"Dobrogea produces wheat, barley and vine laden with grapes, without expecting any concern from the farmer", wrote Homer, while Plato said that the Thraians « drink raw wine, both women and men, and spread it on their clothes, thinking that it is an appropriate habit and a harbinger of happiness. » Pomponius Mela, 1st century AD, a geographer from Spain, wrote that the Thracians used to artificially hasten the ripening of the grapes, covering them with dried leaves. Which means that the Thracians were not only vine growers, but they also had experience, accumulated from long observation. The linguists who write about Dobrogea say that the Getae-Dacians left words attesting to the continuity of the cultivation of Vitis Vinifera: tendril, vine, grape, must. Carbonized grape seeds, hooks, bas-reliefs and coins with the image of grapes on the reverse from the 5th-2nd centuries BC were discovered, as well as amphors possibly made in the ceramic kilns of Pârjoaia/Izvoarele, Constanţa. One thousand years of migrations, wars and invasions could not destroy the vineyards in this region, spreading over thousands of hectares and divided into three big vineyards: Sarica-Niculiței, Murfatlar and Istria-Babadag. According to MADR, the noble wine production stood at 471.9 thousand hl in 2013, which places sthe Dobrogea Hills region third countrywide.
(a) The Sarica Niculițel Vineyards
. The place where Christianity entered Romania, it is here that the Romanis settled in the 2nd century, where the tradesmen were loading ships brimming with wine and sailing them to all the corners of the known world. The vineyards from this area stretching over 1,100 hectared are organized around the Niculitel hills and the Macin Mountains, which are remains of the old Hercinian chain. In some plaes, Isaccea or Somova, the vineyards are very close to the lakes bordering the Danube. The average annual temperature is little over 10 degrees Celsius, and the annual rainfall is around 440 mm. The soils generally present a luxury texture. They are represented by chernozems, cambic chernozems, grey soils, regosoils and anthropic soils.
The vineyards at Tulcea and Somova are mainly represented by red grapes, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Grand Burgundy, Black Băbească, but also by white types, Aligoté, Italian Riesling, White Fetească. In the Niculiţel and Măcin wine-growing centers, the white wine production is prevailing, with Aligoté, Royal Fetească, Sauvignon blanc, Italian Riesling, Muscat Ottonel, Rkaţiteli, etc. All these areas yield valuable variety Merlot and Cabernet reds. The vineyard boasts Aligoté, which is said to have found its second home here
(b) The Murfatlar Vineyards
“Two thousand years of wine,” might be the translation for Murfatlar, one of the oldest, biggest and most renowned Romanain vineyards. Located between the Danube and the Black Sea, in the middle of the Dobrogea Plateau, the Murfatlar vineyard stretches on 3,000 hectares of sun-bathed land. We can thus speak of an “over-maturation” of the grapes, with the highest number of sunshine hours in the country – 2300. The climate is continental, with dry, hot summers moderate winters, early springs and late autumns, ideal for vines. The representative soils are steppe chernozem molisoils (carbonatic chernozems, typical chernozems) on loessic sub-strata, typical and lithic rendzines, regosoils and erodisoils on slopes that are strongly degraded naturally or anthropo-zoogenously. The annual rainfall does not exceed 400 mm. Murfatlar produces grapes for white, red and rose wines. The white ones are Chardonnay, Grey Pinot, Muscat Ottonel, Sauvignon, variety Riesling (Italian Riesling, Rhine Riesling), Royal Fetească, White Fetească, Romanian Tămaioasă, Crâmpoşie, Columna. Red types: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot noir, Black Feteasca, Syrah, Grand Burgundy.
(c) The Istria-Babadag Vineyards
Like the other vineyards in Dobrogea, Istria-Babadag is backed by a long history. Archaeological finds dating back to the 5th and 4th centuries BC prove the existence of the culture of vines. For instance, under the floor of a temple in Jurilovca, or in a funerary grave amphors have been found, in which wine was kept. Located in the eastern part of Dobrogea, south of the Danube Delta, the Istria-Babadag vineyard includes the Istria, Babadag and Valea Nucarilor wine-growing centers. The relief includes low formations, the Nalbant depression and the Aghighiol Plain. Nalbant appears like a tiered amphitheater, which descends from some 100 meters to the north, tu under 50 meters to the south.
The average annual temperature is little over 11 degrees Celsius, with a total of sunshine hours of 1640 per year. The annual rainfall is of 400-445 mm. The soils formed of loess belong to the chernozems, whitish soils, grey, regosoils, and anthropic soils, and those formed on clay, to the rendzines.
The types of wine-making grapes in the Babadag vineyard are white (Muscat Ottonel, Chardonnay, Sauvignon, Grey Pinot, White Fetească, Columna, Royal Fetească, Italian Riesling, Aligoté) and red: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot noir, Black Fetească, Black Băbeasca.