History of Development of Viticulture and Wine Production of Uzbekistan
History of viticulture in Uzbekistan dates back to distant past and has centuries-old history. Central Asia is an amazing land, one of the ancient and brilliant hearths of culture of viticulture and wine production.
High material culture and flourishing of artificial of irrigated agriculture including viticulture were founded in Central Asia on the basis of the ancient state formations of Baktriya, Khorezm and Sogdiana during the times of flourishing of the Persian civilization.
Special importance in ancient parchments of the holly Mazdaism book «Avesta» is given to multiplication of the good material being (fr om cattle breeding, irrigated agriculture, viticulture to large-scale entrepreneurship). Wine production was perceived as a noble business and, naturally, wine consumption was not prohibited: it was regarded as an integral ritual in all ceremonial cases. Wine was widely used not only in ceremonies of Mazdaim religion prevailing at those times.
After famous marches of powerful Alexander the Great in 327-329 B.C. to Persia (Iran) and conquering Central Asia religious as well as moral and ethical concepts of Greek and Baktriya culture were favorably formed therein that resulted to new boom of local viticulture and wine production in connection with high importance which was attributed to wine in domestic life and celebrations of the ancient Greeks.
The Chinese envoy who visited many regions of Central Asia in II century B.C. witnesses that local population in Ferghana and in all countries located in the west there fr om makes wine using grapes. They like own wine the same as their horses like lucerne. Population skillfully grows grapes on large spaces. The rich people leave it great quantities for maturing for decades without spoiling it.
Archaeological findings (name plates-tarapan, large wine storage houses-khumkhona, multitude of big and small jugs with long drainages, ceramic flasks with decorated sides-mustakhara adjusted for transportation of wine using pack transport), holly scriptures and ancient work pieces witness about development of local wine production; and, geopaleontological and ampilographical studies of recent years witness that grapes in Central Asia were introduced into agriculture around 6 thousand years ago and rather high culture of wine production existed at those times.
Marco Polo, a medieval traveler and Venetian nobleman who travelled through entire Central Asia wrote in his diary:
— Samarkand, Bukhara and others are magnificent cities decorated with gardens and vineyards; I had to drink wine with the local population. It had many years old origin surprising with its excellent quality; one had never tried the like before.
Origins of Modern Wine Production
Viticulture and wine production flourished in Central Asia till end of VII century. However, conquest by the Arabs in VII—VIII centuries made significant changes into the local religion. Wine production in Central Asia came to decadence under influence of Islam. Thereafter, the Arabic domination in the country resulted in dissemination of table and kishmish raisin varieties of grapes (instead of wine ones) and in production high-content sugary dried grapes, grape fruitage (condensed grape juice) and grape vinegar in great quantities. Wine production existed somewh ere only illegally and was lim ited to production of musallas.
The Mongolian conquest of Central Asia (beginning of VIII century) was accompanied with horrible devastation of the conquered lands. According to historians, «with merciless energy, the Mongols condemned many flourishing oases to calmness of graveyards». Irrigated agriculture and viticulture in main regions of Central Asia were restored with fall of the Golden Horde; although they did not reach the former flourishing state.
Natural richness and diversity of the land, abundance of sun (total active temperatures are 4000—5000 s), existence of grapes assortment excellent in its merits and its generous crop capacity for irrigated lands gave unique opportunity to cultivate numerous range of sun berries in large scale commercial production both in fresh and dried form as well as for production of all possible varieties of wines and grape beverages.
Large Russian manufacturers and specialists started to deal with grape and wine-producing industry with great efforts in the Turkestan territory; trade entrepreneurship gradually encompassed the local population. Thereby, this business attracted new people, capital of private entities and banks of Russia; as a result, industrial basis of wine production of Uzbekistan was laid down the middle of XVIII century.
I.I.Pervushin, a merchant of the first guild, built a wine distilling plant in Tashkent in 1867.
Thereafter, he combined alcohol distilling with wine production and reached great results in production of grape of wines. Wines produced by Pervushin were intended not only for domestic but also for all-Russia market.
D.L.Filatov, a famous trade entrepreneur, established a wine-producing enterprise, large scale for that time, in Samarkand in 1868. The number of small wine-producing plants started to grow fast after emergence of large scale wine-producing enterprises in the Turkestan territory. Thus, they amounted to 23 in 1908 and reached 27 by 1913.