Wine production may exceed 5.3 mln hectolitres in 2009

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Wine grapes production might score 935,000 tonnes, while the wine production might stand at 5.369 million hl. in 2009, a level similar to that in 2008, read data the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Rural Development (MAPDR).

‘The wine grapes production stood at 935,000 tonnes, in 2008, when 5.369 million hl wine were made.

This year, the favourable weather conditions allowed us to start picking the grapes, earlier, and wine makers expect this year’s production to reach that of the last year,’ said general manager of the General Directorate of Agricultural Policies Daniel Botanoiu.

At present, Romania grows grapevine over 200,000 ha, negotiated with the EU, although vineyards for making high quality wine of geographically controlled origin do not exceed 50,000 ha.

The Romanian wine market might earn a higher turnover in 2009 than in 2008, when it amounted to 500 million euros, said the National Vineyard and Wine Business Owners Association general manager Ovidiu Gheorghe.

‘The year 2009 is more difficult, in terms of prognoses. Only some wine makers have signaled so far that sales will go down, while others say they will be up.

We expect a market growth of 10 percent, namely 500 million euros, including both the Romanian wine, the imports and the self- reported consumption, in 2008, compared to 2007,’ Gheorghe pointed out.

Romania ranks the fifth among the top EU wine makers, totaling 186,900 ha vineyards. Official data say that the average yearly production stands at 5.5-6 million hl.

Wine makers say that official/organised wine market puts out 1.2-1.5 million hl. The difference of round 4.5 million hl represents the self-reported consumption and the illegal market.

Romania reported a wine consumption of 27 l/ per capita in 2006, but it dropped to 22 l, self- reported consumption included, National Statistic Institute (INS) data say. The figure represents less than half of 55-60 litres per capita compared to that of the developed countries.

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