Reviews & Opinion

Spring 2018 Brings Romanian Wine in the News

Romanian Wine

Photo credit: Alina Iancu

Spring is the busiest time of the year in regard to wine events. In Europe, the most important international fairs and festivals take place between March and May. Vinitaly, Prowein, London Wine Fair are but a few names. The international competitions also take space on the agenda. Mundus Vini, The International Wine Challenge, Concours Mondial de Bruxelles, Decanter World Wine Awards start off just when another closes. In Southeastern Europe, producers meet in Sofia to find out which wines are the best.

Romania couldn’t stay quiet when it came to showing off its products. Although not among the first countries on the list of wine aficionados, it is however the 13th biggest producer in the world [Organisation Internationale de la Vigne et du Vin (OIV), 2018]. The quality, one of its biggest minuses over time, has now dramatically improved and the world has started to notice. Romania didn’t miss the chance and made its appearance at Prowein, London Wine Fair and all the important competitions. The press, on the other hand, took time to relate on the subject.

“Der Nebel lichtet sich”. The fog first lifts from Transylvania, where weinkenner.de finds the beautifully refreshing wines of Liliac, coming from one of the coldest regions of the country.

Imbibe magazine places the country in “The New Old World”. After visiting wineries in Oltenia, Banat and Crișana, Chris Losh releases an X-ray into the state of Romanian wine. “‘If I were planting again now, it would be mainly Romanian varieties’”, says winery owner Cosmin Crăciunescu, cited by Losh. And the discussion continues on the perspectives of the country, in which the indigenous grape varieties should play a key role. But the five wines featured in the article are made from both local and international grape varieties, as Romania can achieve quality with a variety of raw materials.

On meininger.de, Felicity Carter delivers a profile of the leading Romanian wine exporter, Cramele Recaș. After following the “baby steps” of those passionate producers in Banat and Oltenia, she then introduces the Romanian “Red territory”, the Dealu Mare appellation. Felicity Carter is confident: “There’s a long way to go — but Romania’s on its way”.

just-drinks.com briefly announces that Halewood Romania, one of the biggest producers in the country, sells its wine operations to Alexandrion Group, a company from the local drink industry.

It is then Harpers Wine & Spirit’s turn to signal the boost in Romanian wine sales for the British retailer Waitrose. Placing Romania as “the sixth largest wine-producing region in Europe”, the prestigious magazine also cites the words of Waitrose’s buyer Victoria Mason: “Romanian wine is a real success story and word is definitely getting around about how delicious it is”.

Then Peter Ranscombe lays down a few pages in Scottish Field Magazine based on his exciting experience visiting a number of wineries in Banat and Oltenia and also in the top Romanian D.O.C. of Dealu Mare. “Sadly its wines aren’t yet available in the UK”, complains Ranscombe talking about SERVE, the Dealu Mare-based estate, although there is at least a small retailer in the UK to market those wines. But Peter Ranscombe sets it clear that indigenous grapes are “surely the way forward for the country”.

The Buyer introduces a charismatic figure from the Romanian market. UK-born Robert Marshall has spent more than 10 years in Romania in the wine and spirits trade. He now represents Premium Wines of Romania, a nation-wide organisation gathering 16 quality focused producers at the time of writing. Marshall explains how the organisation works, but suggests meeting them at London Wine Fair in May: “The team will be on hand to introduce and guide you through a selection of superb wines and hear Romania’s story- an experience that is sure to linger on the palate and remain fixed in the minds of visitors to our stand.”

With London Wine Fair underway, Darrel Joseph talks “Romania – Classic, Indigenous, Exceptional”. The Buyer, again, reports on the event, also naming 10 Romanian wines to try.

Journalist Justin Keay visits again Cramele Recaș, one of the country’s biggest producers, after 15 years, and the end of Spring sees a third article on Romanian wine in The Buyer.

While reading through these articles, two Romanian D.O.C’s become prominent: Drăgășani in the South-West and Dealu Mare, about 100 km North-East of Bucharest. But quality-conscious producers are crafting their wines here and there. Liliac’s managing director Miron Radic lets us know that about 60 wineries start up in Romania each year and that three quarters of them have a good strategy. How many appellations of Romanian wine will be as relevant as Drăgășani and Dealu Mare in the years to come? Time will tell.

Bibliography

  • Organisation Internationale de la Vigne et du Vin (2018). State of the Vitiviniculture World Market: April 2018. Retrieved from OIV website:
    http://oiv.int/public/medias/5958/oiv-state-of-the-vitiviniculture-world-market-april-2018.pdf

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