In the beginning was the Word …from the winemaking manual
Winemaking made its way into my life quite naturally. It is probably impossible to be an economic journalist in Moldova, who is employed by the government’s daily (The Independent Moldova) and not to refer to the wine industry. Indeed, in our country, viticulture and winemaking have always been considered to be a strategic industry, in which a huge number of people are involved.
I was lucky to become a chronicler of the modern history of Moldavian winemaking, which, in fact, began with renewal and revivalat the turn of the millennium. Since I am thorough in everything that I am dealing with, before going to the first full-cycle winery built from scratch, I had read a winemaking manual. This enabled me to continue communicating easily with winemakers and to quickly win their favour and respect.
The National Day of Moldavian Wine: 20 reviews for 20 years
It should be emphasized that in 2002, the National Wine Day had been established, which this year celebrated its 20th anniversary. I became the only journalist in Moldova who made reviews of all 20 celebrations. After the publication of one of such detailed reviews, Sergei Mishin, the owner and editor-in-chief of “The Economic Review by Logos-Press”, as well as a great admirer of Moldavian winemaking, invited me to host the Art of Winemaking page.
The difficult times
Thus, in 2004, I became a wine journalist, specializing in viticulture and winemaking. Unfortunately, other media outlets in Moldova could not (and still cannot) afford maintaining such employee, so until this day, I have been the only professional wine journalist in my country.
In addition, when in March 2006, the Russian embargo on the import of alcoholic beverages from Moldova had come like a thunderbolt from a clear sky, journalists ceased to be interested in this industry at all. It was quietly dying without its main sales market and under the burden of huge loans. Only one media outlet and one journalist (me) was writing about these problems and the necessity to start searching for solutions. At that time, the authorities turned their backs on the wine business, considering its owners obscenely rich. But in order to save this industry for the country, it was necessary to reach out to those who made decisions. We helped the wine producers with this. It should be pointed out that the biggest challenges are left behind, and winemaking in Moldova is reviving.
New round of development
Achieving a new level of high-quality wines demanded more attention to the latter. Consumers need to be educated about wines, and they need assistance in getting to understand them. All this required a different information outlet than a newspaper. Someone asked me, why I did not create a wine blog, and others simply requested me to do that. To cut a long story short, it was high time for creating such blog and, in 2016, with technical support of USAID, a specialized website wine-and-spirits.md was launched. Initially, I was cramped within the blog’s framework, which implied that my journalistic turn of mind would win the victory. The point is that I have been working with informational powers, and I am trying to present only verified facts to my readers. Initially, I planned to focus only on consumers, and to educate them. But I was surprised to find out that among the readers, there are a lot of people from the professional environment, to whom I should also offer something. The best assessment of my work is made when winemaking technologists state that they learn from me some things that were not told to them at the university.
Being aware of the particularities of the Moldavian winemaking and world trends, as well as working with high-quality sources, enable me to express an opinion at the expert’s level about the most promising vectors for the industry’s development. It should be emphasized that such approach has yielded certain results. It particularly concerns the use of local grape varieties, including new varieties with little or no vineyards, as well as the types of wines. For example, the story about Kopchak variety resulted in tremendous interest to it, as well as a demand for seedlings, which stimulated their production.
Ratings are boring, and I am attracted by wine in all its manifestations
I am happy with growing popularity of small-scale wines, and I have been assisting them in gaining their popularity. I am also contributing into sustainable development of wine tourism, which I also actively promote as interesting places that are worth visiting. It goes without saying that I pay special attention primarily to the Moldavian wines (there is a subcolumn featuring them). But I’m interested in more than just writing tasting notes: what aroma and taste certain wine has (bloggers can do this, too). I want to tell consumers the story of a certain wine, how a winemaker worked with it, what idea is underlying certain product, and what else is characterizing it, besides organoleptic properties? It seems boring to me to limit myself to just giving points and making ratings, so I refrain from doing that.
My pride: articles featuring the grape varieties
I am proud of the articles featuring the grape varieties that are grown in Moldova, as well as reviews of the wines made from them, because I am purportingto show,what kind of wines are produced in our conditions. For instance:
I consider it important to help people learn to enjoy moderate wine consumption, combined with gastronomy. Enogastronomic couples are among my favourite topics, and they are featured in the subcolumn “The Best Couple”.
The role of the chronicler of the Moldavian winemaking helps me arriving at conclusions about the most successful wines produced in Moldova and those which became “iconic” (article “Wines, which are iconic in Moldova”).
I would not call my project https://wine-and-spirits.md/ commercially successful, but it is definitely important for popularization of the Moldavian winemaking.