Wine Year 2019: successes, challenges and particularities

The wine year 2019 was a special one, and the produced wines had been of a very high quality, as certified by the tastings carried out within the quality assessment of the wines produced in the main Protected Geographical Indication regions: Codru, Valul lui Traian, Stefan Voda. This is also due to the more favorable climate conditions for grape ripening and the technical processes of wine making. Remarkable results were recorded in terms of exports, investments, as well as a growing number of winemakers who registered in the Vine and Wine Register. These are some of the conclusions presented by the National Office for Vine and Wine, during the third edition of the National Conference of the Wine Sector “Wine Year 2019”.

The annual event also highlighted the challenges for the wine sector in Moldova. These include phytoplasmic diseases that affect part of the country’s vineyards, climate changes and labor shortages. Moreover, the industry’s milestone event brought to the forefront the latest world trends in the winegrowing of the future, and the special guest, the Swiss expert, Olivier Viret, spoke about the sustainability of winegrowing – trends, challenges, and achievements.

Olivier Viret, expert from Switzerland: “In Switzerland we grow over 200 varieties of grapes, among which new varieties created by selection and which are resistant to fungal diseases. At the country level we have 2 popular initiatives: the prohibition of sanitary products and winegrowing without phytosanitary products. They aim to produce healthy grapes and to strengthen a sustainable wine sector. All these activities are undertaken because we want an organic winegrowing, of good quality, we do not want to treat the vineyards anymore, that is why we must have resistant grape varieties. Therefore, we now have an integrated production concept, known to all, we have phytosanitary regulations that stipulate certain conditions under which pesticides can be used.”

The foreign expert mentioned that Switzerland has made considerable progress due to the fact that sustainability, the practice of organic farming and the protection of the environment are extremely important, especially since they are the foundation for high quality products – a basic requirement for the international competition. At the same time, at the country level there is an integrated production concept, preventive measures and phytosanitary regulations, and the wine growers receive all the necessary data from the agrometeorological stations in order to combat the diseases of vines.

During the third edition of the National Conference of the Wine Sector “Wine Year 2019”, the main data regarding the sector were presented.

THE WINE YEAR IN FIGURES

  • 34,000 HA (+13%), 66,000 PLOTS, 39,182 ECONOMIC ENTITIES.
  • VINE AREAS FOR TECHNICAL VARIETIES ARE REDUCING. AREAS REQUIRED FOR PGI WINE PRODUCTION GREW BY +4%.
  • TOTAL EXPORT: 15.67 MILLION DAL (+9%), THE EQUIVALENT OF 61 MILLION BOTTLES (+4%) AND 111.2 MILLION LITRES OF WINE SOLD IN BULK (+11%).
    83% of the produced wine was exported;
    145 active exporters;
    71 countries (export destinations);
    EXPORT VALUE: 3,086 BILLION MDL (+9%). THE PRICE OF A LITER OF EXPORT WINE IS SLIGHTLY INCREASING (+5%).
  • THE MAIN “GROWTH CENTERS” FOR BOTTLED WINE EXPORTS ARE:
    BY VOLUME: CHINA (+20%), ROMANIA (+11%), RUSSIAN FEDERATION (+7%);
    BY VALUE: CHINA (+28%), ROMANIA (+25%), RUSSIAN FEDERATION (+15%).
  • AVAILABILITY AT THE BEGINNING OF THE WINE YEAR: 35.6 MILLION DAL (+4%).
    Harvest 2019: 14.6 million dal (-25%);
    Stocks 2019: 21.00 million dal (+40%).

The event was attended by several officials, representatives of the wine sector and of the academic environment.

Ion Perju, Minister of Agriculture, Regional Development and Environment: “The wine sector is and will remain an important one, as demonstrated by the fact that winegrowing makes up 3% of the country’s GDP, but also that this branch represents 7% of the total exports. Winegrowing and wine are an internationally recognized business card of our country. The state, through its policies, will contribute to the balanced development of all components in this sector. In this respect, annually, approx. 110 million MDL is allocated from the subventions fund.”

