Over two millennia have passed since we know that “vineyard is cultivated on our hills.” Culture of vineyards was a necessity to improve human nutrition.
From the archaeological research made until now, vineyard in the fossil state “was found in Quaternary deposits of southern France (Montprellier).
In the past more or less distant, vines were growing in the wild “especially in Mediterranean, Black Sea and Caspian Sea regions. In this condition is also met today in some parts of Asia and America. In the wild state, vine doesn’t present an economical importance because grapes have small seeds, rare and very sour. As crops, belongs to the ancient agricultural systems after some Egypt, after others belongs to Asian countries. It is clear that among other things, Phoenicians commercialized and wine that they brought from vineyards that were around and form the western basin of the Mediterranean. The homeland of wine is not mentioned yet. The Phoenicians were asidiu propagators of this culture throughout the Mediterranean basin, today the most important wine region in the world.
Wine and vine cultivation was “an important branch of agriculture” for our ancestors. “Vineyards and wine were numerous at that time, and appreciate that Burebista, concerned about the excesses that he saw, commanded and - actually remarkable - Dacians were obedient to destroy vineyards. The story – told by C.C. Giurescu and Dinu C. Giurescu researchers – doesn’t be interpreted as meaning that from then, vine cultivation was not cultivated in Dacia, or that they destroyed all the vineyards - we believe more natural – the planting was limited and were destroyed surfaces that were exceeded the needs, now very modern, the people.
After Daco-Romanians Christianization, made before the year 325 (Council of Nicea), was cultivated vines for wine indispensable liturgical culture production.
Vineyard that is still found naturally in forests and in some open plateaus it is the evidence that lived here since time immemorial when she hold compact areas.
Around 1700, Dragasani region was famous for vines. Yields of quality and rich wine make large and small feudal and even landless people to buy or plant vineyard in the Dragasani hill, on the property of others by making pacts. Most vineyards were in the property of Râmnic Episcopal.
In the archives of Sibiu is kept the relevant documents concerning the wine fund of the time property act and specific wines inventories. Around 1700, the vineyard of Drăgăşani was composed of Drăgăşani hill, Gârdeşti, Sutesti, Creteni and Nemoiu with numerous plantations supervised by boars.
DRAGASANI WINE AT NATIONALLY AND INTERNATIONALLY EXHIBITIONS
Known since the first steps of humanity, vines ascent through millennia following the steps of history. The place of the beginning of the collecting activity of the people, secular forests, cleared, sunny hills’ made with the time place for cultivated vine whose evolution will experience unprecedented growth as well as periods of substantial decline.
Blessed by God with many riches, land of our country has proved still the distant times in human history, favorable for the cultivation of the vine. The wines from north of the Danub, still cherished by the Greeks, gave force Dacians Decebal for them to spread throughout the Roman Empire as a special product. Over time, viticulture becomes one of the main branches for the Romanian agriculture, important source for income of all time.
Viticulture documentary recorded for Vâlcea district from the time of Mircea cel Bătrân is growing in these regions especially in the Drăgăşani. Here, the large open hills near the Olt, with their line slopes pointed to the east gathered in clear grape all sweetness of the earth. Dragasani vineyard required since its inception as the most important of Oltenia and one of the main wine-growing areas in the country. Over the existence of the Ţării Românești, vineyards from Dragasani enjoyed a special because princes and boyars mastered the best vineyards from here, at whose fame helped their prestige. As far as it’s known, the largest surface of vine of medieval time belonged to Buzescu.
The first participation of Dragasani wines in an exhibition is recorded in documents in 1865. At the government call from 1865 for the participation at agricultural exhibitions in Bucharest and Iasi with the occasion of Moşilor Fair, among other districts, responds Valcea, that besides textiles made at Mamu Monastery and some other specific agricultural products, participated also with a collection of wines.
The entire year 1866 was challenged for the first time by the participation of Romania as independent state at the Universal Exhibition in Paris in 1867. Due zealous work of Alex Odobescu called the Romanian Commission for the Exhibition Commissioner, Valcea participate with geological samples, mineral water, national stitches, wood samples, a saw mill turbine model, agricultural products and a rich collection of wines from Dragasani. For an anticipated selection of agricultural products that will be exposed in Paris on 26 May 1866, opened in Bucharest in Cişmigiu garden an “Exhibition of flowers, fruit and vegetables” and at the end, Dragasani wines, along with other agricultural products of Valcea district gets right to participate in Universal Exhibition so, in October is confirmed the participation “of wine samples sent by Nicolau D. Simulescu and Paraschiv from Drăgăşani”. More, for the sake of memory was demand some supplements of the products in order to participate to the contest exhibition where will be demonstrate the skills for one of the medals in front of a jury composed of 12 persons, tasters famous in the world (at that time they wasn’t called oenologists).
The german chemist Biscov, member of the jury, analyzing our wine, noted on the bulletin: “the romanian white wine is a normal wine, excellent that must be considered pure natural wine”.
The red wine has identical qualities as the french one, especially those from Bordeaux variety.
The establishment of Agricultural commissions and giving them the right to organize exhibitors and agricultural competitions was an important impulse for the development of Romanian agriculture.
