A hard year for Moldovan viticulture
The spring of 2004 was quite favorable for the Moldovan viticulture. It was marked with the creation of 3.7 thousand hectares of new vineyards – the highest annual figure in all independence years. The explanation to that was in the Government’s decision to subsidize the creation of vineyards in the amount of 25,000 lei (nearly $2 thousand) per a hectare of new plantations. Before the 2005 season, local economic entities will plant grapes on 4.5 thousand hectares.
Thus, even with such moderate assistance from the State, grape-growing has again become a worthy business in Moldova, so this sub-sector may again become an essential part of the national economy.
Even now, however, grape growing and winemaking bring up to 35 percent of Budget revenues. Over 90 percent of what Moldovan wineries make is happily exported. In January-July this year, wine exports brought $156 million to Moldova — $29 million more than in the same period of 2003.
However, the past summer and the first month of autumn introduced corrections into the initial forecasts, and the year as a whole turned out not at all happy for the sector. A cool and generally wet summer, and lack of warm sun in September left no hope for a high harvest. Many vineyard owners, particularly those having under 3 hectares of plantations, failed to properly withstand the rainy summer that brought all possible diseases on the vine. As a result, the harvest is going to be only around 450 thousand tons, against the initial expectations of some 750 thousand tons.
In August, tentative prices on grapes had already been defined. So, a ton of black grapes Cabernet and Merlot was going to be offered for 3,600 lei, other black varieties – for 3,000 to 3.400 lei, white grapes Sauvignon, Chardonnay and Traminer – 2,000-2,500 lei, Isabella and Rignon – 1,700 to 2,000 lei a ton.
// Commentary by Lilia Gurez, Infotag correspondent