DÜSSELDORF, Germany, March 29, 2023/ — Over the last year, Moldova, with a population of 2m, has opened its doors to over 600,000 refugees from its neighbor, Ukraine. This generosity has earned this former Soviet republic, the description of ‘the small country with the big heart‘.
Now, the Moldovan wine industry has unveiled plans for an ambitious program of sustainable development, as key stakeholders seek $500 million of investment in new vineyards, increased capacity, and technological innovation over the next five years.
This bold vision was mapped out during the 2023 edition of ProWein, where Robert Joseph led a panel discussion entitled “Wine of Moldova – 10 Revolutionary Years of Building a National Wine Brand.” A lively debate appraised how “a small, dynamic winemaking country as Moldova can compete with global giants.” Elizaveta Breahna, Interim Director of National Office of Wine; Caroline Gilby MW, a long-time expert on the wines of the region, Poland’s first Master of Wine; Wojciech Bońkowski, all took part in the panel discussion. They analyzed Moldova’s efforts to increase its international cachet, including the relative merits of prioritizing indigenous grape varieties over international varieties and – Joseph’s preference – blends of the two. One of the industry’s key goals is to become a world-class tourism destination, with a 50% increase in wineries offering hospitality.
Wojciech Bońkowski comments: ’10 Revolutionary Years of Building a National Wine Brand’ isn’t simply a slogan – it neatly encapsulates the incredible transformation of the nation’s vineyards and wineries. Despite the trade embargo imposed by the Russian Federation, the wine industry has played a significant role in the country’s economy, contributing around 3% of GDP and 8% of total exports and to the livelihood of over 50 thousand families in the rural areas.”
According to Caroline Gilby MW: “Today, Moldovan winemakers have embraced the challenge of meeting the requirements of Western markets and have made impressive progress. They came together and changed the country’s wine landscape.”
As a national brand, Wine of Moldova is committed to repositioning the former Soviet Republic as Eastern Europe’s leading exporter of premium wines. Moldovan wines have won 5,014 international awards over the past decade. To quote Robert Joseph, “Moldova’s unique story, diverse grape collection, and ideal growing conditions put it in an excellent position to prioritize sustainable winemaking with a new generation of ambitious winemakers.”