The first exhibition of that type is organized in Valcea district, in autumn of 1881 (October 31-November 2) in the “Zăvoi” park where is organized with this occasion a special flag.
Between participants in such an event, were famous “those who cultivate in a systematic mod the vines and the ones that conserves better the wines on a larger scale”. Are highlighted Ştefan Ion Popescu from Ştefănești which presents “…a bottle of wine from 1879 crop” and Mihai Urșanu from Guşoeni which presents “... one bottle of wine from 1879 crop” those being at their first exhibition.
On the other hand, we remark at the 1881 exhibition a diversity of varieties by the appearance of the Rhin and Bordeaux wines. Also now we have mentioned for the first time wine’s superior refinement activity after the method Cognac.
The new varieties of vines brought since 1867 have been excellent acclimatized on Dragasani hills, Rhine and Bordeaux wines obtained could compete with those made in the vineyards of France and Germany.
At the exhibition and wines contest of Bordeaux in 1898, the french consul Wilhelm Ardent exposed a series of Drăgăşani white wines that won honor diploma along with the Mehedinţi red wines appreciated with gold medal.
The first exhibition manifestation, after the restoration of Drăgăşani vineyards, was the regional economic exhibition of Craiova in 1898. Valcea participation was massive and the results as expected: 9 golden medals, 24 silver medals and 30 bronze medals - Drăgăşanii have won 3 golden medals and one of silver.
Drăgăşani is constantly present to all the exhibitions events in 1908 and 1911 in Milan, in 1912 to Gant, where, even if they have not received the expected laurels, they enjoyed vast appreciation.
Drăgăşani wines reputation was tenaciously maintained on national plan by of the biggest owners and retailers, confident in their lucky star that permanently joined many famous tasters stars.
On the hills waves a headlight is guiding the ship…
Drăgăşani vineyard, one of the oldest and most famous vineyards of Romania, crowns from ancient times the hills of Valcea and Olt district. The vine age from here is hard to say. Palynological research and material evidence shows the fact that vine growing from primitive time with 3000 years before Jesus Christ, in the middle of the Neolithic stage.
The thracians greatly expanded their vines in hilly, in sunny plateaus and even in plain, grapes constituting an important aliment, and wine became later one of the most important products of trade.
Borrowing the techniques vine culture from Balkan and seeing the great advantages achieved by the phoenicians as a result of wine trade, the aegean and peninsular greeks rushed to create reliable income sources, expanding and improving the culture.
Audacious entrepreneurs and traders, many of them have occupied key positions on major commercial arteries of the East and the large rivers where they established a network of “factors”. Mediterranean shores and Pontus Euxin were dotted with flourishing settlements. The wine trade that brought significant revenues sparked envy of the romans, themselves vine growers and wine producers. In a short historical time, perfecting themselves, they equaled. That allowed them to win new territories where wine and sword overwhelmed greeks that were within the boundaries of the great empire, removing their competition. After they eliminated Carthage competition, the romans were able to take full wine trade being the largest monopoly of the ancient world with the purpose of collecting and distribution of the wine in all provinces.
Among the major wine producers were also thracians from the north of Danube, well defended territory and extremely rich. The conquest of viticulture richness of this vast territory was mobile unrecorded properly by historians, reason that started the fratricidal war, cripples known in history. Besides gold, salt, grain, animals and other natural resources, the wine was demanded of all nations of Europe. After the political mess that was celebrated at Rome in the II century, reflected by their withdrawal from the territories were it had put its mark it gave the green light to what today we call migration of peoples, the largest population movements on a geographical territory. Attraction were those fabulous richness knew in all the Europe, culminating in the huge feast of 120 days of Traian, public festivity that turn on the appetite of those that came to our lands .
Dacians were cultivated vines long before the third century. In the II century (almost two centuries before the roman invasion), Burebista noticed the danger of such rich and tempting - and at Decebal advice – he demanded to be cleared vineyards or part of them in order to reduce wine consumption, actually being an attenuation attraction produced by wine concerning the peoples of the north, large drinking amateurs. The measure proved inapplicable and delayed..
The romans contributed substantially to the progress of viticulture, bringing extra experience, new varieties of vine and some practice knowledge of the planting, fertilization, agro technical organization. Through a careful selection from Vitis silvestris has gradually moved at Vitis vinifera, domestic vine, a common ancestor of all existing varieties grapes, found today in cultivation.
After the roman conquest, vines had expanded more, process stimulated by the new colonists that managed to satisfy the increasingly higher demands for the exaggerated consumer of wine from peninsula and for trade. At Rome and at biggest roman cities the wine was the cheapest produced, and the number of consumers increases with the demand. Immediately after the migration of peoples “barbarian” in the producing territories, wine became a luxury article.
At Drăgăşani is crystallized a famous wine center with a big fame, many being those who wanted to have vines in Dragasani Hill. The owners were those who maintained vineyard reputation and - implicitly – the wines quality produced here in a competition which, few chroniclers do no mention. The end of nineteenth century culminated in the production of quality wines, Drăgăşanii being a feared competitor in wine exhibitions in Paris, Naples and other European cities.
