Sweet and intoxicating


Times when the glory of the Azerbaijani wines spread all over the Soviet Union are in the past… Winemaking flourished here, in the Savalan valley on the slopes of Greater Caucasus mountain range, where climatic conditions are truly unique. But nowadays Aspi-Argo LTD was able to lay vast grape plantations in Qabala district, by establishing close ties with leading world companies on production and sale of grape saplings – the Italian VIVA Cooperative Rauscedo VCR and the French Gontard Freres. We went to see winery in order to witness first-hand how the ancient wine production traditions are being revived, and chatted with oenologist of newly built wine factory – Daniel d’Andrea about his living and work in this picturesque area.


Where were you born?

In Italy, little town called Rauscedo.

Apparently, that is a wine-making area?

Sure! My town gained popularity by growing breeding varieties of grape.

For how many years have you been working in Azerbaijan?

You do the math, taking into the account that the first harvesting was is 2010… Now I come here over sometimes, but at first I had to stay more often, while the wine factory in Qabala was under construction.


After tests and analyses Europeans made discovery that surprised them: it appears, the soil in these regions disposes to cultivation of the most perfect, high-quality varieties of grapes! After that, seedlings from Italy and France and special equipment for agricultural works were imported.

They say, that factory in Qabala is similar to Italian in everything.

Indeed, on the territory of factory you feel yourself like in Italy. Technologies and lines – basically, the same advanced technologies…

Do you make wine from local grapes?

For now, grape is being imported mostly from Italy; the main variety is from France.

Which varieties of grapes do you have in your range?

Over 26 special technical varieties and around 14 sorts of table grapes. Thus, about 40 varieties in total.


Production capacity of the Aspi Winery grapes processing enterprise is one thousand tons per year. The plant is equipped from the most known Italian companies. Currently 18 types of products are produced here: Chardonnary, Viognier, Verdejo, Riesling, Traminer, Moscato, Syrah, Cabernet-Merlot, Aleatico, Limited Release, Cabernet Sauvignon Ripassato, Alicante Bouschet, Petit Verdot, Merlot, Marselan-Syrah, Rose, Special Edition, Merlo Desert. All products are made and checked at the plant under the guidance of highly qualified Italian technologists of Daniel d’Andrea and Elisa Vagnoni.

Are all the grape varieties used for wine production?

No, not all of them. Table grapes are just for eating.

Where else, in your opinion, grapes may be used?

In ice creams, jams, cakes… It is very delicious, you can just eat it.


Wines are stored, as appropriate, in the cellar, in oak barrels, which gives the drink a special, refined aroma. Strict rules are followed in a bodega: barrels need to be shaken as little as possible; temperature, humidity, lighting modes and a special microclimate are strictly maintained. All products pass the laser analysis.

How do you spend time in Qabala? What makes your day? Is there time left for leisure?

My workday is very long, it takes all 24 hours. No, I do sleep, of course. To be honest, thinking is more productive at nights. Sometimes you can dream something interesting in your sleep – new wine brand, for example… The start of my workday depends on the season. Right now we start planting new grape sorts, prepare grown up grape to the next season. And in August harvesting will start…

Did you hold a wine festival here?

There will be a festival – all in good time! We had other preoccupations: we had to work in order to prepare the place, create all conditions for production, then we had to begin the wine producing process… And now we can think about holding festivals and holidays, like the ones we have in Italy.

And it is also possible to organize small, nice space, some kind of tasting room, with the card of good wines, cheese and other attributes...

Yes, as in Italy – every sort of wine is consumed in combination with specific meals.

Which local wine would you prefer to others?

I don’t want to promote any specific wine, and it would be just my subjective opinion anyway. Some people like white wine, others – red… I can say one thing for sure: if you see “Savalan” brand, be aware – it is a great wine! And original label with our logo guarantees it.


  • As we were informed in Aspi-Agro Ltd, the main goal of the factory is to restore local winemaking industry, with its ancient and glorious history, and also provide Azerbaijan citizens with best high quality varieties of grapes and wide range of wines.
  • Wines are exported to neighboring Russia, and Netherlands, Sweden, Switzerland, France, Austria, China, Belgium and Germany.
  • “Savalan” wines are medallists of big number of top class tasting competitions. Among them are International Wine Challenge (Great Britain); Mundus Vini (Neustadt); Decanter World Wine Awards (Great Britain); The Fifth International Exhibition of Dessert Wines in Bologna (Italy); The Fifth International Exhibition in Hong Kong; International Exhibition of Food and Drink PRODEXPO (Moscow); International Festival of Wines (Ganja); Interwine (Guangzhou, China).