Shamakhi, Azerbaijan, Sept. 2
By Vugar Imanov – Trend:
The First Azerbaijani Grape and Wine Festival has become one of the best festivals because it greatly impressed the guests and stuck in people’s memory by many surprises and interesting events.
The visitors, including tourists, participated in an unusual and magnificent historical show on the territory of the viticulture and winemaking complex Shirvan Sharablari LLC during two days on August 30-31.
Grapes are a wonderful gift of nature. This is the only fruit which is studied by such science as ampelography. For many centuries, viticulture in Azerbaijan has been the leading branch of agriculture and the main source of economic well-being of people. Azerbaijan is one of the centers of the emergence and formation of wine growing, an ancient center of viticulture and winemaking.
The numerous literary data and monuments of material culture and the tools used to grow grapes and make wine, pottery, which were found during archaeological excavations, testify to antiquity of cultivation of grapes in Azerbaijan.
The viticulture and winemaking in Azerbaijan has greatly revived during the last decade. Today, there are 450 local grape varieties in Azerbaijan. The holding of the first-ever Azerbaijani Grape and Wine Festival has become not only a certain tribute to these traditions, but it also greatly impressed the numerous guests.
The entire territory of the Shirvan Sharablari complex including land, stones, stairs, trellises and retro cars - everything turned into a big vine plantation with a central "vine" - a flying balloon.
Everybody wanted to make a trip through the sky and see Azerbaijan from a bird's eye view as in the novel by Jules Verne! Many guests were walking with a bunch of grapes as if with flowers.
The guests were greeted by various mummers in colorful costumes. The entrance to the territory passed through a corridor, on the sides of which there were huge bottles representing the products of each of the local winemakers who participated in the festival.
There was a concert program with the participation of Azerbaijani national artists Samir Jafarov and Aygun Kazimova, Honored Artist Salim Abbasov and the Natig rhythm group at the beginning of the festival. The most memorable compositions was the performance of the Mirvari dance group. The girls were dancing in national costumes and baskets of grapes as in the film "Where is Ahmad?"
There was also another memorable composition. While dancing, the boys were crushing grapes by feet as in the film entitled "The Taming of the Shrew" when, while dancing, Italian actor Adriano Celentano crushes grapes by feet (and this Italian composition was in the Azerbaijani language).
When the national rhythms of Yalla dance sounded, all the guests started dancing by holding hands. Then there was a parade with the participation of dancers and nagara performers, as well as an orchestra of wind instruments.
An agricultural fair was also organized on the decorated territory. Sommelier courses with the participation of international and local experts were also organized.
Various enlightening and entertaining events dedicated to the viticulture and winemaking and the country’s tourism potential were conducted during the festival.
The guests saw various types of folk art of certain Azerbaijani districts including copper craft, carpet weaving, shebeke (multicolored glass mosaics), and pottery as well as the process of their production, and learned about the national music and the culture of Azerbaijani cuisine.
Children of the festival participants had fun in the entertainment zone, where they visited the mini zoo and took part in various quizzes. The guests also took part in yoga, stretching and taekwondo classes.
A light show was organized in the evening on the lake, located on the territory of the complex. The violinists were performing on a yacht. There was also a theatrical performance “Shamakhi Princess surrounded by servants".
The guests also saw various musical shows with wine glasses.
A literary composition consisting of oriental poetry and Azerbaijani poetry dedicated to wine was presented. The works by Omar Khayyam, Seyid Azim Shirvani and other poets about grape and wine were read out.
The disco parties were organized during the festival. The films about winemaking were shown in the open air.
Many guests participated in night tours to the Shamakhi Astrophysical Observatory, tours to Lahij village of the Ismayilli district, and wine tasting tours to the wineries of the Shamakhi, Ismayilli and Agsu districts.
The first Grape and Wine Festival was successful. It will become traditional and will attract thousands of compatriots and foreign guests again.
The festival was jointly held by the Azerbaijani Ministry of Agriculture, the executive branch of the Shamakhi district, the Regional Development Public Union, the State Tourism Agency and the Azerbaijan National Carpet Museum.
The event aimed at promoting local production of grapes and wine, increasing the export potential of wine and bringing the history of winemaking in Azerbaijan to the guests’ attention.