Kazakhstan: History

Appears in

Oxford Companion to Wine

Oxford Companion to Wine

By Jancis Robinson

Published 2006

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Evidence of grape culture in Kazakhstan dates back to the 7th century ad. The Turkestan area of the Shymkent region (where the grapevine was imported from the Samarkand and the Fergana regions of uzbekistan) and the Panfilov area of the Taldy-Kurgan region (where grapevines are popularly believed to have come from china’s western Xinjiang province) are the country’s most ancient viticultural areas.

At the end of the 19th century, grapes were grown on a small scale by private farms. The development of commercial grape culture began in the 1930s, when the first fruit- and wine-growing state farms such as Issyk in the Alamty region, Uch-Bulak in the Zhambyl region, and Juvaly and Kaplanbek in the Shymkent region were established. Viticulture developed rapidly after 1957. Vineyards occupied 4,997 ha in 1958, and 22,311 ha/55,130 acres in 1976. Twenty-six specialized fruit- and wine-growing state farms in the south and south east of the country owned 85% of the total vineyard area with the rest divided between collective farms and individuals.