Gheorghe Arpentin, Director, National Office for Vine and Wine: “At its third edition, the National Conference of the Wine Sector has become a milestone event for the wine sector, where the most important achievements of the field are presented. In order to maintain an upward trend, the NOVW team works for the implementation of some winegrowing development programs, focusing on quality. Therefore, it is necessary to constantly evaluate the wines produced on the demonstration plots to understand how the vines behave, but also how the climate change influences the wine sector of the country.”

Diana Lazăr, Deputy Director, Moldova Competitiveness Project: “It is for the first time that the Governments of two countries are aligned with a common approach to support the wine industry. It is an important branch for the country’s economy and the economic impact is not to be neglected. We want a sustainable development, as well as to involve young people in the production activities, which is possible even through a public-private partnership. Wine of Moldova is becoming more and more internationally known, we also have a positive context that we could benefit from.”

In the second part of the conference, the deputy director of the National Office for Vine and Wine, Irina Bîstrițchi, presented the activity report of the institution for the previous year, regarding the activities of promoting the Wine of Moldova both on the internal market and on the external ones. The event also included a presentation of current work on the Wine Register, as well as a digital map of vineyards in protected areas, in the form of a computer application. The National Office for Vine and Wine experts also spoke about developing the “Wine of Moldova 2030” Strategy, in order to outline the evolution of the sector in the next decade, and which also includes the concept of sustainable development.

ANNEX 1
NATIONAL CONFERENCE OF THE WINE SECTOR “WINE YEAR 2019”

The structure of the wine sector

The wine sector in the country remains the first job generator in the rural area. The number of economic entities active in this field and registered in the Vine and Wine Registry reached 39,182. The figure represents an increase of approximately 10,000 compared to last year and includes individuals, households, limited liability companies, joint-stock companies, agricultural cooperatives.

In 2019, 199 wineries were registered in Vine and Wine Registry, a growth of 6.41%, of which 69 are vineyard owners. At the same time, during the previous year, the number of harvest declarations reached 282, an increase of 120%, the production declarations grew by 14%, reaching 48, while the declarations on stocks reached 172 units.

Investments in the wine sector

The year 2019 marked a considerable growth in terms of volume of investments in the development of the sector. The investments made in the field amounted to 551 million MDL, an increase of approximately 60% compared to last year. Of this amount, 242 million MDL were allocated for planting vines, 250 million MDL – for the modernization of the wineries, 59 million MDL – to develop markets and another 12.5 million MDL were invested in various winegrowing development programs.

The area of vineyards and the production potential

The Republic of Moldova remains the country with the highest density of vineyards worldwide. 2019 marked a decrease of the areas planted with technical varieties up to 70200 hectares.

However, the area of vineyards planted with indigenous varieties, included in the Vine and Wine Registry had an increase of 32%, which constituted 1408 ha, while the registered area reached 34,000 ha, that is 13% compared to 2018. According to the data entered in the Registry, the main technical varieties are:

  • Red varieties: Cabernet Sauvignon (4644 ha), Merlot (4523 ha), Pinot Noir (1271 ha);
  • White varieties: Aligote (4523 ha), Sauvignon (4154 ha), Chardonnay (2319 ha).

Production potential: quality/diversity

During the wine year 2019, the areas of the vineyards planted with technical varieties with Protected Geographical Indication increased by 4%, reaching an area of 9573.5 ha. At the same time, the number of winemakers who produce PGI wines has increased to 78 or by 10%, most of them being registered in the “Valul lui Traian” PGI Region (35%).

Harvest capitalization

The report shows that in 2019, 263 tons of grapes were processed, a decrease of 27% compared to last year. Of these, 18 million decalitres of wine have been made, down by 25%, of which 13.2 million decalitres of wine and 1.3 million decalitres of PGI wines.

Wine production

Statistical data shows that in 2019, 14.6 million decalitres of wine have been produced, or 3% less than the average for 2001-2018.

Exports

2019 also marked a considerable increase in exports, both in terms of volume and in terms of accumulated income. Thus, the volume of exports increased by 9%, and the value – by +9.2%, which is the biggest increase in the last 5 years.

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