The Republic of Romania (Romanian România, derived from the Latin Romanus) in south-eastern Europe with its capital Bucharest covers 238,397 km². The country lies on the Black Sea and stretches in a westerly direction across the Carpathian Arc to the Pannonian Plain. It borders Bulgaria to the south, Serbia and Hungary to the west, and Ukraine and Moldova to the north and east. The state is divided into 41 counties (Județe) and the capital Bucharest.
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 BC 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 Hungarian King Géza II (1130-1162), the ruler of the area at the time, and revived wine-growing in Transylvania in the 12th century. In the 18th century, they were the Swabians brought into the country by the Habsburg ruler Maria Theresa (1717-1780). The today part of Moldaviahistorical landscape Bessarabia was inhabited mainly by Romanians at the beginning of the 19th century and belonged to Romania from 1917 to 1940.
Romania belongs to the temperate climate zone and lies on the same latitude as France. Balanced rainfall, warm summers and long, dry autumns are ideal conditions for viticulture. However, the individual parts of the country differ climatically due to the natural barrier of the Carpathians. Transylvania to the west of the Carpathians is still characterised by the maritime climate of the Atlantic winds. However, the Carpathians prevent these from reaching the east and south of the country. In Moldova (east of the Carpathians), a continental climate prevails with cold air currents from 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 Romanian wines are produced.
During the communist era, production was in state hands. Due to the political upheaval, a privatisation wave with many micro-owners began in 1990. The leading production companies merged into a private export-distribution company. 487 wineries are registered as producers of authentic wines. A certification system for the origin and authenticity of wines enables traceability through a QR code (see picture in the middle). There are 33 DOC/DOCC areas for quality wines or predicate wines(PDO = protected designation of origin) with 20,000 hectares and 12 IG areas for country wines(PGI = protected geographical indication) with about 6,500 hectares. The map shows the regions with their typical wine types. What Tokaj is for Hungary, the similar wine type Cotnari is for Romania. This traditional wine was somewhat forgotten and has been revived.
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 Riesling Italian = Welschriesling).
Crisana and Maramures
The two regions are located in the northwest on the borders with Hungary and Ukraine. The wine-growing areas are Diosig, Simleul-Silvaniei and Valea lui Mihai. Red wines and white wines.
The region is located in the extreme southeast on the Black Sea and is bordered on 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, soft red and rosé wines grow here.
The largest region with one third of the vineyard area lies east of the Carpathians in the east of the country on the border to 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 in the Southern Carpathians. The wine-growing areas are Dealurile Buzaului, Dealul Mare, Pietroasele, Samburesti and Stefanesti. Here there are the highest average temperatures in Romania. Today, the hill country is best known for its red wines and rosés made from international varieties. In the times of the USSR, these wines were preferably sweet.
Oltenia (Little Wallachia)
The region lies 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. Here, excellent red wines are made from the autochthonous variety Fetească Neagră and from Cabernet Sauvignon. The German winery Reh Kendermann acquired 350 hectares of vineyards here in 2001 and founded the "Carl Reh Winery".
The region in the centre is especially known 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.
Grape variety list
In the 1960s, many new vineyards were planted. In 2021, 180,378 hectares of vineyards were designated. The annual wine production amounts to between three and four million hectolitres. About 75% are white wines, 25% red wines. A total of 163 grape varieties with 38,395 hectares are classified as "Noble Winegrape Varieties" (54,730 white, 3,943 rosé, 1,762 grey, 26,393 black). Romania also has a significant production for table grapes; the most important are Afus Ali, Chasselas, Muscat d'Hamburg, Italia and Victoria. The grape variety index (ONVPV Romania):
In August 2009, the EU wine market regulation came into force with fundamental changes to the wine designations and quality levels. There are the following new designations or quality levels (see Quality System for more information):
The actual alcohol content must be at least 9.5% (for wine-growing zone B) or 10.0% vol. (wine-growing zones CI and CII). The total alcohol content must not exceed 15% vol. There are about 50 country wine regions, whose names are mostly identical with the political district or region.
DOC = Denumire de Origine Controlată
Quality wines of specified regions with controlled origin. Prescribed quality wine grape varieties. The potential alcohol content must be at least 11.5%, the existing at least 10% vol.
DOCC = Denumire de Origine Controlată si trepte de Calitate.