KICHINEV, Moldova, March 15, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Moldovan wine producers are celebrating 42 medals (19 gold and 23 silver) from the spring 2019 edition of the respected MundusVini competition in Neustadt, Germany. This adds to another 550 awards won in competitions in 2018, nearly twice as many as in 2017. Recognition from international judges offers welcome validation for the decision taken by the entire Moldova's winegrowing sector in 2014 to implement a uniquely ambitious programme focused on quality.
Moldova's long history of winemaking dates back 7,000 years to the Neolithic Cucuteni Civilization, placing Moldova among the oldest wine producing countries in the world. Throughout its history, wine and grapes have been deeply rooted in the culture, myths, folklore and legends of the country. Despite its millennial winemaking history, Moldova has suffered from its Soviet heritage of mass wine production, oriented to a less demanding consumer. After the politically-driven bans in 2006 and 2013 on Moldovan wine to Russian market, the sector suffered a threefold shrinkage.
Gheorghe Arpentin, the director of Moldova's National Office for Vine and Wine (NOVW): "The winegrowing sector is one of the cornerstones of our economy. We have the highest density of vineyards in the world and the industry employing almost 25% of the active population, mostly in rural areas. Five years ago, we had to entirely rethink our business model and re-orient our industry towards quality."
NOVW was established with the help of international developing partners and empowered to implement a wide range of quality upgrading programmes. Local wine legislation had to be largely rewritten to bring it into line with EU rules and four PGIs were created. Other initiatives were a radical overhaul of Moldova's wine laboratories, a traceability system, mentoring small producers, and assistance for larger bulk wine producers to switch to higher quality bottled wine.
Crucially, there was also a focus on building international awareness under the country brand "Wine of Moldova", increasing sales to European and Asia Pacific markets, and encouraging the wine tourism. (Moldova was described by Lonely Planet as "the #1 unspoiled destination in Europe" and hosted the 3rd UNWTO Global Conference on Wine Tourism).
The tangible results of the reform are already remarkable. Since 2013 Moldova managed to significantly reorient exports, now over 60% of the export earnings come from non-CIS countries. The shift to quality was emphasised in 2017 with bottled wine export figures that rose 6% in volume, but 24% by value, while in 2018 exports of bottled wine registered an additional 15% growth above the 3-year average.
These sales statistics, competition medals and media coverage - up nearly 300% between 2016-2018 - all help to place Moldova among Europe's leading wine producing nations.
Moldova's award winning wines will be available to taste at ProWein from 17-19(th) March 2019: at the Wine of Moldova stand - Hall 15 / G81 [https://www.prowein.com/floorplan?oid=29556&lang=2&action=showExhibitor&actionItem=2594885&_event=prowein2019] and in the MundusVini tasting area - Hall 17 / A51 - B52-A [https://www.prowein.com/floorplan?oid=29556&lang=2&action=showExhibitor&actionItem=2609263&_event=prowein2019]
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