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Moldovan wine producers choose to sell in Europe. “We were oriented towards the Russian market, but there the prices are lower”

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Nicolae Tronciu, whose wife was born in a camp in Siberia where her parents were deported, is accustomed to the geopolitical upheavals in this country with 2.6 million inhabitants who are among the world’s top 20 wine producers, thanks to a favorable climate.

“I sell mainly in Europe, especially in Romania,” explains Nicolae Tronciu, whose vineyard is located about 50 kilometers from the Ukrainian border.

“Traditionally, we were oriented towards the Russian market, but there the prices are lower … In the EU you can ask for a higher price for wine but there the emphasis is on quality. The future is in Europe, “says the producer Agerpres.

According to the quoted source, the successive embargoes imposed by Russia in the last decades, in retaliation for the decision of the Chisinau authorities to move closer to the EU, have also determined the viticulturists from the neighboring country to reorient.

Brussels has accelerated this move by eliminating customs duties, so that in 2014 it will conclude a bilateral free trade agreement for wine products with Chisinau.

The transformation was a radical one, in 2021 Russia was responsible for 10% of Moldova’s wine exports, down from 80% in the early 2000s, according to figures released by the Moldovan Ministry of Agriculture. At the same time, last year the Republic of Moldova delivered 120 million liters to European countries, compared to 8.6 million liters to Russia.

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“Before the Russian embargo in 2006, the country did not know the term ‘market diversification’. Today, it exports almost 68 million bottles of wine to more than 70 countries every year, “said Sergiu Gherciu, secretary of state at the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Industry.

The main wine producer in the Republic of Moldova, the Purcari Group, has even taken a political stance against Russian influence with a wine called “Freedom Blend”.

“In 2014, we designed Freedom Blend, based on three grape varieties from Georgia, Ukraine and the Republic of Moldova, Saperavi, Bastardo and Rara Neagră. This wine is a symbol of the three countries fighting for their freedom, “said Eugen Comendant, Purcari’s chief operating officer.

The Purcari Group, which is being voted on the Bucharest Stock Exchange, also stood out for offering free accommodation for Ukrainian refugees in hotel rooms and sponsoring an advertising campaign against the war in Ukraine.

Regarding the effects of the Russian invasion of Ukraine on Purcari’s activity, Eugen Comendant says that it is a “near zero impact”, thanks to the reduced transactions with Russia. , and now it’s collapsed.

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Another difficulty is the blockade of the Ukrainian port of Odessa, which has caused “major logistical problems and complicated our exports to Asia,” says Eugen Comendant.

Even though traffic has now been diverted to the port of Constanta, bottles of 750,000 euros worth of wine are still blocked in the Ukrainian port of Odessa, the Chisinau government recently announced.

However, the main challenge for Moldovan wine producers is the increase in production costs, which would jump by 50% this year, says Sergiu Gherciu, secretary of state at the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Industry.

“Our spending has doubled as a result of rising prices for energy, pesticides, fertilizers, and for example it has become more difficult to find the steel cable used in the trellis, for which prices have tripled,” confirms Nicolae Tronciu, who sells between eight and ten tons of wine a year.

In addition, Nicolae Tronciu also suffers from the lack of tourists, which he used to receive. “Most of them were Ukrainians, but there were also some Russians,” says Nicolae Tronciu, whose tasting room is now empty.

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