The Romanian Wine Market

the romanian wine market Romania the 13th largest wine producer in the world and the 6th largest in the EU.

The wine growing and making sector in Romania is one of the most developed in agriculture, with the highest rate of absorption of European funds. Over the last few years, important investments have been made in modernising vineyards and wine storing cellars. Over 40,000 hectares of vineyards have been planted, with parallel investments in marketing wine. Romania now has over 250 wine farms, about 150 of them selling bottled wine. The top ten sell about 80% of the domestically produced wine. Vineyard tourism is also on the rise. At least 12 vineyards have accommodation for tourists, while a few dozen others have wine tasting events and accommodation facilities. Ovidiu Gheorghe, head of the National Wine Making Employers' Association, has details:


Ovidiu Gheorghe: “Investments in the wine industry have been substantial since 2000, with a growth in investments targeted to increase quality, both in terms of the grapevines and of the wine making technologies. Since 2007, over 500 million euros have been invested in the sector. Before 2014, we were the only Romanian agriculture sector with full absorption of European funds. Unfortunately, over the last few years, because of red tape introduced by the Ministry of Agriculture in the legislation relating to European funding, the absorption of those funds fell to around 24%. This investment has generated significant growth, both in the availability of wine in stores, including in the diversity of supply, and in terms of the level of knowledge about wine. Secondly, the fact that a lot of smaller or medium sized producers entered the market has brought up the level of product quality, as well as the level of marketing strategies, in order to convince the consumer that their products have the best price to quality ratio.”


In 2016, Romania produced 4.8 million hectolitres of wine, according to data released by the International Organisation of Wine and Vine. This means 1.3 million hectolitres more than in 2016, accounting for a 37% rise, and makes Romania the 13th largest producer in the world and the 6th largest in the EU. The total area under vine culture is 180,000 hectares. However, only half of that surface accommodates European standard harvest. So as far as exports go, Romania is not yet an important player on the world wine market, according to Ovidiu Gheorghe:


Ovidiu Gheorghe: “Unfortunately, the wine quantity and money value are starkly below the potential of the country. We keep saying that we will be left behind if we don't come up with a country brand for Romanian wines. Other states who have a strong food sector, with a tradition in terms of wine making, invest a lot nationally into growing and consolidating their country brand, which we don’t. We have a few projects targeting China, for instance, which put together are below 10 million euros. In the meantime, France earmarks hundreds of millions of euros a year. Therefore, we will only be able to export and make Romanian wine famous abroad if the authorities understand that we need a country brand, and do something about this.”


In addition to wine made from grapes, Romanians have come up with a novelty: blackberry wine. This is a small business run in Gorj County by Ionel Burtea, who is still an economics student in Bucharest. He has a plantation of blackberry and raspberry. After studying the market, he concluded that there are opportunities for growth there:


Ionel Burtea: “We started a family business three years ago, and we saw that berries are imported into Romanian stores. After making a few calculations, I realized that we should be growing berries ourselves. In other countries, farming costs per hectare reach 20,000 to 30,000 euros, but here they are 2,000 to 3,000 euros, so it is very profitable. Over here we only have small farms, a couple of hectares, and we export a lot, but no one has a brand name for their products. We have five hectares, we got the first four in the second year, and another one in the third year, and we selected the most productive varieties. Last year we harvested about two tons of blackberries and about half a ton of raspberry. For this year, we estimate the production to be 10 to 20 tons.”


The young entrepreneur invested 20,000 euros in the berry farm, but he is yet to see a return on investment. All earnings have been reinvested, and he hopes that once the plants reach maturity, he would get a profit. Recovering the initial investment takes four to five years. In the meantime, he has launched a unique product in Romania, blackberry wine:


Ionel Burtea: “This wine was an experiment, and it was very well received. It is a semi-sweet variety, with a 12% alcohol concentration. We are already negotiating with an investor. I plan to take advantage of European funding and develop the farm, then invest into a factory, into logistics and a store. We invest everything we earn.”


Last year, the young investor produced 700 litres of blackberry wine.

(translated by: Calin Cotoiu)
Publicat: 2017-08-08 12:45:00
Vizualizari: 4768