Nestled in the north-east corner of the Balkans in Eastern Europe, lies the landlocked country of Moldova, known for its ancient monasteries and unspoiled open countryside but even more so for its world-class wines.
Moldova’s winemaking history dates back to 4th century B.C., and despite having to contend with the phylloxera blight, two world wars and Russian embargoes, as well as the current war in Ukraine on its border, Moldova is still Europe’s 11th largest wine-producing country. It boasts over 128,000 hectares under vine – the highest percentage of vineyards to total agricultural land of any country in the world – over 200 wineries and more than 50 grape varieties.
With a temperate European climate, similar to that of Burgundy, generating up to 320 days of sunshine a year and 450-550 mm of rainfall, it is easy to see why Moldova is an ideal place for vine growing and winemaking. Its varied topography, biodiversity and geology produce impressive variety and quality in its wines.
The country’s commercial vineyards now export a significant percentage of their wine. Free trade access within the European Union, granted in 2014, was a powerful catalyst, catapulting noteworthy growth in Moldova’s export market, and the Republic now has three recognised Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) wine producing regions – Codru, Ștefan Vodă and Valul lui Traian – as well as a PGI for spirits (Divin).
The industry has seen significant investment in recent years and the countryside is now dotted with futuristic, state-of-the-art wineries, which, in tandem with the preservation of tradition, are moving the country’s wine industry forward.
Boasting several interesting indigenous grapes alongside international varieties, the country’s wines are receiving recognition and admiration from around the world. The resilience Moldovan winemakers have gained over the years promises a path of further development.