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Sep 13, 2007 14:35 EEST
September 13 (SeeNews) - Moldova's production of bottled still wine for the first seven months of 2007 fell more than three times on the year to 2.1 million decalitres, a government official said on Thursday, with Russian restrictions still hitting the industry hard.
Moldova used to export around 90% of its wine and spirits output to Russia, but a Russian ban on imports devastated the Moldovan industry. Although the ban has been lifted Moldovan wine is not yet flowing through to the Russian market.
Sparkling wine production through July rose by 23% on the year to 3.2 million bottles, Iurii Mudrea, a spokesman for the government agency in charge of grape and wine production, Moldova-Vin, told SeeNews.
The output of divin, a type of brandy, fell to 170,700 decalitres from 392,500 decalitres in January-July last year.
Production of brandy and other spirits for the first seven months fell by 9.6% on the year to 721,600 decalitres.
Russia banned Moldovan wine imports in March last year and lifted the ban in November. The Russian consumer rights watchdog said that Moldovan wines failed to meet standards and were dangerous to the health of Russian citizens, but Moldovan authorities rejected the charges as "groundless" and "politically motivated".
Even though the ban was lifted, Moldovan wine has not reached the Russian market because the Russian authorities are still checking its quality.
Wine production is a key industry for mainly agricultural Moldova and the Russian restrictions have led to a halt of operations at most Moldovan wineries.
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