Innovative Micro-Winery Franchise System Launches New Program to Introduce Wines from Emerging Markets in U.S. Locations, Beginning with Armenian Wines
Waters Edge Wineries, an innovative micro-winery system dedicated to bringing the cultural experience of wine to communities across the United States, has launched a new initiative to introduce its guests to wines from emerging global markets, showcasing the diversity of the global wine landscape and uncovering undiscovered treasures for wine enthusiasts. To officially kick-off the effort, a team from Waters Edge Wineries, including both corporate leaders and franchise owners, has begun a series of trips to underrepresented wine regions around the world to meet with local winemakers, beginning with a recent visit to Armenia to experience the ancient wine region’s viticulture and winemaking firsthand. Through an alliance with several Armenian winemakers, Waters Edge Wineries is now serving four exclusive Armenian wines in nearly all of its locations.
“There are so many untapped wine regions across the globe, and we are excited to explore those areas and bring new selections to our guests across the U.S., said Ken Lineberger, president and founder of Waters Edge Wineries. “Through an innovative approach to partnerships with small, relatively unknown international winemakers, we are now able to provide our franchise owners a truly incredible point of distinction in their local communities.”
During Waters Edge Wineries’ recent Armenia visit, members of the brand’s home office team – including Director of Training Art DeCaro, Director of Operations Mark Mitzenmacher, Cellar Master Waters Edge Winery Long Beach Collin Mitzenmacher– were joined by franchise owners Roger Whitenhill of Waters Edge Winery Long Beach and Michelle and Brian Dean of Waters Edge Winery & Bistro Broken Arrow for the unique opportunity to meet with local winemakers, explore vineyards nestled amid breathtaking landscapes, and delve into the winemaking process from vine to bottle. Throughout the week-long journey, Waters Edge Wineries met with winemakers from Voskevaz Winery, Van Ardi Winery, Hin Areni, WineWorks, Zulal Vineyards and NOA Winery, in addition to new wineries in the region. This immersive experience allowed the Waters Edge Wineries team to gain a profound appreciation for the artistry and dedication involved in producing the wines it will now be serving to guests across the United States.
Waters Edge Wineries has rolled out four Armenian wines across its locations– Areni, Areni/Sireni blend, Areni Reserve and Voskehat. Areni, an ancient grape variety more than 6,000 years old with vines over 120 years old, is Armenia’s signature grape. This light to medium-bodied red wine, reminiscent of Pinot Noir with slightly elevated alcohol, boasts bright tannins and aromas of cherry, currants, cranberry, black pepper and black tea. Sireni offers expressive notes of red and black cherries, pomegranates and a robust structure supported by firm tannins. Sireni wines are deeply colored, full-bodied and rich in flavors. Voskehat, known as the “golden berry” and Armenia’s queen of grapes, is an indigenous variety boasting vines that have endured for more than 250 years. This wine, akin to Chardonnay, offers a dry profile that can be crafted into either a light and fresh or a buttery and complex expression. Its key aromas include pear, melon and floral notes.
“Meeting with local Armenian winemakers was an eye-opening experience for us,” said Collin Mitzenmacher, cellar master at Waters Edge Winery LB. “Interacting with the winemakers and realizing the love they infuse into their wines gave me a deeper connection and understanding of the wine itself. I am excited to share the story behind these wines with our guests, who are already responding incredibly well to the program.”
Armenian wines hold an allure beyond their exceptional taste, stemming from the country’s captivating history. According to biblical accounts, the summit of Mount Ararat in Armenia, where Noah’s ark is believed to have landed after the biblical flood, is considered the origin of humanity’s rebirth. Upon descending from the mountain, Noah is said to have planted the first grapes, birthing vineyards and the art of winemaking in the new world. Although Armenia’s winemaking history waned during the Soviet era, replaced by brandy production, a resurgence is underway three decades later, driven by local winemakers whom Waters Edge Wineries encountered during the week-long journey. This profound connection to winemaking tradition bestows Armenian wines with a distinctive edge, and Waters Edge Wineries takes pride in contributing to the pioneering and celebration of this unparalleled heritage.
Waters Edge Wineries’ role in pioneering this new yet ancient wine region extends beyond simply acquiring and selling these exceptional wines. As a national, award-winning winery franchise, Waters Edge Wineries offers an extraordinary opportunity for passionate entrepreneurs to embark on similar immersive journeys, exploring new cultures, uncovering new wines, and deepening their passion for the art of winemaking. This unique aspect of Waters Edge Wineries’ franchise model not only enriches the knowledge and expertise of its owners but also fosters a deeper appreciation for the wines presented to its guests.
“Waters Edge Wineries is thrilled to contribute to the promotion of Armenian wines and showcase the distinct characteristics that set them apart in the world of viticulture,” said Lineberger. “By bringing Armenian wines to the United States, we are poised to recategorize how people think about wine. We have big plans to continue this program with upcoming trips to other countries and can’t wait to share more with our owners and their guests.”