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No Other Alternative but a Greener Armenia: Zori Mkrtitchyan

"I have traveled a lot in different regions of Armenia and I noticed that too many trees were cut. We're destroying nature instead of rebuilding it. With Highland Cellars we try to create opportunities for Armenians but also show the importance of preserving the few natural resources we own. And one of them is agriculture," Zori Mkrtitchyan shares some worries related to the Armenian environmental situation in this interview.  

Zori Mkrtitchyan is among the participants of the "Ecopreneurs for the Climate" Yerevan event, organized on the International Climate Action Day, October 24th by Armenia Tree Project and Impact Hub Yerevan.

He is the young (25 years old) Commercial Director  of wine company Highland Cellars, which produces Koor wine.  Koor entered the Armenian wine market in 2015. Made exclusively from Armenian grape varieties, as a tribute to the Armenian heritage, this wine embodies both the centuries-old secrets and the latest technologies of winemaking. 

"The ancient Greek historian Herodotus wrote about Armenian merchants, sailing down the Euphrates from Armenia to Babylon in round ships, filled with barrels of wine. Upon arrival to Babylon, they would sell the wines as well as the wood and walk back to Armenia along the banks of the river. According to some historical materials those boats were called Kur or Koor which means "bent", because of the unusual round shape of the boats made with a bent piece of wood," tells Zori with his peaceful voice.

The young Yerevantsi is not the founder of the company. It is after climbing Mount Ararat that a group of 10 people, Armenians, Americans, Germans decided to create the wine company in 2014. Since September 2015, Zori has taken the lead with the same love and passion as the Higland Cellars’ creators. When we ask him why he is interested in agrobusiness, his answer is simple: "Because I just love it. My father worked in the agriculture and agrobrusiness field. I used to watch him working and I liked it."

For now, the Highland Cellars company is working on a local scale, but Zori has much bigger ambitions: "We would like to have a niche in the international market." 

Still, is it possible to be an ecopreneur at an international scale? According to optimistic Zori, there is no paradox. Everything is a question of balance. The local business provides jobs to inhabitants of Armenia. They harvest the grapes, earn money, and as a result / and consequently do not leave the country. At an international level, the work would stay local, with more people working.

It is also the reason that motivated Highland Cellars to be part of the "Ecopreneurs for the Climate" in Yerevan. This event is an occasion to share experiences, ideas and strategies to improve the world of tomorrow.  "We have to think about the next generations. Learn from the mistakes of our elders in order to avoid repeating them and understand that there is no other alternative but a greener Armenia."

If you want to apply for participation in the "Ecopreneurs for the Climate" Yerevan event, please send your company/initiative half-page profile to [email protected] by October 19.

Find more details following the hyperlink: "Ecopreneurs for the Climate" Yerevan.


Interview taken by Ani Paitjan

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