Anush Gharibyan O’Connor
Today, we feature Anush Gharibyan O’Connor, the Director Armenian Wines and Spirits Festival – GiniFest, Radio Host – Wine and Dine in LA.
My job evolves around wine industry, particularly Armenian Wine Industry. After graduating wine making school in Armenia, I arrived to the USA to earn Master’s Degree in Marketing. Since then, I have worked in all branches of wine industry; from growing the grapes, to making wine, distribution and working the floor of a wine store. I believe that if you truly want to understand a particular industry you have to dive into it fully.
Currently I am the director of the Armenian Wines and Spirits Festival – GiniFest that is held yearly in Los Angeles, CA. The mission of GiniFest is to promote and celebrate wines and spirits of Armenia and to bring national and regional attention to our products.
I am host of a radio show aired on -SoCal Armenian – Wine and Dine in LA with Anush. The program is about bringing listeners all the insights of wine world and sharing my passion of food. We talk about wine in a fun and approachable way.
I also host private wine educational events.
Q: What is your life philosophy?
Listen to your heart and do what you love!
Q: What is your hope for the future?
I hope to see Armenian wines being collected and valued like wines of Burgundy and Bordeaux as well as Armenia becoming a desired wine country to visit.
Armenia has all the prerequisites to set itself apart from other wine making regions of the world by utilizing its past history of wine making traditions combining it with modern technologies. We have indigenous grape varietals that are traced to 4100BC (Areni – red grape). Vines grow on high elevation and volcanic soils which produce distinctive wines. Some of our wines have already captured attention of wine professionals across the globe.
Q: What is your favorite thing about being Armenian?
I was born, and grew up in Armenia. My favorite thing about being Armenian is my identity. I love talking about Armenia and seeing people get excited about Armenia as well.
We called 2020 the year of the upheaval… what was your biggest upheaval, what did it teach you?
The Artsakh war has been devastating for all Armenians around the world. Combining that with pandemic, the 2020 has been the most challenging. But against the backdrop of the pandemic, war and political turmoil, last year had echoes of the collective uprising of Armenians around the world to make a difference.
War impacted the Artsakh wine industry dramatically. Vineyards that have been cultivated and producing world class wine have been taken by the enemy. What is amazing though, that each producer has made a decision to continue making wine on the territory of Armenia.
What was your biggest awakening, what did it teach you?
You can make a huge impact by doing what you are passionate about.
How has the Armenian culture shaped you?
As the saying goes “If there is a will there is a way” this stands true for Armenian people. We always find ways to continue and keep going.
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