Today 17 November 2019, Sunday - Last updated at 16 November 2019
Abonamente

News 26 July 2019, at 09:33

Moldova, A Wine Experience Out Of The Ordinary

Marime Font

Looking for a combined wine and gastronomy vacation? Looking for something adventurous and a bit off the beaten track? Try Moldova. This is probably not the first country that pops up in your mind. Some people may not even know it as a wine country. But it definitely is one. And an old one at that.

Moldova has a little over 100,000 hectares of vines which actually means that the country has a bigger proportion of its land covered with vineyards than any other country. No wonder the wine industry is important for the economy.

So why is Moldova not more well known for its wines? Its situation close to the Black Sea puts it near to where the first wines were made many thousand years ago. And yes, Moldova has a very long history of winemaking. But a long history, as illustrious as it may be, is not enough. Moldovan wines were hidden from the rest of the world for almost 50 years, when Moldova was part of the Soviet Union.


But now it is back, with a vengeance.

At independence in 1991, the wine industry started to reinvent itself. Slowly at first. There was the issue with the land reform. How to re-distribute the land that had been confiscated by the state. And eventually, how to find new markets.

During Soviet times Moldova made huge quantities of wine. Most of it was drunk within the Soviet Union and most of it was simple bulk wine. In 1980 the vineyard surface was a little over 200,000 hectares which is enormous for such a small country. However, in the mid-1980s the Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev launched his anti-alcohol campaign. The wine industry in Moldova suffered severely. Almost one-third of the vineyards were pulled up.

After the Soviet breakup, Russia continued to be by far the most important export market for Moldovan wines. The sweet and semi-sweet wines, favoured by the Russians, continued to be made. Many wines were in reality tailor-made for the Russian market.

All this ended in 2006 when Russia issued an embargo on all import of Moldovan (and Georgian) wines. “These were difficult times for many wineries”, says Arcadie Fosnea, winemaker at Château Vartely, a prominent producer. “Many went bankrupt and many people lost their jobs.”

With the embargo, the Moldovan wine industry had to rethink its game plan. Losing Russia, they had to turn to other markets. New strategies were born that demanded travels abroad, attendance at wine fairs etc. The challenge was how to satisfy more demanding wine consumers, with other taste preferences.

These days, with a focus on dry wines and quality, new markets are opening up for Moldovan wines.

During Soviet times a big brandy production was also developed. It used to be sold as cognac but has been re-branded as Divin. Today this is also a very interesting “wine derivative” that can help the country grow on export markets.

An amazing amount of work and investments have been made in many of the wineries. You do see some old equipment and material. It is by no means necessary to have shiny new stainless-steel vats to make good wine, but there’s lots of that too. Money for investing is not always available. But in some cases, the purchase of new tanks and barrels have meant a step, or several steps, up in quality.

Some wineries are again exporting to their powerful eastern neighbour. Russia, together with other former Soviet republics - Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Ukraine - still account for 30 % of the total exports. But it is down from 90% in 2004, so change is definitely happening.

Today Moldova exports to 50 different countries. Poland, Rumania, Czech Republic and Slovakia are important markets and the USA, Asia and Western Europe are beginning to make an impact. For many producers exporting is important as the domestic market for wine is small.

In the years that followed after 1991, most existing wineries were privatized. Eventually, also many new projects were started. But it was not easy for smaller wineries to emerge. Up until 2011, you needed a license to be allowed to bottle your wines. This license was near impossible to obtain for most small enterprises both because of the costs involved and the paperwork. ”In 2011, when they removed the license, I decided to make my own wine”, says Ilie Gogu, now one of the most renowned of the small quality producers in Moldova and a member of the Small Wine Producers’ Association.

Today Moldova has wine estates in all sizes. The biggest are the two state-owned Cricova and Milestii Mici, both just a short drive from the capital Chisinau (pronounced k-I-sina-u). They both have impressive underground wine cellars. These are actually ancient stone quarries that were turned into “wine factories” during the Soviet period, in the 1960s. Now, tourists come here to admire the biggest wine collections in the world. And to drive through endless underground wine-galleries and to taste maybe a Soviet “Marsala” or “Madeira”, proof that they did make some good wines as well during those times.

