Armenian Wine Sector and the Role of Women in Emergent Cultural, Social and Economic Capital

By: Stella Grigorian  

In the last ten years, Armenian wine has exponentially grown its production and footprint with the infusion of more capital and technology, adherence to stricter quality control and subsequent access to the world market and international competitions. During this short time period, Armenian wine companies have branded themselves as “historic” wines and the narrative that has taken shape is one of origin and thousands of years of wine-making history. While proportionally, involvement in the current dynamic wine industry is still male-dominated, there are several women who hold prominent positions such as company CEO’s, wine makers, wine bar owners, government officials, academics, heads of foundations and consultants. Resulting from interviews conducted with these women, this paper explores their involvement and impact not only on the relatively new wine industry but also the development of new cultural capital via the emergence of a wine culture that is coupled with a new foodie scene, the development of new social capital through not only familial or educational connections, but, also via vast global networks and use of social media, all as they develop new economic capital. Traditionally, Armenian women made wine in the villages for their families. The paper explores the extent of women’s contemporary involvement on a global scale as well as in national cultural production has a direct result of this traditional practice and the extent that is new and completely emergent.

Wine, Armenia, Women, Cultural Capital
Food, Politics, and Cultures
Paper Presentation in a Themed Session

Dr. Stella Grigorian

Instructional Associate Professor, Sociology, University of Houston, United States
Texas, United States

Stella Grigorian has a master's in sociology and a PhD in anthropology. She is currently faculty in the department of Sociology at the University of Houston. She is also the graduate faculty advisor and Chair of the graduate committee. Her early research interests involved the study of the Soviet Union, especially of Soviet Armenia. Her field work explored the raise of nationalism and gender formation at the end of the Soviet period. While her work has always involved some form of research in eating and drinking foodways, her present interests are in immigrant food narratives and ethnic grocery stores as social spaces where ethnic identity is negotiated and in the development of Armenia's new wine sector.