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Tajikistan

The former USSR republic and independent state since 1991 is located in Central Asia and borders Afghanistan to the south, Uzbekistan to the west, Kyrgyzstan to the north and China to the east. There is evidence of viticulture in this country as early as the 4th century BC, when it was part of the empire of Alexander the Great. In the 8th century, Islam reached the area, which led to a change in grape varieties due to the associated ban on alcohol. Now mainly table and sultana grapes were preferred. During the Middle Ages, Tajikistan belonged to the Persian Empire. In 1868, Tajikistan became a colony of Russia (see history there). In the USSR times, the small possessions were merged into large collective farms in the 1920s and large-scale wine production was started. Wineries were built in the cities of Khujand (Leninabod), Punjakent and Qurghonteppa (Kurgan-Tjube).

Tajikistan is divided into three wine-growing zones: Khujand in the north, the Gissar Valley in the centre and the Vakhsh Valley in the south. The climate is continental, with cold winters and hot summers. Artificial irrigation and winter protection are required for the most part. For wine production, the international varieties Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Pinot Noir, Muscat Blanc, Riesling and Sauvignon Blanc are cultivated, as well as the autochthonous varieties Saperavi, Rkatsiteli, Bayanshira and Tagobi. High-alcohol sweet wines are a speciality. In 2012, the vineyard area covered 44,000 hectares, of which, however, only the vanishingly small amount of 2,000 hectolitres of wine were produced.

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