While in Bulgaria (currently the second largest exporter of bottled wines in the world) the government subsidized each bottle exported, in Romania there is no such subsidy. Bulgaria  can charge 80 cents per bottle, with the government giving 20 per cents, while Romania is unable to export for under a dollar per bottle. This means that even if Romania wanted to compete as the cheapest on the market it would not be able to do so.

Making an impact on the market is certainly no easy feat. According to Paduraru, “Australia and California had the perfect strategy. They brought out cheap wines with character and new style packaging and were able to corner the market. Once they had done this they were able to increase their prices.” Romanian wines have also had a face lift, with old style labels being placed by new modern looking ones and the letters DOC added (rather inconsistently) to indicate quality. But unlike France where each chateau has its own label, in Romania the label often matches the country to which  it will be exported. This means the same wine could look different in different countries, and no brand image is developed.

 The problem is further cmpounded by the fact that much of Romania’s wine is exported in bulk rather than in bottles. The number one client of Vinexport, responsible for 80 percent of the countries export, is Germany, and 75 percent of this is bulk. The wine may then be blended or just bottled, which can surely do little to enhance Romania’s image as a marker of quality wines. Instead, it encourages the cointinuation of the mass production of old.

 A study on the Romanian wine industry in 1994, by the German Federal Government supported Integrated Services for Romanian Economy, was extremely positive, and resulted in the setting up a program of “sustainable consultancy” with 30 local wine producers. The scheme offers both technical and marketing advice. German traders have a very good deal when it comes ti buy wine for around 3.5 DM per bottle, selling it between 7.9 and 9.9 DM. Gerd Adolph, Marketing Specialist within the program, told IN Review, “In the long-run Romania lacks the necessary lobbying.”Poiniting towards the need of the industry for better marketing skills.

 “Our efforts are oriented to building a more personalized image of Romanian bottled wines of ceap bulk wines, which are sometimes too sweet for the western taste”, said Wolfang Limbert, coordinator of the Bucharest-based Integrated Services (IBD) office. Paduraru agrees, “More aggressive advertising is required to present Romanian wines in the right way.”

 The positive news perhaps comes from the foreigners that have invested in Romania, in recent years. French,  and Australian wine makers have become involved and some have bought land, particularly in the Dealu Mare region, known for its red wines. Bottles. For exemple, with S.E.R.V.E S.R.L. on the labels are produced by a French and Romanian husband and wife team. Unfortunately other wines, such as Vox Populi and Vox Dai, produced in association with Vinexpert, are mainly for export, with only 20 percent of production staying in Romania. The venture, however, brings new technologies and marketing skills that can only be beneficial to Romanian companies such as Vinia Iasi, the largest Romanian wine producer.

 The German Integrated Services group have another venture underway- a combination of tourism and wine – which will shortly be published in a book. The so-called eco-tourism will escort touriosts down the wine roads of Romania, where they can visit the many Romanian vineyard and cellars. It may not be long before Romania’s wqine industry fulfills its potential. So whether it’s a trip down the wine shop (incidentally Vinexpert are opening a shop dedicated to wine), it’s worth taking time to separate the quality bottles from quantity products.

   Georgiana Stevens
Districts- Minis, Recas – Tirol, Teremia

This region is the west of the country close to the borders with Yougoslavia and Hungary, is best known for the production of the eminently drinkable white wines grown on the sandy plain of the Teremia district. The hilly Minis district produces excellent, inexpensive reds from the Cardarca, Pinot Noir, Cabernet, and Merlot grapes grown on stony terraces. The mountain slopes of Recas-Tirol produce “Valea Lunga”, a pleasant light bodied red wine.
The mediocrity of the well-known Banat Riesling has been blamed by some for misleading the world about Romania’s true potential.

Districts – Arges-Stefanesti, Dragasani, Drobeta-Turnu Severin, Segarcea
The town of Samburesti in the Dragasani district produces Oltenia’s best reds. The station, which sells its wines on the open market, has a reputation for a full, dry wine from the Feteasca Neagra grape, and well as the Cabernet Sauvignon, which is appreciated throughout Romania. Interesting sweet wines are found on the west side of the River Oltul.
Arges-Stefanesti vineyards are planted close to the River Arges and produce mainly white wines. Segarcea is ared wine district south of the city of Craiova. The Pinot noir is good here, although not as well known as the Cabernet Sauvignon.

