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5000 B.C. - 6th century B.C.

5th - 16th centuries

16th century - 1914

1991 - 2019

History of Moldovan Wine

5000 B.C. - 6th century B.C.

Ancient history

5000 B.C. – Winegrowing in Cucuteni - Trypillia culture

Vines during the Cucuteni-Trypillia culture

The presence of vines in the territory of the Republic is documented in the most ancient times, the vestiges dating from the Cenozoic (Tertiary) era (which begins about 70 million years ago) with an imprint of the vine leaf, belonging to the representative of the Vitis teutonica A.Br. species (found in the vicinity of Naslavcea village, Donduseni district) and from the Miocene era (which begins about 23 million years ago) showing vine seeds belonging to species V. aestivalis Michx. and Ampelopis (found in the vicinity of the Bursuc village, Floresti district).


Domestication and cultivation of forest (wild) vines takes place, most likely, during the Cucuteni-Trypillia culture - one of the oldest civilisations in Europe (6th - 4th millenniums B.C.), which also included the present territory of the Republic of Moldova. During this period (Middle and Late Eneolithic) the population of the area used to cultivate wheat, barley, millet, oats, peas, vetch, as well as cherry plum, plum, greenery, vines, with seeds and stones found in several settlements.


The archaeological evidence includes the presence of a trace of vine seeds (the image imprinted on a shard of pottery) dated to the middle of the fourth millennium B.C. (early the Cucuteni-Trypillia culture), found in Rusestii Noi village, Ialoveni district. The second sample refers to a trace of seeds found in Varvareuca village, Floresti district, dated to the first part of the third millennium B.C. (middle Cucuteni-Tripole culture). Both seeds correspond to cultivated vines, the first belonging to a variety with small grain, and the second to a variety with large grain.

The 6th century, B.C.  The Greek colonisation

Vines during the Greek colonisation of the north-western coast of the Black Sea (Pontus Euxinus) (Olbia, Tyras, Histria)

The Greek colonies, located on the entire northern shore of the Black Sea, emerged late in the 8th century and early in the 7th century B.C., initially as a transit shopping centre, and then later as producers of goods needed by the local population and for selling externally. Continuous economic contacts were established between such centres and the surrounding population: The Greeks sold to Getae luxury ceramics, various gold and silver ornaments, high quality wine and oils.


It can be assumed that at the beginning of the Greek colonisation, the local population was already cultivating vines, but the number of varieties was limited. However, the local growing conditions and the technologies used then did not ensure wines of a quality comparable to that of the Greek wines. This resulted in an increase in demand for Greek wines, which were also a component of trade at that time. Once the Greek colonists settled in the region, they brought with them a series of new vine varieties which adapted to local cultivation conditions and generated new varieties as a result of crisscrossing with the local varieties. New technological procedures for growing vines were also introduced with the arrival of the Greek colonists, such as dense plantations, short pruning, and low fruit load. Coins from the Tiras city with vine imprints, originating from the 3rd and 2nd centuries B.C., confirm the high level of development of viticulture in this region.

2nd – 3rd centuries – The Roman Dacia

The vine during the Geto-Dacian period

The Greek historian Herodotus (484-425 BC), who once lived in the Tiras settlement (later named Cetatea Alba, Akkerman and Bilhorod-Dnistrovskyi at present), was one of the first ancient historians to describe the life and customs of the Scythians, the predecessors of Geto-Dacians, who used to live on these territories. He wrote that the Scythians had plenty of wine and consumed it diluted. Thus, we can state that wine making had been an occupation of the local population for a long time.

5th - 16th centuries

Middle Ages

9th - 14th centuries - Christians and wine culture in monasteries

The spread (acceptance) of Christianity and the culture of winemaking in monasteries

Along with the spread of Christianity among local populations, wine has become an object of rite being used for communion. These circumstances made required that churches and monasteries produce or procure quality red wine. During the medieval period, the first vineyards appeared within places with a soil suitable for cultivation of vines, usually also comprising wineries, representing light constructions where grapes were processed to obtain wine.

