Romanian wine is up 16% in the UK with major distributors getting behind the country to boost its wine credentials.
According to the latest IRI data (52 weeks to September 2021), Romanian wine has seen its volume soar by +16.7% year on year, and is now the 15th largest origin in the UK Still and Sparkling Wine market, worth £40.1 million.
And it’s Romanian Pinot Noir that’s leading the charge on UK shores, having secured listings in Sainsbury’s, Waitrose, the Co-op and Majestic, and boosted its volume growth by 5% in the last year.
The impressive trajectory is set to continue, not least thanks to an exclusive partnership announced last month between UK distributor Kingsland Drinks and Romanian wine giant The Iconic Estate, supplier to the Royal House of Romania.
The move signifies a commitment by the Salford-based distributor to champion Eastern European wines in the UK. For starters, Kingsland has vowed to add a comprehensive Romanian range to its portfolio at entry, mid-range and premium price-points, available to both the UK on-trade and off-trade under three distinct brands: Rhea, Prahova Valley and Hyperion.
Kathryn Glass, wine buyer for Kingsland Drinks, exclusively told the drinks business: “Romanian Pinot Noir is now a worthy mainstay in UK supermarkets, joined also by some other international varieties from Romania. It’s a really exciting time for Romanian wines and we’re seeing interest peak on the shelves. It feels like we are entering a progressive phase: the trade and consumers are ready to explore more diverse indigenous grapes. Armed with unique varietals such as Feteasca Neagra, Feteasca Alba and Feteasca Regala, Romania is in a great place to meet the demands of an enquiring palate.”
Kingsland Drinks will provide UK shopper insights and taste preferences alongside commercial information and buyer relationships for the winery, which is one of the Eastern European country’s largest wine producers.
“During the pandemic, we’ve observed consumers taking a leap into the unexpected and branching out in their wine buying. Romanian wines offer a great price-to-quality ratio, and there’s a real appetite for these right now,” said Glass. “ In addition, shortages of Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand mean the gap will need to be plugged and Romanian alternatives are ready and available, offering good quality, affordable wines that we know consumers will love.”
Dragos Plopeanu, regional export director at The Iconic Estate, said the partnership with Kingsland marks a “real shift” in the Romanian powerhouse’s global strategy.
“Kathryn and the team got under the skin of our wine portfolio and identified the optimal range for the UK market with wines such as our Feteasca Neagra standing alongside world renowned grapes such as Cabernet Sauvignon. We’re confident Kingsland Drinks will bring our wines to the UK mainstream, and that soon Romanian wine will be on everyone’s lips.”
Romania currently comes in fifth position for areas under vine in the EU (after Spain, France, Italy and Portugal).