Districts – Alba Iulia – Aiud, Bistrita – Nasaud, Tarnave

Of all the wine grouping regions of Romania, Transylvania is perhaps the most exciting. The crisp fruit and good acidity of its white wines is somewhere between the style of Alsace and South Tyrol. The steep sloping Tarnave vineyards lie between the two Tarnave rivers, where thez produce good qualitz white wines with more than a hint of Germanic stzle and delicacz. Not surprinsinglz, German settlers introduced manz of their own grape varities. The native Feteasca Neagra is also successful in this area.

Districts – Dealu Mare (sub-district Pietroasele)
North of Bucharest is the Dealu Mare district, which streches across the lower, southeast facing slopes of the Carpatian Mountains, and is famous for its red wines, “Valea Calugareasca”, or “Valley of the Monks” and “Tohani”. There is a small area of chalky soil within this ditrict that has a special microclimate best suited to the production of sweet white wines with fine balancing acidity, and it is here that the prestigious vineyards of Pietroasele are situated. The area’s “Tamaioasa” grape is a Muscat related variety that makes lusciously sweet, golden-colored wine of expressive quality.

Districts – Cotnari, Dealurile – Moldovei, Ododesti (sub-districts Cotesti, Nicoresti), Tecuci – Galati
The vineyards of Odobesti srrounding thg industrial town of Focsani produce large quanities of rather ordinary red and white wine. There are, however, exceptions in this district due to the diversity of the soil. Cotesti, for example, has a good reputation for Pinot noir and Merlot, while Nicoresti is known for its full colored, spicy red wine produced from the Babeaska grape. The vineyards of Cotnari, near Iasi are the most famous in Romania – their reputation dates back to the 15th Century. The wine produced is a rich dessert wine. The Bucium Hills of Visan and Doi Peri overlook the city of Iasi and the cool climatic conditions are reflected in the Cabernet Sauvignon wines that have clear, crisp, leafy characteristics.

Districts – Mrfatlar, Sarica-Niculitel
Murfatlar is the most important and most ancient wine making district in Dobrodja, with well organized vineyards on the hills close to the Blak Sea and an experimenta state research station that has introduced many western varities. Once reliant on its prestigious past, the wines used to be too old, oxidized and heavy, but are now clean and well-balanced. The lovely, late harversted, softly sweet and stylish Gewurztraminer is a good example of this new style.
The wine buff’s choice

Despite Ceausescu’s policy of producing cheap wine for export o Russia, some really fine old wines do exist. There can be little doubt, for example, of the quality of the 1971 Muscat Ottonel an excellent dessert wine produced in the Cotnari region which the Hilton Hotel’s Cristoph Schmidt recommends with your bitter chocolate mousse with almonds.
Or you may prefer the 1976 Valea Caluagreasca Chardonnay which the Hotel Sofitel’s General Manager Antoni Kuhnen recommends as the perfect complement to the Darclee restaurant’s foie gras.
Byblos restaurant’s Nicola Mindu also favours the Valea Calugareasca, recommending the Cabernet Sauvignon. Valea Caluagareasca (valley of the monks) in the Dealu Mare region also produces a Feteasca Neagra, a full bodied red wine with aging potential – the special reserve of which is one of the Hilton’s Food and Beverage Manager, Michel Tallieu’s choices as a goog everyday wine. For special occasions he recommends the 1978 Murfatla Chardonnay.
A good value-for-money vintage wine is the Cabernet Sauvignon from Samburesti in the Dragasani region which has produced wine since the Roman times.
Although much excellent wines exist, availability is a real problem. Vinexpert specialize in old wines, supplying many of the top hotels, and it is possible to arrange a tasting through them.
As an everyday wine, Vinexpert’s Catalin Paduraru recommends 1997 Vox Populi Merlot, from the Dealu Mare region. The Crwone Plaza’s Restaurant Manager, Cristian Vasile recommends 1998 Jidvei Riesling as a goo, light everyday wine. Sava Vasile Director at Vinexport’s everyday choice is Gold Castle, Cabernet Sauvignon from the Dealu Mare region (the Gold Castle label was  produced for the American market).
Contacts: Prier Vinexpert: 336 55 00                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        or visit the new wine shop end May at Octavian Goga 24, Vinexport: 222 47 86.

Lasa un mesaj

© 2006-2008 Catalin Paduraru