Russia bans Moldovan wine

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  • Thursday 12 August 2010

The Moldovan wine industry’s biggest market, Russia, has banned wine imports from the former Soviet republic after a leading health official claimed it ‘should be used to paint fences’.

The Russian customs service has stopped Moldovan wine from entering the country over concerns about quality and health risks, according to news agency Reuters.

In the three weeks to 15 July, the Russian customs agency said there were more than half a million bottles labelled as ‘poor quality’ and more than 90 batches failing to meet hygiene standards.

The Moldovan wine industry has also been the victim of deteriorating relations with Russia. Moldova's acting president angered Moscow, claiming Soviet rule amounted to occupation.

Earlier this year, Russia’s consumer welfare department banned almost 50,000 litres of wine for safety reasons, and Russia's chief sanitary official, Gennady Onishchenko, claimed that 'Moldovan wine should be used to paint fences.'

However, there were a number of Moldovan wines in the Decanter World Wine Awards that won the judges' approval. The silver-award winning 2009 Abastrele Sauvignon Blanc was described as, 'quite aromatic, flinty nose with blackcurrant leaf aromas. Crisp, fruity and mineral on the palate, with good fruit weight and tropical notes.'

Russia previously purchased 80% of Moldova’s total wine production. The first ban on Moldovan came in March 2006 amid similar health scare claims. In 2007, more than 40 Moldovan wine producers were allowed to recommence exports but the total ban has been re-introduced.

It is estimated the wine industry employs around one-quarter of the Moldovan population.

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