“We are producing the best wine in Armenia”
An interview with Marcelo Wende, Managing director of "Armenia" International Airports" CJSC
Mr. Wende, briefly tell us about Eurnekian's wine business in Armenia.
As you know, Eurnekian's involvement in Armenia began with the Zvartnorts airport project in 2001. He had visited Armenia on various occasions, and after a few years, he gained success and recognized the nation's potential. He began to understand the country, the culture, the people and the government.
He decided that he wanted to do something in the field of agribusiness. Since he owns more than a 100,000 hectare farm in Argentina, he wanted to apply all his knowledge and experience in this particular field in Armenia. He achieved success in the airport business and realized that he could also contribute and become successful in agribusiness. He began to look for available land in Armenia that could potentially become profitable. The vastness of the land in Armavir and its great location encouraged him to take the next step and purchase the land.
Agriculture is a dangerous business; it's difficult to know how much profit you can make. How did Mr. Eurnekian decide to make the investment, especially in the agriculture sector?
There is always a risk involved when starting a business. Every businessman is aware of this risk. If the business is not profitable in the beginning, it can become profitable after some time. We want to make a large amount of profit, which is why we are investing. No one invests in a business to lose money.
What connects Mr. Eurnekian to the land? Where does this love for the land come from?
It is a land with a lot of potential for growth and transformation. We can be proud of developing something out of nothing; satisfied with the heights we are reaching. We are producing the best wine in Armenia. This transformation is not easy, but the satisfaction of it is extremely rewarding at the end of the day.
Where does this particular love for the land in Armavir come from?
His third home is in Armenia. He owns a home in Argentina, United States and Armenia, in the Armavir region. It's very nice, and he feels very comfortable in Armenia.
Does he want to develop the wine business or does he also want to sell the grapes?
No, we don’t want to sell the grapes. The raw material is not a big business. Our business is the final product we produce.
Are you happy with the quality of the Armenian workers on the land?
Yes, we are happy. We are trying to do what's best for our employees. We provide them with insurance, meals, appropriate clothing, etc. When our employees see that we care about them and their working conditions, they reciprocate and give us that same attention. They become more responsible, appreciate their job, the people around them, and do their best to become a better employee.
Is there a precise number of investments being made? And if so, how much is the planned investment?
It is 40 million dollars. This number includes everything; from the water infrastructure to the gas, the electricity, the grapes, the transportation of the stones, the water, equipment for the land, etc. We never stop investing.
What is the average investment per year now?
It’s around 2 million dollars per year now, but we also continue to invest about a million for the wine equipment. So it’s around 3 million per year.
Has Mr. Eurnekian made any plans to buy more land?
Yes, he is currently in the process of buying land.
Where is the land located?
It is near the Armenian-Turkish border. It is about 500 hectares.