Düsseldorf, March 21st 2023: Over the last year, Moldova, with a population of 2m, has opened its doors to over 600,000 refugees from its neighbour, 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 programme of sustainable development, as key stakeholders seek $500 million of investment in new vineyards, increased capacity, and technological innovation over the next five years. Sustainable development is high on the industry’s list of priorities, in addition to increasing the value of bottled wine exports.
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, and Diana Lazar, representative of a USAID NGO Moldova project, all took part in the panel discussion. They analysed Moldova’s efforts to increase its international cachet, including the relative merits of prioritising 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: “Moldova’s wine industry has changed out of all recognition over the past decade. ’10 Revolutionary Years of Building a National Wine Brand’ isn’t simply a slogan – it neatly encapsulates the incredible transformation of the nation’s once ailing vineyards and wineries. Despite the trade embargo imposed by the Russian Federation several years ago, 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.”
Caroline Gilby MW highlighted the devastating impact of the Russian embargo on Moldova’s wine industry. According to 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. The country now leads the way in attracting global investment; 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.”