Cotnari is one of the few remaining names which managed to pass through centuries without losing it’s fame. Placed in the north-west of Iasi, as
old as Moldova, or maybe older, Cotnari has its own past as thrilling as its wine. The first documented historical presentation of the Cotanri winery and surrounding area goes back in time before the XV-th century.
Cotnari is situated in the area of Cucuteni Culture and in the vicinity of Dacian vestiges from Catalina and Baiceni.
Cotnari has accompanied our history from late Neolithic till the age of Gaeto-Dacians and from there until today.
THE DISCOVERY OF COTNARI
If we could go back in time approximately 2500 years ago, we would find
a strong Thraco-Dacian stronghold on the Catalina hill, protecting the
surroundings. On the inside of the stronghold, on a surface of about
5 hectares there were the dwellings of the tribe chief and his close
ones. Downhill lived the common people, who cultivated the lands.
The discoveries from inside Catalina stronghold have brought arguments
proving that in Cotnari the culture of the vine dates back to Burebista's
time (70 bc– 44 bc).
This richness of the Dacians, represented by the Cotnari wine, brought
about envy. Burebista imposed the destruction of the vine plantations.
The vineyard and the town of Cotnari flourished like never before during
Stephen the Great's reign.
This region relished the attention of the rulers in the following period
The name "Cotnari" originates in the craft of measuring barrels.
In 1599 Cotnari (having 3500 houses) was one of the largest towns in
Moldavia, after Suceava (6000 houses) and Bacau (4000 houses).
In the beginning, most of the lands around Cotnari belonged to the community
of the local free peasants and townsmen, who maintained their supremacy
until the second half of the 16th century; the ruler also owned large
surfaces of land (one of the hills is still called The King's Hill).
Beginning with the second half of the 16th century, the Cotnari vineyards
started changing their owners at the same time with the changing of
rulers. The new rulers of Moldavia usually rewarded their partisans
with gifts, often granting them lands in the Cotnari area. This is when
the depopulation of the town begins, and in 1832 Cotnari had only about
230 houses left. In 1859 the situation of landowners was as follows: 1158 acres were
part of the aristocratic villa and only 267 acres belonged to the other
Then, Phylloxera gave Cotnari the coup de grace.
1891 was probably the most difficult year for the Cotnari vineyards. As during
Burebista's rule, the ultimate measure - cutting down the vines - was
taken to combat the disease.
The 20th century history of the Cotnari vineyard is equally troubled.
The local vines (Grasa, Feteasca, Tamaioasa, Francusa) are grafted on
American mother plants resistant to phylloxera, and thus the Cotnari
vineyard has reborn "from its ashes".
Cotnari is the only vineyard in Romania that did not alter its autochthonous
vine varieties after the invasion of phylloxera.
COTNARI - THE KINGLY WINE
In 1641, the catholic bishop Pietro DIODATO, visiting Cotnari, wrote:
"In this place there are very many vineyards. Because this land
makes the best wine in the whole country, the king and all the nobles
own vineyards here and during the vintage season almost the entire country
comes here, either for the vintage or to buy wine".
Sold at high prices abroad, in the country only the king and high nobles
had access to this wine.
When you come in contact with the Cotnari vineyard, you are surprised
by the originality and picturesque nicely shaped hills and hillocks,
covered with vineyards, true Bacchic altars.
COTNARI, this "miracle vineyard" by its geographical position,
located at the intersection of the geographical coordinates 47 25' northern
latitude and 26 25' eastern longitude, is located towards the northern
limit of the quality vineyards in Romania and even in Europe.
" By its vineyards, Romania sits beside France, Italy or Spain,
but is has enormous development possibilities, if we take into account
the fact that is not the southern limit of the vine culture, towards
the Mediterranean Sea, but the northern one, represented by Champagne,
Tokay and Cotnari, that produces the finest products", appreciated
Regarding the qualities of the Cotnari wine, the scholar Dimitrie Cantemir,
in his "Descriptio Moldaviae", wrote that "
kept for three years in the deep arched cellars, in its fourth year
(the wine) gets so strong that even the most accustomed wine drinker
can only drink three glasses without getting drunk; however, there is
no headache at the end".
The pearl of Moldavia and all of Romania, the Cotnari wine dined with
great nobles, emperors and kings, with queens and princesses, each of
them praising it in their own tongues, only with the highest compliments,
which can be epitomized by the following words: "The Cotnari wine
is scarce, as everything that is good, and good, as everything that
Well-established vineyard (vineyard meaning viticulture massive with orography, exhibition,
bioclimatic and oenology characteristics of it’s own) probably the most famous in Romania,
Cotnari produces many sorts of wine like: Feteasca Alba, Tamaioasa, Francusa, and especially
Grasa, which can be appreciated by connoisseurs. Like a real messenger of Romania,
Cotnari for more than five hundred years spreads the fame of this region all over the