Romanian Wine In Relation To the European Wine Market

Omeron Travel
on 15th September, 2020
5 minutes read

European Wine

According to most connoisseurs, Europeans undoubtedly have the best to offer when it comes to serving premium class wine. It is no wonder that almost all the European states are known to produce the finest wines, and this is probably the reason why wines like burgundy, Brunello, champagne, Chablis, Barolo, and Bordeaux are on top of anyone’s favorite wine list. 

The Europeans have various types and qualities of grapes available to them in their vineyards and this is what enables them to produce top-notch European wine that is not only sold domestically but is also exported to various parts of the world. 

For instance, Italy itself has about 377 varieties of grapes, and that’s only a portion of it when compared to the rest of the states in Europe. European wine is consumed at about 60% globally, and about 70% of it is known to have given Europe a valuable export business, making it a challenge for winemakers from all parts of the world. 

Some of the greater states to produce premium European wine consists of Spain, Croatia, France, Italy, Romania, Moldova, Germany, Czech Republic, Switzerland, etc. Although people are aware of the quality wines that are exported to the rest of the world from these countries, what they might not be aware of is that Romania holds great potential to bring invaluable competition in the international market. 

Romanian Wine

Although Romanians have been growing a variety of grapes since 5700BC, their winemaking business is however fairly new and is approximately about 30 years old. After the collapse of communism in Romania in 1989 wiped out the state-owned wine industry, it was re-privatized. 

Ever since then, it has had investors from all over the world, including Italy, Germany, UK, Austria, and France. This has led to the restructuring of their viniculture to a greater extent, and from that time on, the entire industry has had its focus on the quality of the wines rather than the quantity.

As per data from a survey held in 2019, Romania ranks as Europe’s 6th and the world’s 13th largest wine producer today. It has also been estimated that the state alone produced about 4.9 million hectoliters of wine last year. However, most of the Romanian wine is consumed domestically, and according to collected data, only a small portion of it is, in fact, exported to other countries. 

Statistics from the year 2018 proves that only 3.5% of the entire wine production in Romania was used for their export business that particular year. Furthermore, more data has shown that even though Romania makes wine on a larger scale when compared to countries like Greece, Hungary, and New Zealand, it still does not export as much as Austria, Bulgaria, Denmark, and Slovakia. 

One of the greater advantages of being a wine producer in Romania is that majority of the vineyards cover the EU climatic zones. This essentially means that producers have the best temperature and climatic advantages to grow a wide variety of grapes including premium red wines like Dealu Mare to a vast collection of sweet sparkling whites. 

Local Demand & Potential Market

With a variety of both native and foreign grapes grown in Romania, consumers have a lot to choose from, and wines like Merlot, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Gris are always on demand for export from all continents. Sweet wines like Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris are especially commercialized in Romania due to their high demands from the locals, as well as from the foreign market. 

As per experts, home-grown grapes like Feteasca Regala which fall within the elementary variety in a vineyard has the potential to be the next ‘Pinot Gris’ of Romania. Other grapes that also fall into this category include Fetească Neagră, Negru de Drăgășani, and Fetească Albă. The best thing about exporting these wines is that the consumers get to purchase a premium bottle of Romanian wine in a slightly lower volume. 

Producers in Romania often look at exporting as a side business since much of their wine is actually sold domestically. Due to its fine quality, locals are always opting more for their home-grown products rather than the imported ones. However, if more and more producers started exporting their wines, it would without a doubt increase demand and be a potential competitor in the market. 

Not to mention, Romania itself has been developing its winemaking process over the years now and companies like Recaș are always looking for newer opportunities to experiment with their products. Starting from introducing an orange wine to attaining vegan certification, the Romanian wine empire is undeniably flourishing and even aspiring to make alcohol-free wine sometime in the near future. 

Local companies believe that foreign countries are not yet familiar with the quality wines that Romania has to offer. Though they are happy with the sales they make locally, they are certain that if their wines hit the shelves of the supermarkets of cities like London more often, soon enough, they will be able to sell to high-end restaurants as well. Needless to say, this will be a huge boost up in their sales. 

Many wine-producing countries like Germany, often give their wines very exciting and fun names rather than labeling it with the name of the grape used to make the wine. This sales tip works most of the time since people are more intrigued by the name of the bottle instead of some off-putting grape name. Countries like Russia also do the same to make the wine experience more exciting for their consumers. 

Romanian Wine Position in the Market

Romanian wine used to be available overseas in larger numbers before the wine industry spread out in different parts of the world and gave rise to a competitive market. In 1996, the average amount of Romanian wine cases being exported had risen up to a million. However, the state started importing wine after ten years, but ever since Romania became a part of the EU in the year 2007, its export business grew drastically. 

Romania has been exporting its premiums to markets in Germany, England, Bulgaria, and China for a long time now. One of the most well-known winemaking companies in Romania, Cramele Recaș was responsible for much of the export business last year and is known to have exported about 50% of the entire Romanian wine production overseas. 

However, due to the current situation, all of Romania’s wine production along with all the export and import businesses have been put to a halt. Otherwise, companies like Cramele Recaș could have easily surpassed their Romanian wine position in the market with three wineries and a whopping 4m surplus in production this year.  

Even though COVID-19 has taken its toll on the Romanian wine business, the producers are still keen on covering up their losses through online business platforms. It is notable that companies like Recaș were already well prepared for situations like these after Brexit. Stats show that Recaș used to export about 70% of its wine production to the UK in the year 2016 that has now lessened to a mere 20%. 

Winemaking companies have already started exporting their wines to other countries with a competitive price range to increase their export business. However, this is for huge companies like Recaș only, who have large wineries and production. If most local winemakers in Romania wanted to export their high-quality wine to the rest of the world, they would need to increase their volume and also need money to compete with other producers in the market. 

Typically, winemaking costs are extremely high in Romania due to the absence of locally produced glass bottles, which means that they have to spend more on transportation. 

Nonetheless, there is still a huge marketplace for premium Romanian wines on the international platform. There are more potential marketing opportunities for the local winemakers if they plan on increasing their sales internationally to see the Romanian wine position in the market. 

Even though they consume about 20.5 liters domestically, they still have around 40 global markets till now, and as of 2018, Romania has been exporting about 29% of their fine class wines to the UK and about 21% of it to Germany. The rest is exported to China, Canada, Spain, Italy, the US, Poland, Netherlands, Estonia and these are only the top ten!