The wines of Samarkand have been famous since antiquity. However, modern commercial production of wine dates from 1868, when Dmitri Filatov, a Russian merchant, founded a small, largely experimental wine-producing enterprise in the vicinity of Samarkand. Within a few years, Filatov’s wines were winning gold and silver medals in international competitions in Paris and Antwerp. However, it was the arrival of the Russian scientist Michael Khovrenko in 1927 that transformed the nascent Uzbek wine industry. He improved the vine-stock and introduced better methods of production and bottling. Wines from Samarkand were prized throughout the Soviet Union, but rarely exported abroad. Today, the Khovrenko vineyards function as a commercial wine-producing enterprise, but also act as a museum for wine-making in the region. Some of the original Khovrenko wines from the 1920s and 1930s are still held in their cellars and connoisseurs are occasionally allowed to sample them.


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