“Can Romania become eastern Europe’s new Bordeaux?”, asks a special feature on the local wine industry by news agency Reuters. The article looks at the Romanian wine industry and quotes the oenologist at the Budureasca vineyard Stephen Donnelly, who highlights the unique soils and indigenous grape varieties which in turn produce unique wines.
The word “potential” seems to be perennially associated with Romania’s wine industry and the Reuters article, like many before, points to Romania’s place as Europe’s sixth biggest wine producer, its unique and blessed wine growing conditions and relatively low production costs as reasons why Romanian wine promises much. “The two varieties I get most asked for when I do shows in London are Feteasca Neagra and Tamaioasa Romaneasca, which are both indigenous varieties,” Stephen Donnelly told Reuters.
Some of Romania’s wine producing regions lie at the same latitude as Bordeaux and this, according to Reuters, along with the limestone soils, represent two more strengths of the local wine industry. The article states that wine has been produced in Romania for in excess of 2,000 years, saying the Tamaioasa grape has Ancient Greek origins. This would suggest that wine production in Romania predates the arrival of the Romans under Emperor Trajan, going back much earlier to the time when Ancient Greek colonists were founding communities around the Black Sea.
However, the article also reiterates some of the frustrations of the Romanian wine industry; the potential is there, it’s one of the few sectors attracting EU funding, good wines are already being produced, but despite the competitive price for the level of quality, exports are still low and the wines still struggle against better known European wines. Gabriel Lacureanu from the Basilescu vineyard sums it up when describing a visit to a London wine show. “We’re standing there trying to literally grab people to come in and it’s a shame,” he told Reuters.
Liam Lever, email@example.com
photo credits: Corina Chirileasa