With 6,000 years of wine history, Romania is one of the oldest wine growing countries in Europe. Already the Greek poet Homer mentioned the Thracian wines in his Iliad in the 8th century and the historian Herodotus (482-425 B.C.) tells of the wine trade of the Greek colonists on the Black Sea coast. German settlers from Saxony revived viticulture in Transylvania in the 12th century and in the 18th century these were the Swabians brought into the country by 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.
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. The vineyards in 2012 comprised 192,000 hectares of vineyard area with a declining trend (in 2000 it was 253,000 hectares). Of this, 3.311 million hectolitres of wine were produced (see also under Wine Production Quantities). About three quarters of this was white wine, one quarter red wine. Romania also has a significant production of table grapes; the main varieties used for this are Afus Ali, Chasselas, Muscat d'Hamburg, Italia and Victoria. The grape variety table in 2010:
What for Hungary is the famous Tokajer, for Romania is the quite similar wine type Cotnari. This famous wine was somewhat forgotten, now it is being revived. Romania is situated at the same latitude as France. The continental climate with balanced rainfall, warm summers and long, dry autumns makes it ideal for wine growing. The regions and wine growing areas:
Banat: The region lies 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 Welschriesling).
Crisana and Maramures: These two regions are located in the northwest on the border with Hungary. The wine growing areas are Diosig, Simleul-Silvaniei and Valea lui Mihai.
Dobrogea (Dobruja): The region is located in the southeast at the Black Sea and is limited in 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 lush white 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 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 from Fetească Neagră and Cabernet Sauvignon are produced here. The German Reh Kendermann Winery acquired 350 hectares of vineyards here in 2001 and founded the "Carl Reh Winery".
Transilvania (Transylvania): The region in the centre is especially known for its white wines. Here the German immigrants introduced many of their own grape varieties. The wine growing areas are Alba Iulia, Bistrita-Nasaud, Lechinta, Sebes-Apold and Tarnave.
Wine categories: In August 2009, the EU wine market regulation became valid for all member countries with fundamental changes in 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 produced in specified regions of controlled origin. Prescribed quality wine grape varieties. The potential alcohol content must be at least 11.5% and 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):