Mention Samarkand, and the first image that springs to mind is the iconic Registan and Street of Masoleums. But did you know this city is also home to her own Museum of Wine-Making?
Thanks to Uzbekistan’s strategic location along the historic Silk Road, wine has evolved from an item of trade, to a fixture in her local gastronomic offerings, passed down from generation to generation in vineyards scattered across the country. Today, visitors to the Museum of Wine-Making Named After Khovrenko.
While wine connoisseurs typically flock to the likes of France and Australia, this historic building with a turquoise exterior is worth checking out if you’re killing time before boarding your next inter-city train… which is exactly what we did!
The Museum of Wine-Making is divided into two parts: the pre-tasting portion where you traverse an extensive display that details the history of wine-making in Uzbekistan (no English translations, unfortunately), and the tasting portion where you will be walked through ten – yes, ten wines.
The wine-tasting costs approximately US $10, and takes place in a stately dining room featuring gorgeous, classic furniture and larger-than-life portraits depicting wine-making.
Fun fact: the museum is associated with what is considered to be the re-birth of a prolific factory that was previously abandoned after the 1917 Revolution. Mikhail Alexandrovich Khovrenko, the chemistry and wine-making expert whom the museum is named after, was the first Russian professor of viniculture.
The line-up includes one white wine, six red wines, and three cognacs, each bearing interesting and sharp flavours. Needless to say, we were merrily buzzed by the end of it. The wine-tasting seems to be pretty popular among tour groups, so be sure to book your session early! We were lucky to have the whole room to ourselves for the first half of our session, with a dedicated host walking us tirelessly through Uzbekistan’s wines.
Address: 58 Makhmud Kashgary Street, Samarkand
Opening hours: 9am – 6om daily
Contact: +998 66 233 07 07