15th - 16th centuries A.D. - The cultivation of vines at the noble courts during the time of Stephen the Great

The vine during the establishment of the feudal state

Starting late in the 12th century, when the new principalities, Wallachia, and Moldova, were established on the ruins of the old Dacia, winemaking began to play a more important role in the country's economy. However, it had acquired a sufficient development only towards the 14th century. The old royal documents of the Moldavian rulers of that period mention the existence of large orchards and vineyards; the collection of tithes from grape production, beehives, and wine production; they also mention the export of wines to cities in Russia and Poland. Additionally, the geographical location of the country contributed to the development of winemaking: important trade routes used to cross the country at that time (on the Danube, Prut, Dniester, and Black Sea).

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By the middle of the 14th century, the most favourable areas for development of vine and wine culture started being gradually established, in terms of natural conditions and the practice of advanced traditions, ensuring that high quality wines were made for the Ruler of Moldova and the Moldovan Governors and nobility. During this period, there was an increase in production and as a result, locally produced wines were stocked accumulated in the cellars of the nobility. The entire necessary infrastructure, such as cellars and wooden barrels, was already in place in the country.


Moldova of the 15th century was famous for its abundance of agricultural products at low prices. The areas of some vineyards of that period were quite extensive. For example, in 1499 the Putna monastery owned a vineyard of 13.6 ha.


During the reign of Stephen the Great, the Hungarian varieties Hars Leveliu and Furmint were introduced in Moldova, while the latter due to long term cultivation and assimilation received the local name Grasa de Cotnari. The great feature of this wine is that it becomes nobler with each year and can age up to 17-20 years.


Among the first to gain fame were Cotnari vineyards and wines. The establishment of these vineyards is often associated with the reign of Stephen the Great, but according to researchers, winemaking has been practiced in the region since the Geto-Dacian period. In the 15th century the wines of Odobesti, Husi, Focsani and others also got famous. During the reign of Alexandru Lapusneanu, the vineyards of Iasi have developed.


Over this period (mid-14th century - mid-16th century) the local (original) assortment of vines was largely established, with a zoning (specialisation) of varieties.

15th - 16th centuries

Moldova is the main wine supplier on the Russian and Polish market

As of the 14th century the Moldovan economy has grown considerably on the basis of its agriculture. Viticulture was of great importance in agriculture. Given its strategic location, many trade routes used to cross the principality of Moldova: from Poland and Germany to Byzantium; from Hungary and Transylvania to the Russian principalities; from Wallachia to Poland. Wine was one of the most popular export goods of the principality of Moldova.


In order to strengthen the alliance with the Russian state against the Ottoman Turks, who threatened the Moldavian principality, in 1483, the ruler Stefaphen the Great (1457-1504) accepted to marry his daughter Elena Stefanova Volosanca to Ivan the Young - the eldest son of Ivan III-rd of Russia. Following this event, trade, and cultural ties with the Russian state, including the supply of wine started to be actively developed.


Moldovan winemaking suffered a decline under the 300 years of Ottoman occupation with winemaking being banned until 1812, when the Bucharest Peace Treaty was signed.


In 1596, Moldova was the main supplier of wine on the Russian and Polish markets.

18th century - The first wine classification under Dimitrie Cantemir reign

Role and contribution of Dimitrie Cantemir to the first wine classification

In the chapter "On plains and forests of Moldova", Dimitrie

Cantemir, in his work "Description of Moldova", stated that vineyards were one of the greatest treasures riches of

the land of Moldovan land. At the same time, the author made a classification of wines produced in the Country of Moldova:


The Cotnari wine is defined as "The most select" and is

believed to be "more distinguished and better than other European wines and even better than the Tokay wine".


Next were ranked, respectively, the wine from Husi, the wine from Odobesti, from Nicoresti, the wine produced in the Tecuci area, and the wines from Grecești and Costești villages of the Tutova county.


These wines were used both for the needs of the country's inhabitants, and to attract Russian, Polish, Cossack, Transylvanian, and Hungarian merchants.


Once good, vineyards in Basarabia fell into disregard under the Turkish occupation. However, in Chilia and Ismail regions wine continued to be produced for local consumption.

1900 – 98000 ha 2,2 mln Hl 70% export