Zorik Gharibian planted six hectares of the native Areni grape variety in the Yeghegnadzor valley in southeastern Armenia in 2006, under the guidance of Italian viticulturalist Stefano Bartolomei. The vineyard is situated at an altitude of 1,370 metres, close to Mount Ararat and two kilometres from what archaeologists say is the oldest winery in the world, dating back 6,100 years. Zorik is part of the seven million Armenian diaspora (there are just three million people living in Armenia). He was born in Iran into a family that had fled Armenia in 1915. His parents sent him to the Armenian school in Venice when the Iranian revolution took place.
He stayed in Italy and built a successful fashion business that enabled him to pursue a passion and invest over €1 million in this project. The simple winery has stainless steel tanks, round cement tanks and some French and Armenian oak. The wines are made under the guidance of Alberto Antonini. "I was struck by the superb conditions when I first visited the area", says Alberto. "The altitude gives cool nights and a long growing season, so we don't harvest until the end of October. It is very dry with intense sunlight and stony, low vigour soils. It is one of the most exciting projects I've ever been involved with.".