Moldova is a small country with a long wine-making history, but few Moldovan wineries have developed world-class brands that would appeal to Western consumers — and until recently, they didn’t have to.
Historically, most Moldovan wine has been purchased by Russian traders who did not require modern branding techniques. In fact, many Moldovan producers frequently changed their labels, unaware of their importance in developing a loyal consumer base. The long-established wine trading system with Russia — a legacy of central planning — ensured that Moldovan companies always had a market for their wine. But in early 2006, wine trading relations with Russia changed abruptly, leaving Moldovan companies scrambling for new markets, including Western markets where modern wine branding is essential for developing sustainable business relationships.
One Moldovan winery, Acorex Wineholding, was quick to understand this and undertook the ambitious task of developing a wine brand that could compete in the United Kingdom with wines from around the world. But Acorex needed help.
With assistance from the USAID-funded Competitiveness Enhancement and Enterprise Development project
, Acorex was able to secure the services of a specialty wine brand design firm, Amphora Designs, which, with Acorex’s management and a British wine distributor, developed several options for a brand identity from which the final choice, Taking Root, was selected.
Acorex planned to introduce four wines in the series — pinot grigio, sauvignon blanc, merlot, and bastardo-cabernet sauvignon — all in the £5 price range (around $9). The brand launch took place at the 2007 London International Wine and Spirits Fair, but to build momentum for its debut, Acorex also exhibited at ProWein in Germany.
The brand received early acclaim: Taking Root was nominated for the prestigious Drinks Business Design & Packaging Award 2007. According to Acorex’s general director, Sergei Borets, “We have high hopes for ‘Taking Root’ and believe it will help to secure our company’s future as we move away from the Russian market.”