Vol. 3 No.2  

Lack of energy among wine importers cripples local offering

     The moment I was chosen to be in a team to deliver a ‘Top 100 of Romania wine’ was a happy one. What is not so pleasing is that this project has been dragging on for one year. This project is subsidised and Romanian producers do not pay a penny. But after hundreds of working hours, with descriptions, comparisons, tastings, photo shootings and brainstormings for the concept and the graphics – the project stopped. This is because not all the wine producers sent through their wine charts.
     In the meantime, another crop has been harvested and the data’s timeliness becomes debatable. This smacks of another frozen project from the Balkans. How is it possible that yearbooks, encyclopaedias and wine dictionaries are published in the west and here, in Romania, which is a wine country, the rhythm of publishing is so slow?
     Communication and the ability to establish associations are hard nuts to crack.
     It is true that we make good (in the past) and very good wines (more recently), but if we fail to tell others, our work is in vain.
     I asked European publishers and wine writers why there is little written about Romania, and they replied that they do not received updated information from producers. Most recently, together with portal and – we launched a virtual yearbook comprising imported wines. Guess how active the ‘communicators’ of the importing companies were? Some professional answers, some incomplete answers and... silence.
     Important foreign producers count on Romania’s market, but how many of them know that the managers they appointed make no effort in promotion? The risk is that import wines are only visible at discounters, big surfaces or become ‘entry level wines’. Special wines and those which define the personality of a nation are over-shadowed by big promotions, industrial wines and “wine-cola”*. Last year’s wine import was mainly based on cheap wholesale wines.
     It would be a pity not to oppose this ‘evolution’. Here wine is not a well received guest yet. Connoisseurs would like to see the best wines on a restaurant menu, but at this moment the gap is too large between the offers found in Romanian restaurants and those in the rest of Europe.
     We mostly blame the managers, the sommeliers and the owners of such locations, but it seems importers do not prove to be that energetic. In very many cases foreigners are also involved.
     I hope some of them are people you know.

Catalin Paduraru