Vol. 2 No.9  

Lessons from a master

     In the past I have mentioned, if not reproached, Romania’s weak presence in the world’s wine yearbooks. I also deplored the ratio between the importance of Romania as a wine-making country and the number of lines written about it: a ratio by which insignificant countries in wine-making overtook (by several pages) the few lines written about Romania. Lines with mistakes, both in form and substance.
     Although it is the writer’s obligation to thoroughly research a piece, a culture also needs to affirm itself through its own resources and after that it can expect external appreciation.
     I then saw that an increase in consumption, and a know-ledge of what the public demanded, would be a tool to adjust production. Knowing WHAT we needed to promote, we would have found the way towards HOW to do it.
     In a couple of years, Romanian wine has changed. With the exception of delays in replanting vines, the industry now looks different.
     Recently Master of Wine Ms Caroline Gilby visited Romania. Her byline has appeared in Wines of the World, Decanter and Harpers Wine and she is present on the board of Journal of Wine Research.
     Ms Gilby, an expert in the region, has written about Romania dating back to 2000. So we all owe her thanks for consistency.
     On a tour for local wine producers, Vinexpert Gallery hosted a wine tasting which Ms Gilby attended. Her advice, findings and wishes were all well received by participants including Vinia, Cotnari, Serve, Da Vino, Mulfatlar and Vinterra.
     In a hidden way, Mrs Gilby also drew attention to the new type of commercial confrontation which will be in force starting 2007: tax-free trade within EU member states.
     There are now independent voices arguing that some domestic wine producers need to make corrections. But if they have learnt the lessons of implementing new procedures and modernisations, there is only one more exam left: the market.
     Bad management of the local market, the excessive support for hyper and supermarkets can only lead to “squeezing” the producers, who have to pay thousands of Euro for listings and other “marketing” operations in-store.
     Ms Gilby points out that the consumer needs to be educated and encouraged to grow fond of Romanian wine. If not, we risk losing local wine to global offers.
     Or worse. Look at Hungary, where, in a German store chain, Hungarian wines were de-listed in favour of own labels from Germany and the local consumer is in the unfortunate situation when he cannot find local wine.
     For visiting us, Ms Gilby, the pleasant conversation, anticipations and honesty... many thanks.

Catalin Paduraru