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Is Caucasus Bouquet possible?

By Messenger Staff
Friday, January 8
Head of the Armenian office of the Caucasian Network of Business and Development Artur Mkrtichian has stated that Armenia, Georgia and Azerbaijan are creating new joint wine brand called Caucasus Bouquet which will hit the market in 2011. He says this project is being implemented as part of the Business and Conflict Programme with the support of British organisation International Alert and the US Embassy in Armenia. Six wine factories from Armenia and Georgia and five from Azerbaijan will be involved in this project.

Azeri political analysts express their doubt and discontent. Parvin Darabadi has told Azeri newspaper Echo that US and European international organisations are trying to pretend that there are no conflicts going on in this region at all and this is not the first time this has happened. Azeri economist Fuad Rasulov also doubts the viability of the project. He thinks it unlikely that any Azeri business would cooperate with Armenia, which occupies 20% of Azerbaijan's territory.

Rasulov adds that one third of the total former Soviet grape harvest was grown in Azerbaijan and even today Georgia buys Azeri grapes. A revival of viniculture has begun in Azerbaijan, and new sorts of vines have been brought in from France and Italy and are being cultivated. Armenia has very limited prospects of developing such an industry, Rasulov says.