A Romanian castle on top of a small hill

Off the beaten track

If you were asked which countries produced quality wine no doubt you would say at least a handful of these countries… France, Spain, Portugal, Italy, America, Argentina, Chile, Australia, or New Zealand just to name a few. All very well-known wine producing countries that many of us will have tried wine from.

But what about off the beaten track? Those lesser-known wine producing countries that are producing some stunning wines at very reasonable prices. Germany, Romania, Lebanon and Sicily are just some of the off the beaten track countries that we stock wine from. With a bit of luck and a lot more tasting we can hopefully add to this list of countries that have some brilliant wines.


The home of Transylvania and Bram Stoker’s character, Dracula, the Transylvanian Count who had a penchant for sucking blood. Vlad Tepes or as we know him as Vlad the Impaler the ruthless ruler of Wallachia who was named for his preferred form of torture and once ordered 20,000 defeated Ottomans to be impaled on wooden stakes outside the city of Târgoviște. It may be known for its darker ages in history and its fictional characters but the wine making tradition in Romania is a long and noble one. The first records of viticulture in the Banat region date back to the Roman invasion of Dacia in the First Century AD, but legend tells of Bacchaus, the God of Wine, spending his childhood there. More recent history shows that the vineyards used for Umbrele were already renowned by 1447, when the lord of Severin Mihall de Ciorna purchased the vineyards for 32 Hungarian gold florins. Despite how long viticulture has been present in Romania due to the lack of money, expertise and resources the wine has struggled with popularity. Remarkably Romania has been producing wine for the same amount of time as France and is among the top 10 countries in the world with regard to area under vine and wine production.

Regardless, Englishman Philip Cox and his wife have replanted some of the vines in the 700 hectare Cramele Recas vineyard on the rolling hills in Viile Timisului, along with a new winery and a 20 million euro investment has enabled the vineyard to produce a variety of superb, well priced Calusari wines. Calusari named after a secret Romanian fraternal sect whose dance is said to look like they are flying through theair. They were also said to be able to cure the victims of fairies but that, I suspect has more to do with the Romanians love of wine! Not only do we have Romanian Calusari wines in stock we also have Umbrele Wine also from ViileTimisului, Romania when the lord of Severin Mihall de Ciorna purchased the vineyards for 32 Hungarian gold florins in 1447 with the large investment it has allowed for the Cramele Recas vineyard to produce beautifully fresh and fruity wines at very reasonable prices.