On the trails of the Romanian wine

Romania is a country of wines, and grape harvesting has always been an opportunity for merry-making. At harvest time, battles and important business at the princely courts were postponed, and the lords set up camp amid vines, to be serenaded by Gypsy musicians. Cries of joy and folk dances heralded the birth, in oak barrels, of the new season’s wine. In the lands of Wallachia, Transylvania and Moldavia - the historical provinces of Romania - numerous wines are produced, some of them famous, having been served at royal courts in Europe and elsewhere. Cotnari wine, from Moldavia, was one of the favourites of Peter the Great. Vine-growing is one of the oldest Romanian activities. Thrace, on part of which Romania now stands, was considered the oldest and most respected wine-making area in Europe. It is believed that Thrace was the birthplace of the god of wine – Dionysus.  Thrace was also the homeland of the Dacians - the Romanians’ ancestors. In the 1st century BC, the Dacian king, Burebista, ordered all the vineyards to be destroyed, and he forbade people to drink wine. He took these drastic measures to keep his tribesmen sober and alert to invaders.  The threat was very real, especially from the East, whence came hostile incursions came in waves, driven not only by the promise of good pasture, but also by the vineyards. 

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