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Prowein 2015: Wines of Moldova

Posted: Monday, 30 March 2015 12:04

Prowein 2015: Wines of Moldova

March 30: Moldova is not a country known in India for wines but it is working hard to shed the image of a poor nation belonging to the erstwhile USSR, and recently participated in Prowein where one could not miss the attractive pavilion where five Master Classes were organised showcasing indigenous grapes, writes Subhash Arora who feels it is difficult to enter Indian market but they will have to work hard to first create Brand Moldova for a niche market

Click For Large ViewWith the world’s highest collection of DRC and hundreds of kms of underground cellars for Champagne and sandwiched between Ukraine and Romania, this small country, formerly a part of the USSR and a vendor of wines for the Russian Republic, Moldovan wine industry boasts of a very old tradition of wine making culture, dating back to 5000 years with the known cultivation for 2000 years.

Milestii Mici boasts of 240 kms of underground cellars and is in the Guinness World Book of Records for storing the biggest wine collection of bottles, since 2005. It has ‘streets’ named after grapes and one needs to travel by car to traverse the underground territory. The famous sparkling wine producer Cricova has underground  tunnels with 120 km in length are the second largest in Moldova and were carved in limestone in the 15th century, when they were dug out to build Moldova’s capital city, Chișinău. One can drive through these tunnels that even Champagne may not be able to boast of.

Click For Large ViewBoth Milestii Mici and Cricova with the cellar temperature of 12° C throughout the year, were two of the 23 wineries participating in Prowein; others were Migdal-P, Vinaria Zambreni, Asconi, Cimislia / Albastrele, Podgoria Vin, Vin Suvorov, Basavin & Co. Castel Mimi, Chateau Vartely, Purcari, Bostavan, Tomai Vinex, Dionisos Mereni, Vinia Traian, Vinuri de Comrat Sălcuţa, Mold North, Vinaria din Vale, Vinaria Poiana and Fautor. All of them participated under the same banner of Wine of Moldova.

The Wine of Moldova country brand was launched in December 2013 at the Cricova cellars when the National Office of Vine and Wine (NOVV) was founded through equal funding by the state and private wine industry (IGPB and the Indian wine industry may see a lesson and a hint here!). With millions of dollars pumped in towards vineyard and winery improvements and with financial and technical assistance from the EU institutions and the USAID, wines from Moldova are charged up and ready to take on the world.

Five Master Classes were organised by the ‘Wine of Moldova’ "A Legend Alive" -under the aegis of the New Yorker Christy Canterbury MW. Unfortunately, due to some confusion she had committed to be at another place at the same time I was to attend. Thomas Brandl who handles the PR and communication for the Wine of Moldova, took charge and presented 5 wines including a brandy which has been the signature beverage exported to the erstwhile USSR.

Click For Large ViewThe Republic of Moldova has an area of  33,843 square kilometres, three-fourth that of the small state of Haryana (and about 11% of Maharashtra) in India but boasts of 112, 000 hectares of vineyards, more than the entire winegrowing area of Germany. After independence in 1991 from the USSR, its biggest importer, production and sales decreased dramatically over the years.  But since 2008 exports have grown by an average of 10.4 percent per year while the proportion of exports to the former USSR states has been decreasing from 85.5 % to only 63.5 % last year.  Just like in politics, the Moldovan wine industry is looking towards the West.

‘Since the year 2013, an EU standards-based system of protected geographical origins (PGI) has been created. There are four growing areas:  Codru  (42%), Valui lui Traian (40.5%) are the biggest regions followed by Stefan Voda (12%), and Balti (5.5%). Wines are exported to over 40 countries,’ says Dumitru Munteanu, the Director of "Wine of Moldova". He also explains that not every wine from Moldova is a ‘Wine of Moldova’, explaining that the NOVV decides which wines can be showcased as such, based on the quality. ‘The admission in Wine of Moldova program is product based and not producer based, meaning that only those wines that meet the quality requirements are allowed in the program,’ he clarifies.

Click For Large View‘Rara Neagra and Feteasca have been cultivated since the beginning of Moldovan viticulture. Although some varietals are shared with neighboring country Romania, they are indigenous to the region. Due to the limited availabiltiy and the recent renaissance of these local varieties, the indigenous varieties are blended with international varieties to create unique blends, such as the locally well known Negru de Purcari,‘ explains Munteanu with whom I had a long chat about the Indian market about which they are quite excited, knowing fully-well that it is a long-term market. There are around 100 wineries forming the wine industry but 25 of them represent 97% of the total wine exports, he tells me. Presumably, almost all those that mattered were participating  at the Show.

The bottled wine export destinations have been Russia (48 %), Ukraine (10%), Kazakhstan (10%), Poland (9%), Czech Republic (6%), Belorussia (4%) China (3%), Slovakia (2%), Romania(1%), Kirgizstan (1%) and others (6%). Moldova, the small wine nation betweeen Ukraine and Romania is keen to add other countries in the West as well as east of Asia to its export bouquet.

The Master Class, a chat with Thomas Brandl and the Director Dumitru Munteanu, followed by tasting a few wines convinced me of two things: One must save the visit to Moldova on the wish list and if and when they bring their wines to India, to make sure to taste them. They could have a niche market here, with their history and cultural background.

For more info I refer generally to:

Subhash Arora

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Tags: Moldova, Milestii Mici, Cricova, Prowein, Wine of Moldova, National Office of Vine and Wine (NOVV), Christy Canterbury MW, Codru, Valui lui Traian, Stefan Voda, Balti, Dumitru Munteanu, Rara Neagra, Feteasca



Margarita Levieva Says:

It were really quite good presentations of the Wine of Moldova I wish the colleagues a great success

Posted @ April 09, 2015 14:10


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