Preliminary data from the International Organization of Vine and Wine show that this year Romania’s wine output went up by 9%
Preliminary data from the International Organization of Vine and Wine show that this year Romania’s wine output went up by 9%, reaching 4.07 million hectoliters, from 3.75 million hectoliters in 2014. This ranks Romania 13th in the world in terms of wine production. In Europe, however, Romania ranks 5th in terms of vineyard surfaces, with over 200 thousand hectares, and 6th in terms of production.
The executive director of the Vine and Wine National Organization, Emil Dumitru, explains: “Once Romania joined the EU, its vine and wine sector had the benefit of a great deal of funding. We have investments in new production areas that produce only high quality wine, about 38,000 ha which have just fruited. We have investments in wine cellars, and the drought is actually beneficial, we will have wines of higher and higher quality. We will have an output of about 4.5 million hectoliters, an average production for Romania over the last few years, but with a higher and higher volume of high quality wines. We have invested in wine cellars around 440 million euros, with new fermentation technologies. We have high quality wines that have won medals in major international wine competitions. The vine and wine sector is very well organized, and on an ascending trend, as far as we are concerned. If all sectors of agriculture in Romania had worked as well as ours, the organization of Romanian agriculture would have been very different now.”
Over the last 5 years, the Romanian wine growing sector got over 200 million euros in European funding. This area has achieved 100% absorption of such funds for the 2007-2013 period. However, even though Romania is a major European and world wine producer, it does not export much wine. The value of exports amounted to a mere 19.4 million euros in 2014.
Here is Emil Dumitru again: “We don’t export enough, because generally the vine and wine producers have focused more on production and processing. They put promotion at the back of the queue. Now we need to promote our quality products. Romanian wines are not below those from Spain, Italy, France, etc., but because of a lack of visibility and promotion, which require substantial budgets, we don’t export enough. I am convinced that the export side will gradually grow. We definitely need for the Romanian wine consumer to maintain a degree of nationalism, because we will have to get it through to them that by purchasing a bottle of Romanian wine we preserve jobs and tradition in the Romanian wine growing industry, and I believe that we are equally making efforts to promote exports and domestic sales.”
Emil Dumitru also talked about the destination of exports: “The Chinese market is quite impenetrable, of course. The markets we are interested in are South Korea, Japan, and the US. We’ve been gradually losing Russia because of the embargo. Maybe export is not exactly the right term. We need to expand EU commerce, the opportunity to introduce Romanian wine to more states in the community, where wine is considered a food product. Basically, as far as I’m concerned, this is where the high stakes lie, not in third party countries. We have to penetrate the large store chains, where we could prove what we can achieve in Romanian wine growing.”
Traian Petre is an expert inspector with the Iasi branch of the National Office for Vine and Wine, and he spoke to us about the domestic wine market: “The financial crisis has affected the wide majority of consumers. And producers have started to branch out. Whatever is a premium product is a premium product, what is super-premium is super-premium, but the driving engine of sales are the honestly priced wines, quality wines at a reasonable price. A lot of table wines have been imported from Spain and Chile, for instance.”
The measure to restructure or convert vineyards had the highest impact on the wine sector, experts say. Due to such measures, Romanian producers have managed to restructure and modernize vineyards to bring them up to par with the modern market, be it in terms of foreign or Romanian varieties.