Given that it’s a fairly small Country with only 3.5m inhabitants, it might surprise you to know that Moldova is one of the World’s largest wine producers. Currently ranking 14th… that places it above New Zealand! In fact, Moldovan wine production dates back at least 3000 years and so Moldova can be considered a bonafide ‘Old World’ wine producer.
Wine making has a huge impact on the Countries economy with nearly 20% of the population engaged in the industry in some way and over 7% of agricultural land dedicated to wine making. That is a higher percentage than any other in the World! As well as great soils and sunny slopes, Moldova lies at the same latitude as Bordeaux! Who’d have known?
The vast majority of Moldovan wine production has for centuries made its way across the border to Russia and this alone accounts for the lack of awareness and visibility of Moldovan wine in Europe.
Recent political spats with Russia in the 1950’s and more recently in 2013, when Moldova announced trade talks with the EU, have seen Russia ban the import of Moldovan wine on various occassions causing significanty harm to the industry and the broader economy.
The upside of this is a newly acquired focus on developing quality wines for the European and other markets. In some ways similar to the Spanish wine story of recent decades, there’s a conserted effort in Moldova to move away from being a cheap high volume producer to instead develop quality wines.