“PERSONALITY” OF DRAGASANI VINEYARD
Variety obtained by sexual hybridization using Cardinal x Afuz Ali white as genitors. The hybrid resulted was approved by CSIOS in 1978. The seed was obtained by the Research Institute of Hortiviticole Bucharest-Baneasa by Victoria Lepădatu by sexual hybridization. The hybrid elite chosen was sent for the test and approval at Drăgăşani stations. The test was made in 1968-1978 by the engineer George Condos. It is an early ripening variety for the production of meal grapes.
It was purchased and has been acknowledged as the most important vine-growing state, being ranked as elite variety.
The seed was obtained by Research Institute of Hortiviticole Bucharest-Baneasa by Victoria Lepădatu by sexual hybridization using Black Horns x Cardin as genitors. The hybrid elite was tested by the engineer George Condei in Drăgăşani in order to be approved. The variety was approved in 1984. Azur variety is destined for the productions of meal grapes, consumed in fresh conditions.
Apiretic hybrid of Braghină x Sultanină genitors. It was approved in 1985. Variety destined for the production of grapes for raisins, jams, compotes and for fresh consumption.
CABERNET SAUVIGNON 7
Variety obtained by clonally selection of Cabernet Sauvignon. It was approved in 1976. Destined for obtain quality red wines.
Variety obtained by Crâmpoşie free fertilization variety. It was approved in 1972. Destined for the production of grapes for white wine and for top wine. For large production of grapes per hectare (14-18 t) is a preferred variety tends to replace genitors in culture.
TĂMÂIOASĂ ROMÂNEASCĂ 104
Clonal selection of Tamaioasa Romanian variety. It was approved in 1982
Transition period that followed after the events of december 1989 were observed by an disorientated of the whole wine area. On the one hand, state-owned enterprises been in a total lack of capital tried to survive on with own resources and state subsidies until the privatization announced by the government announced. Because in the country were not too many capitalists willing to invest in an expensive area and as there were laws to allow buying some holdings by foreigners, these units were forced to abandon any investment, to sell for nothing old equipment in order to ensure a minimum of funds. Finally, unkempt vineyards have limited the potential production, were old and were overgrown with weeds. It resisted those belonging to the Research Station of Viticulture and some young vines. The vineyards restored to former owners’ possession under the Law 18/199 suffered the same fate: the absence of technical equipment for execution the works, the money needed to purchase materials necessary for the treatment and total lack of support from the state, vineyards physiological limitated. The new owners resorted to replacing holes with hybrid, change the system and destroy the system of terraces.
Lately, however, some passionate about viticulture have profiled vineyard vines activity with considerable investment. The results began to appear.
As a general rule, drăgăşănene viticulture fame and difficulties were always carried by the owners.
Romania is one of the major wine countries of the world. A global classification made based on area planted with vines and on grapes production placed it in the top ten positions.
Also, Romania is characterized by millennial tradition and a number of specific traits which make her different from other countries viticulture. So, Romanian viticulture can be found in time with tradition whose roots are lost in prehistory. This feature gives a number of advantages, such as traditions related varieties and varieties, cultural practices, etc. oenological practices, but also a number of disadvantages: difficulty in making changes in varieties wine adaptation and technologies to achieve the wines that are required in present in the world market - so a conservatory trend.
Because our country location 44-48 north latitude, not so far from the northern limit of the vine culture, Romanian viticulture can be described as the northern. This determine attention for the location of crops and their protection in winter, but also offers a far wider range of conditions for obtaining different wines.
Over 75% of the delineated areas for wines produce in our country is on the hill slopes, giving to the romanian viticulture a characteristic hilly.
In the same time romanian wines offers the possibility of a wide range of wines. For example, southern carpathian hills, thermally (Dealul Mare, Sâmburești, Vânju Mare, Orevița, Drâncea etc.) offers excellent conditions for producing high quality red wines. By contrast, transylvania vineyards (Târnave, Alba, Aiud, Lechinta) unfavorable in thermal terms doesn’t meet the conditions for obtaining red wine, instead cooler climate prevent aroma compounds from the grain leather and in that way favor the production of white wines with flavor and fruitiness quite remarkable.
Some believe that the romanian viticulture wine range that can be achieved exceeds that of the products obtained in many countries of the world and even equals the one of vineyard made in France.
In 1946, the regime of Drăgăşani vineyards was delimited by the existence of individual property titles. After nationalization (1949), the fields were processed by IAS Drăgăşani. In 2001, the vineyards and wine cellar were returned to the rightful heir. Thus, some from the wish of making revived this family tradition have renewed vineyards and wine cellar with modern technology in order to improve the performance of the winemaking process and provide customers the highest quality of Dragasani wines.
So Drăgăşani fields have revived and reinvented themselves on their historical dimensions. They continue today to reveal some of the secrets kept for hundreds of years: - thus, Drăgăşani wine gains the flavor of Romanian history which represents the ethnography and psychology those that have created. Part of Drăgăşani wine is a romanian unique wine in the world, wine that was presented at numerous prestigious international exhibitions over the last years.