With 6,000 years of wine history, Romania is one of the oldest and most traditional wine growing countries in Europe. The Greek poet Homer already mentioned Thracian wines in his Iliad in the 8th century and the historian Herodotus (482-425 BC) tells of the wine trade of the Greek colonists on the Black Sea coast. German settlers from the Rhine Moselle region followed the call of the Hungarian King Géza II. (1130-1162), the then ruler of this area, and revived viticulture in Transylvania in the 12th century and in the 18th century these were the Swabians brought into the country by the Habsburg ruler Maria Theresa (1717-1780). The historical landscape of Bessarabia, where viticulture has also been practised for 5,000 years, was mainly inhabited by Romanians at the beginning of the 19th century. This area, which today belongs to Moldavia, was part of Romania between 1917 and 1940
Romania belongs to the temperate climate zone and is situated at the same latitude as France. Balanced rainfall, warm summers and long, dry autumns are ideal for viticulture, but the individual parts of the country differ in climate due to the natural barrier of the Carpathians. Transylvania west of the Carpathians is still characterized by the maritime climate of the Atlantic winds. However, the Carpathians prevent these winds from reaching the east and south of the country. Moldova (east of the Carpathians) has a continental climate with cold air currents from the Ukraine. In Wallachia (south of the Carpathians) and Dobruja there are Mediterranean influences. The three most important regions are Moldova, Muntenia and Oltenia, where about 80% of the Romanian wines are produced. The regions and wine growing areas:
Banat: The region is located in the southwest of the country on the border with Serbia and Hungary. The wine growing areas are Buzias-Silagiu, Dealul-Tirolului, Minis (known for its red wines from Cadarca and Cabernet Sauvignon), Moldova-Noua, Recas, Severinului and Teremia-Mare (known for its white wines from Riesling Italian = Welschriesling).
Crisana and Maramures: These two regions are located in the northwest on the borders to Hungary and Ukraine. The wine growing areas are Diosig, Simleul-Silvaniei and Valea lui Mihai. Red wines and white wines.
Dobrogea (Dobruja): The region is located in the extreme south-east on the Black Sea and is bordered to the west by the Danube (Dunarea). The wine growing areas are Istria-Babadag, Murfatlar, Ostrov and Sarica-Niculitel. In Romania's sunniest climate with low rainfall, gentle red and rosé wines grow here.
Moldova (Moldova): The largest region, with one third of the area under vines, is located east of the Carpathian Mountains in the east of the country on the border with Moldova and Ukraine. The wine growing areas are Bujor, Cotesti, Cotnari, Covurlui, Dealul Bujorului, Husi, Iasi, Ivesti, Nicoresti, Odobesti, Panciu (known for its sparkling wines), Tutova and Zeletin.
Muntenia (Great Wallachia): The region with the capital Bucharest is located in the south of the Southern Carpathians. The wine growing areas are Dealurile Buzaului, Dealul Mare, Pietroasele, Samburesti and Stefanesti. Here are the highest average temperatures in Romania. Today, the hilly country is mainly known for its red and rosé wines from international varieties. In USSR times these were preferably sweet wines.
Oltenia (Little Wallachia): The region is located in the southwest of the country. The wine growing areas are Corcova, Crusetu, Dealurile-Craiovei, Drăgășani, Drincea, Plaiurile-Drincei, Sadova-Corabia, Segarcea and Targu-Jiu. Excellent red wines are produced here from the autochthonous variety Fetească Neagră and from Cabernet Sauvignon. In 2001 the German winery Reh Kendermann acquired 350 hectares of vineyards here and founded the "Carl Reh Winery".
Transilvania (Transylvania ): The region in the centre is especially famous for its white wines. German immigrants brought many of their own grape varieties with them. The wine growing areas are Alba Iulia, Bistrita-Nasaud, Lechinta, Sebes-Apold and Tarnave.
The map shows the regions with their typical wine types. What the famous Tokajer is for Hungary, the quite similar wine type Cotnari is for Romania. This traditional wine fell somewhat into oblivion and was revived.
List of grape varieties
In the 1960s many new vineyards were planted. During the communist era, production was naturally in state hands. Due to the political upheaval, a wave of privatisation began in 1990 with many micro-owners. The leading production companies merged to form a private export marketing company. Between three and four million hectolitres of wine are produced annually (see also under Wine Production Quantities). White wines account for about three quarters of the production, red wines for one quarter. Romania also has a significant production of table grapes; the most important varieties are Afus Ali, Chasselas, Muscat d'Hamburg, Italia and Victoria. In 2016, a total of 182,762 hectares of vineyards were designated; the grape variety chart (Kym Anderson):
In August 2009, the EU wine market regulation became valid for all member states, with fundamental changes to wine designations and quality levels. There are the following new designations or quality levels (see also detailed under quality system):
IG = Indicație Geografică or Vin de Regiune: the actual alcoholic strength by volume must be at least 9.5% (for wine-growing zone B) or 10.0% vol (wine-growing zones CI and CII). The total alcoholic strength may not exceed 15% vol. There are about 50 rural wine regions, most of whose names are identical with the political district or region.
DOC = Denumire de Origine Controlată: Quality wines from certain wine-growing areas with controlled origin. Prescribed quality wine grape varieties. The potential alcohol content must be at least 11.5%, the existing one at least 10% by volume.
DOCC = Denumire de Origine Controlată si trepte de Calitate: This corresponds analogously to a predicate wine. Minimum must weights are prescribed for each type. The codes refer to the degree of ripeness or percentage of noble rot grapes; the second "C" refers to "Cules" (grape harvest):