Conveyor belts rattle at the Stepanakert Brandy Factory while technicians in white coats peer into flasks and workers pack bottles into cases. It’s the first day of business in Nagorno-Karabakh’s de-facto capital since war erupted on Sept. 27, and operations director Vladik Alibabayan is seeing what can be salvaged.
“We managed to collect 1,700 tons of grapes before the war and then everything shut down,” Alibabayan explained. “Some of our fields near the frontlines where we grew grapes and pomegranates are now under the control of Azerbaijani forces, so we don’t know what will happen next. The loss for the industry will be significant.”