Kenats, the first Armenian wine merchant in Paris

PARIS — When a Frenchman wonders which wine would be the best to drink with a “Boeuf Bourguignon”, Shant Zadourian always recommends that of Tushpa. This red wine comes from the Haghtanak field in the Armenian mountains, and it’s just strong enough to stand up to the dish. Since last July, Paris has had its first Armenian wine shop, Kenats. Owned by Zadourian, a Franco-Armenian merchant, it is the only one to offer a hundred types of Armenian wines and spirits. So far, it has been a hit with Parisians.

Kenats means “cheers” in Armenian. What could be more attractive for a wine lover? Perhaps the atmosphere of the small green and brown shop, decorated with eye-catching bottles and grapes. Inside, a huge map of Armenia with wine producing regions is displayed in the center, with explanations.

A few bottles of Armenian wine

Zadourian owns this shop with his family. They have been selling the wines via a website for a year now, and opening their store is a way to increase sales and promote Armenian products in the heart of Paris. Zadourian offers nearly 70 wine brands, such as reds, such as Garoun and Sutak, or whites, such as Matevosyan. It also sells 20 brands of spirits, such as Proshyan vodka, with pomegranate flavor, or Arax vodka, infused with mint. This selection appeals to Parisians since 95% of Zadourian’s customers are French without Armenian origin.

He also works with Parisian restaurants, especially Israeli ones, fond of oriental wines. One of its greatest successes is AreWine, a natural wine renowned for its country taste and pioneering production method. For many generations, the AreWine winegrowers have been only women and they age the wine for 9 months in terracotta vats.

Notable Armenian Vineyards

Zadourian runs his business mainly in Paris, but he also travels a lot in Armenia to exchange information and have human contact with the winemakers. The wines he sells are produced in four regions of Armenia: Armavir, Vayots Dzor, Ararat and Aragatsotn. These regions are known as wine producing regions since one of the oldest wine cellars in the world was located in Vayots Dzor. The Aragatsotn region is famous for its diverse climate, with its predominantly volcanic soil, rich in limestone, which is most suitable for wine production. The Tavush region is smaller and at a lower altitude, but is just as good for making good wine with its natural, humid climate.

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