Azerbaijan Tourism Board Wins Iter Vitis Award
To celebrate its work and contribution in promoting viticulture, winemaking and wine tourism, the Azerbaijan Tourism Board (ATB) was granted a “Special Award Iter Vitis” dedicated to Paolo Buenvenito, founder of the Iter Vitis Route, on October 22, 2020.
Iter Vitis is a network of cultural itineraries by the Council of Europe whose mission is to support the recognition and preservation of tangible and intangible winemaking heritage. Considering the culture of the vine, winemaking and viticultural landscapes as an important part of European cultural heritage, the Council of Europe also puts a great emphasis on Iter Vitis routes as a means of offering new travel perspectives.
Accordingly, in the beginning of 2020, the European Institute of Cultural Routes and ATB jointly established Iter Vitis in the Caucasus – a wine route of Caucasus countries, namely Azerbaijan, Georgia and Russia, after assessing the potential of wine tourism in the Caucasus region. Thus, the Caucasus Wine Route is a certified cultural route of the Council of Europe aiming to develop and showcase the local heritage of viticulture. The project also serves to improve enotourism not only in Azerbaijan, but also in the wider Caucasus by establishing a fruitful cooperation between the countries in the region through training sessions on the development of winemaking and wine tourism.
Having 3 major wine routes across 8 wine regions, Azerbaijan has a long history of wine production that has brought about a thriving wine industry. Most of Azerbaijan’s production comes from larger companies with access to a wide variety of vineyards on hilltops, offering factory tours, tasting rooms together with wine hubs in the centre of Baku. Along with well-known grape varieties like Merlot, Pinot Noir, and Cabernet Sauvignon, etc., Azerbaijan also makes great use of grape varieties endemic to the region like Saperavi, Madrasa, and Bayan Shira, some of which are used to create magical blends of low-alcohol, semi-sweet wines maintaining much of the natural sugar. As well as the classics, Azerbaijan also has a fast growing demand for other non-grape wines, most notably full-flavoured pomegranate-based wine, which can be tasted at the wineries of AzGranata and AZNAR and at wine bars in the capital city Baku as well as at the traditional Goychay pomegranate festival held every year in early November.