Russian ban on wine more to do with politics than quality

3 Feb 2014

moldova wine

According to Polish Television’s Agrobiznes agricultural and food programme, Russia is using reasons other than those of health to control its food imports.  Currently negotiations are under way with regard to a ban on pork from the EU which no doubt will be resolved before long.  However it is a different story for wine from Moldova.

In 2006 Russia banned the import of wine from Moldova, a move which would have hit the country hard as wine is its major export earner and Russia was its largest client.  Cut off from the rest of Europe by Stalin’s seizure of the Romanian territory in 1940, this part of the former USSR looked to Moscow for markets for its wine.  In 2006, Russia closed that market citing the discovery of harmful substances within the wine.  Agrobiznes suggested that this had less to do with the quality of the wine than the political connections between Moldova and the EU.  Eight years later and the problem has not been resolved and does not look as though it will be resolved.

For obvious political reasons, Russia has also banned the import of wines from Georgia. Ironically, this is good news for Romanian wine producers who are now within the EU.  For Moldova, it means a financial loss of around USD400m over the past eight years although the country has increased exports to the EU.

The potential knock on effect on Ukrainian products goes without saying.


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