Azerbaijan and expand the international reach of local wines.  

The visitors get a chance to learn about the varieties of the grapes grown in Azerbaijan, the most recognized local wineries and the brand products. The event features panel discussions, fami- ly activities and entertainment programs hosted by celebrities.

“The First Azerbaijan Grape and Wine Festival–onAugust 30–31,2019–greatly impressed the guests and remained in visitors’ memory owing to many surprises and interesting events” reported major media outlets in the country. The visi- tors, including tourists, participated in an unusual and magnificent historical show on the territory of the vineyards and winemaking complex Shirvan Wines LLC

Azerbaijan is amongst the emerging viticultural formation centers and, at the same time, this is an ancient center of viticulture and winemaking.                

In Azerbaijan, the viticulture and wine- making seriously revived during the last decade. The first-ever Azerbaijan Grape and Wine Festival undoubtedly provided a tribute to these traditions.            

The entire territory of the complex – including land, stones, stairs, trellises and retro cars – everything was turned into a big vine plantation with a central “vine” in the form of a hot air balloon.

The guests rushed to take a trip on a hot air balloon to admire Azerbaijan from a bird’s eye view. The festival-goers were walking holding bunches of grapes as if they were flowers. The guests marched through a path lined on both sides by oversized wine bottles repre- senting the products of each of the local wine brands featured in the festival.                  

The National Grape and Wine Festival also featured an enter- tainment program with the participation of the Azerbaijani singers Samir Jafarov and Aygun Kazimova, the virtuoso violinist Salim Abbasov and “Natig” rhythm band. The program included a performance by “Mirvari” dance group, where young girls – dressed in national costumes and holding baskets of grapes – depicted the work in the plantation to the music of “Where is Ahmad?” film.

An agro fair was part of the fes- tival. There, the visitors could stock up a variety of local or- ganic products. Besides, som- melier courses – led by some international and local experts – became the biggest hit of the Festival. Various educational and entertaining exhibits across the Festival grounds were dedicated to the viticulture and winemaking and the country’s tourism poten- tial. The fair showcased folk art of Azer- baijani regions, including copper, carpet weaving, shebeke (multi- colored glass mosaic), and pot- tery. Although few could com- pete with the attractiveness of the Azerbaijani national cuisine booths. The kids had fun in the entertainment zone, where they could visit the petting zoo and took part in various games. Yoga, stretching and Taekwondo class- es seemed particularly beneficial in the open air, in the beautiful landscape of Meysari.

A literary composition con- sisting of oriental poetry and Azerbaijani poetry dedicated to wine was presented. The works by Omar Khayyam, Seyid Azim Shirvani and other poets about grapes and wine were read out. Films about winemaking were screened in the open-air theater.                      

The first day of the festival closed with a grandiose light show on the lake and a disco party. Many guests participated in the night tour to the Shamakhi Astrophysical Observatory. On the second day of the National Grape and Wine Festival, tours were organized to introduce visitors to the close by Lahij village (Ismayilli district), and the local wineries in Shamakhi, Ismayilli and Agsu.

Celebrating all things wine, and bringing together an array of outstanding pairings for everyone to try, First Grape and Wine Festival not only offered guests the chance to sample a wide array of wines and enjoy food from a variety of brands, it also provided an entertainment experience in a beautiful upscale and modern village setting. But don’t take our word for it, come and see for yourself.              

See you in Meysari!

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