Renaissance of Armenian wine in the USA

Many Americans can’t pinpoint Armenia on the map, much less be expected to know about the country’s rich cultural history. That said, now is the time to experience the full beauty and cultural richness of this region through its newest and most rapidly growing product: fine wines.

One company – Storica Wines – is bringing Armenian wine to the U.S. with a digital-forward sales, marketing, and operational approach that is scaling rapidly from coast to coast.

Led by Co-founder and President, Zack Armen, the Storica Wines team was facinated by the ancient and emergent wine industry of Armenia. Though wine import and sales was not an industry he planned to be in, he fell into it as a true form of appreciation for the country he calls home.

When Armen met winemakers Vahe and Aimee Keushguerian in Yerevan in 2018, they described the winemaking renaissance that was underway in Armenia, and the importance of expanding Armenia’s wine reach into the U.S. This prompted Armen to start Storica. After raising capital from investors in late 2020, he has been able to scale the business to a now 20+ person team across sales, marketing, brand/product, and operations/logistics, dispersed throughout the country.

All the wines in Storica’s portfolio are made from indigenous grapes from Armenia. Winemaking artifacts show that these grapes were first grown over 6,000 years ago and are now being revitalized by several top-tier winemakers and viticulture experts in the country. These little-known grape varieties mirror Armenia’s attitude – full of life, authenticity, and resiliency –  and a familiar yet unique taste that satisfies the American consumer’s palette.

Currently Storica wines can be found in restaurants that include Ilona, a lively restaurant located in South End, Boston. This Mediterranean restaurant boasts an impressive wine program featuring special selections from biodynamic and progressive producers.

Popular dishes to pair with their impressive selection of wines include seafood dishes such as the grilled octopus with lemon and olive oil, and the mussels buzara with PEI mussels, garlic and white wine; kebabs which range from beef and chicken to salmon and adana lamb; and homestyle entrees such as musakhan with whole roasted chicken, sumac and pine nuts and the lamb burger.

Another restaurant is Santorini By Georgios in Miami Beach which features a menu of Greek and Mediterranean cuisine that includes authentic Greek fare, fresh seafood, and grilled meats. Think beef wagyu kaftedes; branzino; colossal king prawns; mousaka and more. This upscale spot also offers private dining, indoor or pool side seating just steps away from Miami Beach.

Driven by organic content creation, awareness generation, and promotion of Armenian wines through predominantly digital channels, Storica’s expanding portfolio offers incredible taste profiles, featuring a diversity of wine types (reds, whites, sparkling whites, and roses) with strong price-to-quality dynamics.

Storica currently represents four brands nationally – Zulal, Keush, Oshin, and Shofer. As the industry grows, Storica is widening its scope of brands, including off-the-beaten-path indigenous grape varieties and winemaking styles, featuring all that Armenia as a wine region has to offer.

Throughout this expansion, Armen and his team realize the importance of providing consumers access to their wines online conveniently and affordably. To this end, they recently launched an online shop on their website; today, consumers from most states in the U.S. can have these Armenian wines shipped directly to their home.

“Alongside sales to traditional on and off premise retailers and through third party online channels, including Drizly, wine clubs, and others, Storica’s digital direct-to-consumer platform will support our goal of amplifying the awareness and celebration of Armenian Wines in the U.S.,” says Kevork DerKevorkian, Armen’s longtime friend and co-founder, and the architect of Storica’s boots-on-the-ground sales effort. “This will serve as a major milestone for our company and complement our on-ground sales expansion efforts across the country.”

With the soaring appeal of online shopping, the benefits of Storica’s digital storefront will certainly be a major driver of awareness beyond the more “conventional” wine industry marketing tactics they have and will continue to employ.

“Our digital storefront will generate increased awareness of Armenian wine and our portfolio brands, drive consumer engagement through alternative promotional opportunities, and provide a safe and reliable shopping experience for our customers,” says Katherine Bellando, Head of Marketing for Storica. 

For Armenia, the importance of their wine industry travels far beyond product sales; becoming a resonant wine region could mean a new kind of recognition for the country on a global scale. “At Storica, we remind our team daily that, for every bottle of wine we sell, there’s a chance that someone new, who’s never experienced Armenia before, will become a part of our country and culture.” says Armen. “That’s an important mission that drives us to build a great company, and to celebrate every win, big or small, on the path to that goal.”

Keep up with Storica Wines on their Instgram: @storica_wines or website.

Chelsea Davis www.forbes.com Photo by www.forbes.com




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