An interesting, as well as beautiful estate, is Purcari in the southeast, close to Ukraine. Not to mention the stunning Castel Mimi, a winery-chateau, recently magnificently restored to its former glory. A number of other estates are also worth visiting. You can go just for the wines but some of these wineries have hotels and restaurants. Here you can taste the local cuisine such as the famous placinta, a crispy pastry filled with cheese (or many other things), and sarmale, cabbage leaves stuffed with rice and vegetables, baked and served with sour cream. Meat is often served with the main course but this is a good country to be a vegetarian. The vegetables are very tasty, especially when served grilled, and always plentiful.

Moldova has some very interesting local grape varieties. Grapes like Feteaska Alba, Feteaska Regala, Rara Neagra and Viorica give a distinct and unique character to the Moldovan wines. The Georgian Saperavi is also doing well in Moldova. However, at the moment “international” grape varieties dominate in production quantity. That means mostly French ones, such as Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Chardonnay and Sauvignon blanc. “The Soviets did not encourage local grapes”, says Arcadie Fosnea.

But luckily, there now seems to be a huge interest in indigenous varieties, both from producers and consumers. So, their plantings will probably increase. It is a good way to stand out from the crowd. There is a lot of wine out there on the shelves. You need to arouse the shoppers’ curiosity. Moldova has what it takes to do just that.

-Britt Karlsson

This is the first in a series of articles about Moldova, the wines, the grapes, the producers. We visited Moldova on the invitation of ONVV, the National Office of Vine and Wine.

https://www.forbes.com 

 Urmărește știrile Timpul.md pe Telegram
loading...
Loading...
blog comments powered by Disqus

Din aceeaşi secţiune

Cele mai noi ştiri de azi

News 6 November 2019, at: 23:30

Who is behind the attempts to expropriate Giurgiulești International Free Port?

Who is behind the attempts to expropriate Giurgiulești International Free Port?

 There have been various reports about an illegal attempt to expropriate Danube Logistics Holding BV of its shareholding in Danube Logistics SRL, the operator and general investor in Giurgiulesti International Free Port. In order to discuss this subject in greater detail TIMPIL.MD had a...

( ) Read all

News 26 October 2019, ora: 09:53

The Guardian How liberalism became ‘the god that failed’ in eastern Europe

How liberalism became ‘the god that failed’ in eastern Europe

 After communism fell, the promises of western liberalism to transform central and eastern Europe were never fully realised – and now we are seeing the backlash.

( ) Read all

News 18 October 2019, at: 09:48

 Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan put US President Donald Trump's letter "in the bin", the BBC has been told.

( ) Read all

News 12 October 2019, at: 09:56

Will The OSCE ‘Democratize’ Russia’s Occupation in Ukraine’s Donbas?

Will The OSCE ‘Democratize’ Russia’s Occupation in Ukraine’s Donbas?

 Kyiv has co-signed with Russia and the Donetsk and Luhansk “people’s republics” (DPR, LPR) a commitment to: a) accept the holding of “local elections” in that Russian-controlled territory of Ukraine and b) accept the Organization for Security and Cooperation in...

( ) Read all

News 7 October 2019, at: 09:20

 On the occasion of the book launch, "Panorama of communism in Soviet Moldova", writer from the Republic of Moldova, Maria Sleahtitchi, one of the authors of the volume, spoke to B1.ro about the condition of Moldovan literature in a society strongly divided by ethnic and political...

( ) Read all

News 4 October 2019, at: 07:26

 The Council of Europe is concerned about the possible adoption by the Verkhovna Rada of a bill amending some laws of Ukraine regarding the activities of the judiciary (No. 1008), which provides, inter alia, a reduction in the number of judges of the Supreme Court and changes in the...

( ) Read all

News 1 October 2019, at: 21:51

Thomas Moser: Rafiq Aliyev is attempting to coerce me into agreeing to the sale of Danube Logistics Holding BV

Thomas Moser: Rafiq Aliyev is attempting to coerce me into agreeing to the sale of Danube Logistics Holding BV

 I would like to clarify a number of false and misleading press reports about Danube Logistics Holding BV’s acquisition of Danube Logistics SRL in 2011 and other matters that have been circulating in Moldova last week.

( ) Read all

News 1 October 2019, at: 17:06

 The United States continues to closely follow and support efforts to reform and strengthen Moldova’s justice system.

( ) Read all

News 24 September 2019, at: 15:56

I begin with an allegory expressed by prof. Vytautas Landsbergis, the first head of the restored State of Lithuania, who used to address the options for geopolitical orientation after the restoration of the independence. When asked about the possibility in 1990s for Lithuania to choose...

