When you’re lucky enough to get invited to one of these press trips you kind of expect to be worked hard. Of course you are! The wineries or the PR company are paying for your hotel and flights and grub and wine (natch!), so they want to fit as much into the days as possible. So our daft o’clock flight to Bucharest on the Wednesday morning was a shock to the system, but it did mean we got to see more of this lovely country.
Our destination was a couple of hours outside Bucharest city centre. Ok, when you’ve been on the go for 3 hours before that it’s a bit trying, but a two hour drive to go sit in the vineyards is nothing for a wine-o living in the big city. The Avincis winery have worked that out and are making the most of it!
In 1997 the current owners got 100 acres of ancestral land back from the state and decided to pack it in as lawyers and get stuck into wine making. Now ably assisted by French winemaker Ghislain, and his adorable young family, they are producing very good wines from both well known and local varieties.
The most striking thing they do, from my point of view, is that they built a 13 bedroom hotel/guesthouse complex on top of the winery, with panoramic views over the sprawling and beautiful wine region of Dragašani. It goes back to my thing about making sure that you can sell the experience, not just the wine, no matter whether you’re the producer, the broker, the local wine shop. Doesn’t matter. Give the punters the memories and they’ll stick with you for a long time.
It was a great set up there, and very pleasing to see that wine tourism is clearly going to play a big part in the rise of Romanian wine and Romanian tourism in general.