China is now Moldova’s top wine export market by value, and fifth biggest market by volume, according to the Moldovan Office of Vine and Wine.
Moldova’s top four wine export markets are Poland, Romania, the Czech Republic and Russia, China in fifth place is Moldova’s biggest wine export market outside of Eastern Europe.
Though accounting for only 10 percent of Moldova’s wine exports in volume, China is the top market for Moldova’s more expensive bottled wines.
Since exports to the top four markets are mainly cheaper bulk wines, exports to China topped all four in value terms.
Total wine production last year was 180 million litres. Since harvest last year, Moldova has exported 143 million litres of wine, up 3 percent compared with the previous crop. Export value was 2.3 billion Lei (USD 137.560 million), an increase of 5.5 percent.
The Office of Vine and Wine predicted that wine production this year will drop to 150 to 170 million litres.
Moldova was the biggest source of wine in the ex-Soviet Union responsible for half of its wine consumption.
During the 1960s, vast underground cellars for millions of bottles were built to store its extensive production. One abandoned limestone mine was transformed into the Milestii Mici wine cellar stretching for 150 miles with temperatures consistently at around 10 to 15 degrees Celsius, the perfect temperature for ageing wine.
It became globally famous when the Guinness Book of World Records listed its two million bottles as the largest wine collection in the world by the number of bottles.
Moldova’s wine industry suffered a severe blow when Russia placed a ban on its wines in 2006 and then again in 2013 when Moldova announced plans to sign an association treaty with the European Union.
Since then Moldova has been aggressively marketing its wines to other parts of the world. The country even change the name of the capital city Chisinau’s main airport to Wines of Moldova Airport.
(the writer can be contacted at: SLawMathews@thewinechronicle.com)