( ) Read all

News 23 September 2019, at: 11:47

​Romania's President, the prime minister and the leader of the second biggest opposition party will face each other in presidential elections, along with five other candidates. This weekend saw the conclusion for the period of registration of runners in the elections due to take place in...

( ) Read all

News 19 September 2019, at: 23:05

 You’ve probably already heard the Romanian language from friends, relatives or strangers in the community. Maybe you have even made an attempt to learn basic phrases of Romanian for an upcoming trip. But have you ever wondered how the language was formed? We found ourselves wondering...

( ) Read all

News 18 September 2019, ora: 10:50

COMMENT: Moldovan president’s determination to stop an airport deal appears increasingly misleading

COMMENT: Moldovan president’s determination to stop an airport deal appears increasingly misleading

Regime change in Moldova has been met with cautious optimism by Brussels, as President Igor Dodon pledged to dismantle the businesses that have long dominated political life. But mere months after a contentious coalition was brokered between Dodon and Maia Sandu, both international observers and...

( ) Read all

News 17 September 2019, ora: 13:51

The national interest: Russia Is Rapidly Procuring More Fifth-Generation Su-57s

The national interest: Russia Is Rapidly Procuring More Fifth-Generation Su-57s

 In July 2019, Russia announced a major purchase of its fifth-generation stealth air superiority fighter, the Su-57.

( ) Read all

News 9 September 2019, ora: 12:07

Moldova not recognizing so-called elections in Crimea and Sevastopol

Moldova not recognizing so-called elections in Crimea and Sevastopol

Moldova does not recognize the so-called elections that were held in Russia-annexed Crimea and Sevastopol on September 8, the press service of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and European Integration of Moldova has reported.

( ) Read all

News 8 September 2019, at: 19:29

The Washington Post: Trump tries to force Ukraine to meddle in the 2020 election

The Washington Post: Trump tries to force Ukraine to meddle in the 2020 election

 UKRAINE’S NEOPHYTE president, Volodymyr Zelensky, took a big step this week toward proving that he will be, as he promised, the most pro-reform president in Ukraine’s history. On Monday, he laid out a breathtakingly ambitious five-year plan including virtually every measure the...

( ) Read all

News 7 September 2019, ora: 19:23

Film director Oleg Sentsov among 70 released in Russia-Ukraine prisoner swap / VIDEO

Film director Oleg Sentsov among 70 released in Russia-Ukraine prisoner swap / VIDEO

 Russia and Ukraine carried out a long-awaited swap of 70 prisoners on Saturday, in a deal hailed by President Volodymyr Zelensky as a “first step” towards ending their conflict.

( ) Read all

News 1 September 2019, ora: 08:51

ECHR to consider Ukraine's ‘Crimean’ lawsuit against Russia in September

ECHR to consider Ukraine's ‘Crimean’ lawsuit against Russia in September

 In September, the European Court of Human Rights will consider an interstate case on a lawsuit filed by Ukraine against Russia on March 13, 2014, regarding the violation of human rights in the territory of the annexed Crimea.

( ) Read all

News 31 August 2019, ora: 10:20

Vladimir Putin and his minions continue to whitewash the Stalinist past (washingtonpost.com)

Vladimir Putin and his minions continue to whitewash the Stalinist past (washingtonpost.com)

This past week, the Russian Military Historical Society — a government-affiliated body headed by Vladimir Putin’s culture minister, Vladimir Medinsky — concluded its second research expedition to the Sandarmokh forest in the northwestern region of Karelia. Its purported aim was...

( ) Read all

News 29 August 2019, ora: 07:14

Soviet Symbols Aren't 'Funny,' Lithuania Tells Amazon

Soviet Symbols Aren't 'Funny,' Lithuania Tells Amazon

 Lithuania has urged American online retailer Amazon to stop selling clothing featuring the hammer and sickle and other Soviet symbols, which it says are offensive to victims of Soviet-era persecution.

( ) Read all
Current tier / breakpoint: xs sm md lg xl (= visible only on this breakpoint)

.hidden-xs-down .hidden-sm-down .hidden-md-down .hidden-lg-down

.hidden-xs-up .hidden-sm-up .hidden-md-up .hidden-lg-up .hidden-xl

.hidden-xs (only) .hidden-sm (only) .hidden-md (only) .hidden-lg (only) .hidden-xl (only)