Angor Fakhri Pusht-e-Gul
Angor Fakhri Pusht-e-Gul is a grape variety indigenous to the Obeh district of Herat province. Over time, it was introduced to other regions of Afghanistan, including Kabul, Mazar, Parwan and Kapisa. This variety was also introduced to Iran in the 1980s, particularly in the village of Karuch, Kerman Province, when Afghans migrated to Iran. Here, this variety is known as Karuch grape.
The variety Angor Fakhri Pusht-e-Gul grows from 3 to 5 metres high as a climbing shrub with medium, round, hard stems covered with a very damaged bark. It grows best between 18 and 20 °C, with fruit ripening between 32 and 38 °C. It is resistant to cold and colder temperatures can even make it sweeter.
The berries are large, with a diameter of 3.5 to 4 cm and a weight of 5 to 7 grams. The ellipsoidal berries are a reddish-yellow colour with 2 or 3 seeds inside. At the beginning of the berry growth, the berries grow large and dark green, then ripen to a greenish-yellow colour. The bunches are medium-sized, have a conical shape and weigh between 0.5 and 1 kg.
This variety has a sweet flavour, is soft and non-astringent in the skin, has a waxy covering on the outer skin and is more fleshy than other types of grapes.
The vines are traditionally grown in an earth mound system. In Herat, they are laid on mounds of mud because of the strong winds, but in other parts of the country they grow on earthen trellis systems. Similar to the grape varieties used for ice wine production, the bunches are kept on the vine until the first rains in October.
The history of the Herat grape is shrouded in mystery, but it is assumed that around 2000 B.C. it was cultivated by a nomadic people who spread throughout Central Asia at that time. Before the start of the Soviet-Afghan war in 1979, Afghanistan accounted for 60% of the world production of Abjosh sultanas, which was the country’s main crop.
Together with the Laal grape, the Angor Fakhri Pusht-e-Gul grape is one of the freshest and sweetest varieties available in Herat province, producing a wine that tastes like ice wine. It is well known in the country, which is why many people in other regions buy it for their consumption, especially during the month of October, when other fresh grapes are not available on the market. Its fresh product is very attractive on the Afghan market and is even exported as fresh grapes to the Arabian Gulf countries, which has a positive effect on national income.
The village of Karashk in the Obeh district is very famous for the production of Fakhri grapes. Most locals traditionally produce a very delicious, sweet, large, green sultana called Kishmish -e- Sabz Fakhri (green Fakhri sultanas). Most of these raisins are consumed in winter with chai or tea. These sultanas are an important dried fruit product in Afghanistan’s domestic market and are not exported outside the country.
Angor Fakhri Pusht-e-Gul is one of the hundred indigenous grape varieties cultivated in Herat Province. Since 2004, the export of fresh fruit has improved and many fresh grapes are exported to Arab countries and India. The Fakhri grape remains the first grape variety suitable for the market due to its quality and structure. Efforts have been made to motivate exporters to accelerate the export of Angor Fakhri Pusht-e- Gul grapes to support farmers economically.