With its newfound oil and gas riches, Azerbaijan has been able to buy its way onto the world stage in a number of areas -- art and architecture, for example -- that one wouldn't normally expect from a small country on the shores of the Caspian Sea. Now it appears Azerbaijan is trying to apply this winning formula to wine, another field where the country, despite having a long history of winemaking, has not been particularly associated with (at least not in a good way). Reports the AzerNews website:
Azerbaijan is planning to gain more shares of world's vine market. It comes after the country joins the International Organization of Vine and Wine (OIV). Agriculture Ministry's Department Head Sabir Veliyev made the remark at a session of the Agrarian Policy Committee of the Azerbaijani Parliament on January 29. Veliev recalled that a prohibition law adopted by the Soviet leadership in 1985 on vine production has destroyed the viticulture industry in Azerbaijan. "Before the adoption of this law, the country produced about two million tons of grapes per year, which provided 40-45 percent of Azerbaijan SSR's GDP," he noted. Veliyev went on to note that in 2013, Azerbaijan harvested 150,000 tons of grapes. However, Azerbaijan intends to return to its past production capacity. The Agrarian Policy Committee has handed the draft law on Azerbaijan's joining to OIV to the parliament for further consideration.
While it may be a while until wines from Azerbaijan start competing for shelf space in American and European wine stores, reports in the Azeri press suggest the country's fruit of the vine is starting to make some headway in other places. According to AzerNews, the Gabala Winery's "Gold Baku" cognac and "Basarkecer" red wine recently won gold medals at the (prestigious, it goes without saying) International Fair of Foodstuffs and Food Raw Materials in Moscow. Meanwhile, as the News.Az site reports, the Sharg Ulduzu winery from the Shamkir will soon start selling it's products in, of all places, Japan. World conquest has to start somewhere.