Confessions of a connoisseur
I am envious to admit that employees of multinationals, be they foreigners or Romanians, are better at creating an image for Romania than state functionaries.
This was obvious to me when firms connected to the ‘francophony’ phenomenon started buying gifts for delegates to the Summit.
I admit that I, at first, had a condescending smile when confronted with a Canadian connoisseur’s expertise with regards to Romanian Tuicas and Palincas. But this changed completely when I saw the choices that were made.
This is in a context where Romanians with high education and deep pockets, looking to give a present to a friend from abroad, would rather chose kitsch-like objects which they think foreigners will like. But foreigners, who will never express dissatisfaction, just end up being overly polite.
I admit I was gob-smacked when encountered with a Frenchman, who spends no more than one month per year in Romania, that he knew not only the European varieties from our vineyards, but also the Romanian wines. He has also compiled boxes of both Romanian and French wine for the Francophony Summit.
By contrast, when some senior (and representative) state institutions put out to tender to wine companies offers to purchase a selection for an occasion, this followed a very ‘serious’ selection criteria, namely - ‘the smallest price’.
I admit I am ashamed.
I have noticed that many expats are not only looking for good wines to drink, but also to justify, to those who visit them, their presence in Romania.
A wine bottle can symbolise many things: that we are in a land of Euro-Atlantic values, that we have a history and that we have a present.
I admit that I am moved by this affiliation to European values.
I admit that I am annoyed by the ignorance of many Romanians regarding gifts from their own country. We should take more pride in what we have.
I hope that the sympathy of those who know us becomes good for us and can be a chance for future generations.
Romanian wine has now started to become what it should have been a long time ago: an ambassador.
Still, I would like to admit IT, industrial production, advertising, sport, film, art in general, these are just expressions of being ‘Romanian’ that add to the ‘traditional’ ones, and, because I am cautious, I did not dare to attach them to the country brand.
This can be a mistake... I admit.
One example that we were not wrong to give credit to Romanian wines is the recent success of Carl Reh Winery at the German-based Mundus Vini contest. Two ‘Seals of Approval’ as well as a silver and a golden medal. As a constant recommender of this company’s work, I congratulate this success.