Tert.am has interviewed , Juliana Del Aguila Eurnekian, the Owner and President of Karas Wines. Below is the full text of the interview:
Karas Wines held its first harvest-gathering event 10 years ago. What was the underlying ideology, and the objective behind starting your business?
The vision has always been to create a project with a social heart and thinking long-term. Eduardo Eurnekian, my uncle and founder of Karas, wanted to create a project that could create quality labor, impact positively in the economy and recover an industry that had been forgotten over time.
Being a wine lover and knowing the ancestral Armenian wine tradition, the idea of Karas started to become a reality.
Every endeavor that we make as a family has to impact positively where we are based, that’s one of our family’s and company’s most important values.
With that in mind, we work not only to make amazing wines that can represent Armenia around the world but also to be active participants of the rebirth of the Armenian viticulture.
We are very proud of what we’ve achieved in these 10 years and looking forward to the bright future ahead of us.
Why especially Karas, and what accounts for your choice of especially Armenia as the country to realize the vision of Karas Wine?
When we started dreaming about Karas, wine was not something that people talked about in Armenia. That was the vision of Eduardo, to recover something as precious as viticulture is and invest in it to create what today we know as Karas. To recover this lost tradition with such a rich history of more than 6,200 years was his vision and goal, and with it, to take it around the world to tell people about Armenia and its wine. This is the reason we are based in Armenia, its history, amazing conditions to make wine, and of course, our Armenian soul that brought us back home.
We are very proud to say that with Karas, a whole industry was created along.
Since the beginning we focused on bringing to Armenia experts to help us understand the best practices to apply in our vineyard and also learn from the local viticultures that still work with us. We chose to buy Armenian, labels, bottles, barrels, karas, like that we can create a domino effect of success for the industry.
Karas Wines is in the Armavir province; what about your winemakers? Where do they come from?
At Karas we believe in team work, our head winemaker is called Gabriel Rogel, he is a young talented Argentinian young man, now based in Armenia since 2014. He is originally from Mendoza, a very prestigious wine region of Argentina. Along with him, Zara Kechechyan a bright young Armenian lady, who studied in the EVN wine academy and abroad. And Michel Rolland (one of the most prestigious winemakers of the world) as our consultant and my mentor.
What does the Armenian wine mean to you?
Armenian wine is a connection with my roots, with the earth that once was cultivated by my ancestors and today I have the opportunity to do so too. It’s the way we share Armenia, in my family and with the world, as every time we uncork a bottle of Karas we have the opportunity of sharing our story – the story of Armenia, of our family and all of those that work with us to make these wines.
What slogan/ideology did you pick as your guideline in the past 10 years?
“6200 years crafting wine” is how we endorse our bottles and the foundation in which we built Karas. It’s about recovering past traditions, refurbish what was lost in time and show it to the rest of the world. Wine is history, is culture and it’s our history and our Armenian culture, through Karas we have the opportunity of sharing it. We do this being conscious of how we impact with our work, that is why we choose to support local industries by buying local, recycle as much as we can, recover old karas and refurbish them to use them as in ancient times and be as sustainable as possible. We grow our own food at the estate for our workers, and next year we will have a fully organic and certified vineyard.
Now a couple of words about the most amazing hot-air balloon in Armenia; would you briefly elaborate on its history? What does it symbolize, and what developments to expect in the future?
The hot-air balloon is a dream come true! We started working together a few years ago and this partnership come up organically. We want to show the beauty of Armenia from every angle, from its mountains, its rivers, and from its wines, or course! Flying and getting to see Armenia from above is a magical experience – it’s a way of connecting with the place where we are making wine, a way of getting to know Armenia even better.
Let us talk about KarasWines’ projects; you have the A Tale of Two Mountains, a trend targeted at the youth. The name itself is interesting by definition. What developments to expect? What is the underlying concept behind the A Tale of Two Mountains? What wines does it comprise, etc? Would you elaborate a little bit on that and the reasons for choosing the youth as your special target?
A Tale Of Two Mountains is a story to be written by whoever drinks this wine. It’s about Mount Ararat (and its two peaks) who has been a witness of so much beauty, romances, sorrow, happiness, everything that happened and still happens in this vibrant land that is Armenia. A faithful witness of our lives and a symbol of unity for all Armenians around the world.
We hope that this wine connects us all together between each other and with our land to celebrate life!
It’s a non-traditional way to speak about a traditional symbol of ours, the idea of using a name in English is to make it international, to create a new bridge between Armenia and the world, and the label itself – fresh, modern, cartoonish. It’s a way to depict the Ararat Mountain in an intriguing manner.
The wines are not too complicated but delicious, two blends (white and red) both with Armenian and international varieties. The red is a blend between Areni and Malbec (a bit of my two homes), the white is Kangun – Chenin Blanc. A rose and a sweet Muscat
These 4 wines are an example of great wines at great prices, targeting not only young consumers but also people that want to start to drink wine or choose a wine to drink daily.
We hope this wine is as exciting as it is for us, and people enjoy it a lot!
What about Karas Wines’ development plans for the near future? What is your selected trend? What are the expected news for the customer?
We have so many plans for Karas, so many projects and work going on.
To start with, we are currently harvesting our 10th vintage. It’s a great year, amazing weather conditions and a strong team working on it.
We found that in these last 10 years we’ve grown a lot, along with our vineyard!
We are focused on our experimental winery and vineyard, mainly developing and getting to deeper knowledge of Armenian varieties. Specially Areni and Sireni.
We have new wines coming out by the end of this year and a lot to share in terms of R&D.
There’s a bright future for Karas and Armenian wines around the world!