The former USSR state in the heart of Central Asia has an ancient winegrowing culture. In the Ferghana Valley (Uzbek Fargʻona vodiysi) grapes were already being cultivated in the 6th century B.C. and delivered to the Chinese Empire. This is proved by cultivated grape seeds found near the city of Samarkand, dating back to the 5th century B.C. Towards the end of the 7th century A.D. the Arabs conquered the country and the vine growing, which had flourished until then, was converted to the production of table grapes and raisins by the religiously based ban on alcohol. This still accounts for a large proportion today, more than half of the varieties (especially Kishmish = Sultana) are used for this purpose.
The most important wine-growing areas are located on the edge of the mountains and in the river valleys around the capital Tashkent, in the Fergana Basin, near the cities of Bukhara and Samarkand and in the southeast. The climate is continental with late and early frosts. Many of the numerous autochthonous grape varieties were probably selected from wild vines. The most important white ones are Bakhtiori, Bayanshira, Bishty, Kuldzhinskii, Muscat Blanc, Rkatsiteli, Riesling and Soyaki. The most important red ones are Aleatico, Khindogni, Morrastel(Graciano), Pervomaisky, Rosenmuskateller and Saperavi. In 2012 the vineyard area covered 121,000 hectares. Of these, only 390,000 hectolitres of wine were produced (see also under Wine Production Quantities). Mainly high alcohol wines, sweet dessert wines, sparkling wines and spirits are produced. Major wineries are Bulungur, Gala Assiya, Kibrai, Nizhni Chirchik, Ogenek, Pastdargom and Uzvinsanoat.