Located relatively in the middle-northern part of Romania with a hilly and terraced relief, at an altitude between 400-600 meters, the Transylvanian Plateau is favorable to the culture of noble vines, in general. The local types are mostly white, internationally known, and the bubbly wines of the region have made a great “career.” Sheltered to a certain extent from the mountain belt, the vineyards of the Transylvanian Plateau develop in a moderate, temperate-continental climate. The long and sunny autumns allow for the accumulation of large quantities of sugars in the grapes, the relative humidity of the air ranges between 60-80%, which is optimum for wine growing. The dominant type of soil is brown, and we meet regosols on the sharp slopes and the isolated crags. On the marls, where the underground water level is 3-5 meters deep, dark grassland soils, with a clayish-argillaceous texture and a high humus content, have formed. In general, the soils are poor in nitrogen (9-29 ppm) and mobile phosphorus (8-24 ppm), with an average content of mobile potassium (120-237 ppm). The best for the culture of vines are the brown eumezobasic, brown argillaceous-illuvial and livian soils, due to the average texture, the moderate acidity and the humic content.
The region has five vineyards (Târnave, Alba, Sebeș Apold, Aiud and Lechința) and 17 wine growing centres. The production is mainly centered on white wines, aromatic wines and those used as a raw material for the bubbly wones. Of the types of grapes, let us mention the domestic Fetească Regală and Fetească Albă și and the international Muscat Ottonel, Italian Riesling, Grey Pinot, Rose Traminer and Neuburger. In 2013, the region produced, according to MADR, 194.2 thousand hl of wine of noble vines, thus placing fourth nationwide.
(a) The Târnave Vineyards
Transylvania’s largest, concentrated the plantations cultuvated between the rivers Târnava Mare and Târnava Mică, stretching over nearly one thousand hectares. The vineyards in the region have been attested in documents lo g time ago (around 1200 AD), so that a research complex has been created here, inclusively producing wine growing seedlings coming from the types newly created in their won research labs.
The average value of the annual temperature of the air is of 9 decgrre C, and the relative humidity ranges between 60% and 80 %. The Târnave Vineyard boast a variety of types and sub-types of soil: eumezobasic brown, argillo-illuvial brown, carbonatic regosol, coluvisol and anthropic /modified soils.
The Târnave Vineyard includes several major wine growing centers - Mediaş, Jidvei, Târnăveni, Micăsasa, Daneş, Valea Lungă, Adămuş or Cetatea de Baltă. As a matter of fact, Romania;s first industrial wine cellar was created at Bălcaciu in 1958, a village close to Jidvei. Târnave produces several types of wine, such as:: Fetească regală, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Muscat Ottonel, Chardonnay, Grey Pinot, Traminer.
(b) The Alba Vineyards
dates back to the Roman period, with stone objects discovered in the region, such as grape presses, tables or other objects carved with grape-shaped ornaments. Over time, wine production is mentioned in various local documents or decisions, The wines of the alba vineyear, also dubbed the Wine Land, include Italian Riesling, Fetească albă, Furmint, Sauvignon Blanc, Traminer or Grey Pinot.
The average air temperature of the Alba vineyard is of 9,5°C. Average rainfall is of 550 mm/year, mostly in May-August and with a prolonged minimum in the autumn-winter, when there is mostly snowfall, with a snow later lasting for 30-50 days. The relative air humidity is between 60-80%. The Alba Vineyard boasts a variety of types and subtypes of soil: brown eumezobasic, argillo-illuvial brown, associated, on the top and the mild sloped of the hills, with chernozem, on the bridges of the middle and lower terraces, or regosols on the left bank of the Mures.
(c) The Sebes-Apold Vineyards
stretches from the south of the Alba county to the Sibiu county and is characterized by grape types which lend strength and acidity to the wines.
The average air temperature in the Sebes winegrowing center is of 9.3°C, 0.3°C higher than that registered at the level of the Tarnave vineyard. Rainfall averages 550-600 mm/year (550 mm on the Mures Corridor, 569 mm at Sebes, 600-650 mm on the hilltops and in the Apold Depression), peaking in May-Augus and with a prolonged low from September through the winter, when snowfall prevails (30-60 days). The relative air humidity ranges between 60-80%. The prevailing types of soil are brown and podzolitic brown, and pseido-rendzines, with the following characteristics: humus content 2.5 – 4.5%, pH = 6.3-6.9, high bases saturation degree (V= 70-90%).
The types of wine produced at Sebes Apold are: Traminer Rose, Pinot Gris, Muscat Ottonel, Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Neuburger, Rhine Riesling, Italian Riesling, Fetească Regală, Fetească Albă.
(d) The Aiud Vineyards
located north of the Alba Vineyard, also dates back to the Dacian-Roman period, and the types here are characterized by a certain roughness. A major winegrowing center was created in Cimbrud, with a nursery, which delivers grafted cuttings or seedlins to other areas.
The rainfall characteristic to this area average 550 mm/year at the bottom of the Turda Depression (538.7 mm at Câmpia Turzii, 552 mm at Turda) and 600-700 mm in the Mures Corridor (615 at Aiud), peaking in May-August and with a prolonged autumn-winter low, when snowfall prevails (25-30 days), and the snow layer lasts for 35-50 days. The relative air humidity ranged between 60-80%.
The Aiud Vineyard presents two classes of soils: argilluvisols and more or less layered chernozem molisols. The former prevail in the hilly level of the deciduous forests, on one side and the other of the Mures Corridor and are represented by various types of brown soils. Most of these soild layered by areas evince physical and biochemical properties fit for winegrowing requirements, especially through texture (predominantly middle), humous content (2,5-4%), weak acid reaction (pH=6.3-6.8), basic saturation degree (V=70-85%) and elements of sheer nutritional necessity.
What differentiates the wines here from the other vineyards is a certain roughness, although the types are the same: White Feteasca, Italian Riesling, Savignon blanc, Muscat Ottonel, Traminer, Grey Pinot, Neuburger, and the edible types are early ones: Csaba Pearl, Chasselas doré and Muscat Hamburg.
(e) The Lechința Vineyards
the northenmost in the area of the Trandylvanian Plateau, is known since the 12th-13th centuries, when the Saxons settled in the Bistrita area. It seems that the wine produced here became one of the favourites of the Austrian Imperial house, hence the local reputation of “emperors’ wine.”
The average annual temperature of the air in the Lechinta vineyars is of only 8 degrees C, lower by one degree than that registered at the level of the Tarnave vineyard. Dyring the period of maturation of the grapes, the average day temparatured vary around 23 degrees C, and the night temperatures average 12 degrees C. The rainfalls average 650-700 mm/year i nthe valleys (715 at Beclean, 680 at Bistriţa, 655 at Reghin, 647 at Chiochiş, 640 at Lechinţa, 635 at Teaca) and around 800 mm on the hilltops, peaking in May-August and with a low during the winter / when showfall prevails (30-40 days), with the snow layer lasting for 60-70 ddays. The relative air humodity ranges between 60-80%.
The wine production is split, in decreasing order, as follows: Grey Pinot, Muscat Ottonel, Sauvignon, Italian Riesling, Neuburger, Royal Fetească, White Fetească, Traminer and Chardonnay.