Wine tasting in Samarkand … yep … seriously!

Wine tasting in Samarkand? You didn’t know that Uzbekistan had wine? Neither did I! So our gracious friend and guide Yuliya suggested that we try some Uzbek wine, you could imagine the face I made and the thoughts which ran amok in my brain. Yuliya’s suggestion wasn’t really about the wine but her story that the woman who runs the tasting is frequently drunk while things are going on. That sounded like excellent entertainment to me. The Filatov winery also has a museum of wine, which stores collection of the winery’s best wines – but I couldn’t be bothered about such types of education – I wanted the drinking entertainment.
filatov winery samarkand
filatov wine museum
I did learn that even with the harsh sunlight and heat, different varieties of grapes grow in Samarkand. The grapes are quite sweet – so for instance, in Europe, the sweetness of grapes is on average 14-18%, while the grapes grown in the Samarkand region are between 24-35% of sugar (fructose). They make a lot of wine here …
wine tasting in samarkand
If you do come, you will be shown around the museum  and it’s dedicated to the wine history of the region. BTW Important Note : No bad jokes about what horrors you expect from Uzbek wine … everyone speaks excellent English at the winery.That being said, if you’re hoping for a delightful array of different whites and reds to tantalize your taste buds – you are going to be completely surprised by the collection of sugar “stuff” you’re going to taste. Your wine tasting guide is this very cute old man … he knows the facts he’s been giving and I’m sure that if you’re a lot more educated on wine, then you’ll have better responses than the ones I gave.
get ready for sugar shit
I’m no wine expert … but the tasting goes from sweet wine to vatted poison. Our grey haired wonder above even told us that wine number 7 was given as medicine to the victims of Hiroshima and more recently the Japanese tsunami disaster due to its “blood cleansing qualities”. If you count my glasses, you can see that I couldn’t finish #8 and #9.

In fact, our grey haired wonder referred to #8 as a “Cognac”. As a note, the wines below get sweeter and sweeter. Just because a liquid gets sweeter and sweeter, doesn’t mean it gets better and better or tastier and tastier.

As you will note from the following reaction shots … things didn’t really hit a high note. Pictures speak a 1000 words … hopefully the following sequence of sampled shots will convey what I thought of the wine. My disclaimer here is that I’m not a wine snob, but my Russian comrade shown with me, is a wine snob. Look at the last shot in the sequence.

Now that you know all you need to know about wine tasting in Samarkand, I do recommend the tour just for the camp value and it’s only $10USD. Spend your money and go do some wine tasting in Samarkand and get some truly horrific wine (Again … I am no wine expert … I just know what’s drinkable!)

Useful facts:

  • The winery was opened in 1868.
  • The founder was the Russian entrepreneur D.M.Filatov.
  • 1883 they won the Gold Medal in the International Fair of Wines and Brandies
  • The winery processes 16,000 tons annually
  • The price for tasting and museum tour is US$ 10 per person – so it is a bit steep, but where else could you get entertainment like this?

About Rishiray

Rishi Sankar is a Cloud HRMS Project Manager/ Solution Architect. Over the past 15+ years, he has managed to combine his overwhelming wanderlust with a desire to stay employed, resulting in continuing stints with 3 major consulting firms (IBM, Deloitte, Accenture). He documents his adventures around the world on "Ah Trini Travelogue" with pictures and stories from the road/tuk-tuk/camel/rickshaw. You can follow him on Twitter at @rishiray and on Facebook at "Ah Trini Travelogue . He doesn't like Chicken Curry but loves Curry Chicken and is always trying to find the perfect Trinidadian roti on the road. He also doesn't like cheese and kittens ... and definitely not together. E-mail from his blog is appreciated like a 35 yr old Balvenie at

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