Romania is at present one of the world's largest wine producers, producing (as of 2009) around 610,000 tons of wine. In recent years, Romania has attracted many European business people and wine buyers, due to the affordable prices of both vineyards and wines compared to other wine producing nations such as France, Germany, and Italy.
The Romanian wine industry has matured considerably in the last ten years. Product quality has increased, the area of vineyards has shrunk, the number of new investments has hiked and new players have entered the fray. Wine tourism is not yet very well developed in Romania, but the fact that some of the country’s most beautiful wine cellars and vineyards are not yet known to large groups of tourists can make a trip there even more worthwhile.
Wine growing in Romania features local grape varieties such as Zghihara de Husi, Cramposia de Dragasani, Galbena de Odobesti. In the 18th century more Western European grapes were introduced, including Pinot Gris, Pinot Noir, Italian Riesling, Merlot, Sauvignon Blanc and Cabernet Sauvignon.
Romania has one of the oldest wine making traditions in the world, its viticulture dating back more than 6000 years. Due to the hot dry summers, the location proved to be successful and the grape vineyards thrived. Since the medieval times, wine has been the traditional alcoholic beverage of the Romanians.
According to legend, Dionysus - the Thracian god of wine - was born in what is now Romania and Plato declared its vineyards to be the best in the world. Its wines became so famous that in the first century BC, the king ordered for all the vineyards to be destroyed to discourage possible invaders. Of course, His own people weren’t so easily deterred and soon new vineyards flourished. Nowadays Romania has a large amount of land dedicated to vines - almost as much vineyard area as Portugal.
Later on, during the medieval ages, Saxons emigrated to Romania, bringing along with them different variations of Germanic grape vines. However, by the 1800s, most of these grape vines were replaced by grapes from Western Europe. In the 1880s, phylloxera (a pale yellow sap-sucking insect that attacks the roots of vines) arrived in Romania from North America. The phylloxera wiped out a majority of Europe's vineyards, including those in Romania. Eventually, many of the Romanian vines were replaced by those imported from France and other foreign nations, such as Merlot, Chardonnay, and Pinot Noir.
In 2008, Romania was the twelfth largest wine producing country in the world, and, in 2009, the eleventh largest.
Wine producing regions
Romania has a very diverse landscape, with a classic continental climate, epitomized by hot summers and very cold winters. The winemaking regions of Romania follow a similar diverse pattern, the Banat region to the West has a historic influence gained from the Austro-Hungarians, while Transylvania has a very Germanic influence seen through Rhine varieties.
The North East regions are famous for aromatic whites helped because of cool misty conditions. The Black sea coast influence winemaking in the Murfatlar region aiding varieties such as Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc. The Southern regions of Dealu Mare leading down to Oltenia are better for reds with warmer conditions, soils, and aspect all helping the ripening of the grapes.
A list of wine-producing regions:
- Dealu Mare
- Vânju Mare
- Grasa de Cotnari
- Feteasca alba and Feteasca regala; Feteasca is the most spread and known typical Romanian wine.
- Galbena de Odobesti
- Babeasca Neagra
- Feteasca neagra
- Tamâioasa Româneasca
- Busuioaca de Bohotin
- Zaibar is a wine originated from Romania. It is made in Oltenia, a region in the southwest of the country. The color of the wine is dark red.
- Sânge de Taur is a wine originated from Vrancea County. The color of the wine is dark red.