Strengthening the Moldovan Wine Sector from Grape to Glass.

January 15, 2016

“The professional sommelier trainings that I participated in have been really valuable for me and helped me develop my professional skills in terms of serving, selling, and promoting wine to tourists.”

Lilia Ciotca, a sommelier and tour guide at the Milestii Mici winery

“Moldova’s wine industry is thriving and alive ... While it took an outside motivating force — two brutal embargoes from Russia — to bring along the changes, the industry has embraced its new life and made radical changes to everything, from its vineyards straight through to its packaging … Moldova is a winemaking legend that is crafting a new story.”

Christy Canterbury, an expert in eastern European wines

A Better Business Environment

ONVV assistance to Moldova’s wine sector has resulted in more international companies taking notice of the wine industry and its business value. From 2010 to 2015, 20 companies invested in the wine sector, totaling €21 million. As of January 2016, there were three officially registered protected geographical indications in Moldova — Stefan Voda, Valul lui Traian, and Codru — a distinction that allows the wines to sell better in EU markets.

Another goal of CEED I and II was to show local populations how lucrative the sector can be. Since its establishment in 2011, the Moldova Sommelier Association has gone a long way toward improving domestic awareness of the sector through seminars and training. More than 40 wine professionals, including 33 new sommeliers, participated in this training. The project also helped officially register sommelier as a profession in the country.

Lilia Ciotca, a sommelier and tour guide at the Milestii Mici winery, said, “The professional sommelier trainings that I participated in have been really valuable for me and helped me develop my professional skills in terms of serving, selling, and promoting wine to tourists.”

A National Community and Identity

Beyond paving the way for economic growth and education about Moldovan wine, the systemic renovation of the sector during the last 10 years has helped a stronger national identity to flourish. Cultivating indigenous grape varieties helps the wine stand apart from the competition; it also instills in the more than 70,000 Moldovan farmers involved in the sector a stronger national pride in their product.

7

percent of Moldova’s exports represented by wine

200,000

citizens employed by Moldova’s wine industry, as of 2015

Nowhere is this national identity best encapsulated than in the national wine brand — Wine of Moldova — which CEED established based on the formation of wine brands in other countries such as Austria and Australia. The brand was launched internationally in March 2014 at the ProWein trade show, an event that was attended by 30 international wine journalists and that catapulted the brand into global awareness. Beyond its role at formal events, the national brand’s use of blended traditional and contemporary elements makes it appealing to the broader community. This community has also burgeoned with events such as the annual National Wine Day.

Christy Canterbury, an expert in eastern European wines and one of 10 women who hold the Master of Wine qualification in the United States, is optimistic about the future of wine in Moldova: “Moldova’s wine industry is thriving and alive … While it took an outside motivating force — two brutal embargoes from Russia — to bring along the changes, the industry has embraced its new life and made radical changes to everything, from its vineyards straight through to its packaging … Moldova is a winemaking legend that is crafting a new story.”