Romanian Wine Boom: Over 10% Surge in Local Vineyards 2023

The Romanian wine industry continues its ascent, with over 50 new wineries authorized in the last 10 months, according to data from ONVPV, analyzed by Wines of Romania. Additionally, wine production was up by 15% compared to 2022, despite coming from a slightly reduced total vineyard area compared to previous years. By the end of January this year, the list of wineries authorized for producing wines with Controlled Designation of Origin (DOC), Geographical Indication (IG), or varietal wines reached 473, up from 422 recorded in April 2023.

According to data, over the past three years, producers have shifted their focus to local varieties, which have seen an increasing trend in cultivated areas, while areas planted with international flagship grape varieties have slightly decreased. Additionally, local producers have shown a growing appetite for cultivating less common varieties such as Syrah, Cabernet Franc, or Viognier.

“We observe a timid but clear trend towards revaluing indigenous varieties. The domestic market will not be able to fully absorb the wine production, and orientation towards international markets becomes increasingly plausible. Consumers in these markets are increasingly attracted to local and regional varieties, reflecting the identity and specificity of the area of origin. At the same time, there is a growing interest among domestic consumers for the diversity of offerings, indicating an incipient valorization of indigenous varieties. We hope that this evolution will lead to not only increased but also more refined wine consumption in the years to come.” – Marinela Ardelean, international wine expert and founder of the Wines Of Romania platform.

Romanian Vineyard Area Overview

Among the “international grapes,” the only one with a positive evolution in terms of cultivated area in 2023 was Chardonnay, which saw a 50-hectare increase last year, reaching a total of 2077 hectares now.

Regarding indigenous varieties, the most significant increase in cultivated area was recorded by Busuioaca de Bohotin, from 785 to 912 hectares, while the most cultivated Romanian variety, Feteasca regală, consolidated its position, increasing from 12,007 to 12,083 hectares in 2023. Feteasca neagră also increased from 3316 to 3384 hectares, while the new star from Oltenia, Negru de Drăgășani, grew from 62 to 68 hectares.

On the other hand, Feteasca albă lost over 100 hectares, decreasing from 12,032 hectares in 2021 to 11,931 hectares by the end of 2023. A decrease of 30 hectares in cultivated area was also observed for the more rustic variety – Crâmpoșia. For other Romanian varieties, the areas remained similar.

International varieties largely maintained similar cultivated areas to those recorded in the past three years. More significant variations were recorded with the Aligote variety, with an almost 80-hectare decrease, as well as Merlot, Pinot Gris, Sauvignon Blanc, and Italian Riesling, whose cultivated areas decreased slightly, by only 30-40 hectares each.

As a novelty in recent years, Romanian producers’ preferences have shifted towards less popular varieties in Romania, but which can have more interesting results in the terroirs where they are cultivated. Thus, Syrah increased by 28 hectares, Viognier nearly doubled its area, from 27 to 43 hectares, Rhine Riesling increased by almost 70 hectares, and Cabernet Franc gained 23 hectares, from 145 to a total of 168 hectares.

2023boomCabernetlocalsurgeSyrahvineyardsViognierwine industrywinesWines of Romania
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