Born in Maramures, Marinela Ardelean has moved in Italy over 15 years ago, but her heart still beats for Romania. This fact is proved especially by her passion for our wines and by the efforts she constantly makes to promote them abroad. At the young age of 32, she teaches at Italian Chef Academy and is one of the best known and multiple award-winning wine specialist, a genuine Ambassador of Romanian wines abroad. Last year, she launched the bilingual book “Fifty Romanian Wines Meet Fifty Dishes”, a book that won, in 2015, the second position at the Gourmand Drinks Awards world competition and a special mention from behalf of the International Organisation of Vine and Wine (OIV). At the time being, she is working on the guide “The Wine Book of Romania”, due to be launched at the beginning of next year. The book will include the results of the evaluation of over 200 top quality wines of Romania and the Republic of Moldova by an international jury who have recently gathered in Cund village, in Mures County, to taste the vineyard products of both countries.
“The passion appeared before it turned into a profession”
– You have been a finalist of Miss World 2008, you are the winner of the award “Romania’s Best Sommelier”, you are a jury member at international wine competitions and you are an adviser at the Ministry of Agriculture. What do you think all these things have in common?
– Courage, personality, professionalism, a lot of work, honesty and respect to people around me and to myself.
– How did the passion for wine turn into a career? Was it an older wish or did it just suddenly happen?
– The passion appeared before it turned into a profession. I attended various classes both in Italy and abroad, which gave to me thorough knowledge of the field of vines and wines. A few years ago, I received an offer from behalf of a well known Italian wine company, an offer I was unable to refuse and, as a result I devoted almost two years to the development of the commercial trade in the Asia – Pacific region.
– Do you have any brand new inside stories to share from the extended wine evaluation that was recently organised in Mures County?
– Many of the targets were reached, such as the acknowledgement of the evolution in the quality of Romanian wines from behalf of international experts; we identified future ambassadors among the consecrated specialists in this field. I am very grateful for the results achieved by our wines after undergoing rigorous evaluation, which confirmed my opinion on the exceptional qualities of Romanian brands.
“The evolution of consumers as far as enogastronomic education is concerned is unavoidable”
– Romanian wines are highly acclaimed at fairs, presentations and international competitions. From the point of view of an expert who actively attends such events, why do you think these things happen? Which are the advantages of products coming from our vineyards?
– We have quality wines because we have quality producers and, most of all, because we have outstanding terroir and a tradition in producing wines that we are still unable to value and capitalize properly.
– Do you think that it is possible that, in time, Romanian wines might be available in stores and menus on all continents, beside selected products, internationally appreciated?
– Certainly. I contributed in person to this trend, even if I did it at a low scale so far. I am confident that, shortly, Romanian wines will be positioned near prestigious wines all over the world because they are really great and they deserve to be acclaimed by consumers on all continents.
– One could say that Romanians have not benefited of much education, as much as wines are concerned and they scarcely do any efforts connected to enotourism and enogastronomy in our country. How do you think this situation could improve?
– The evolution of consumers as far as enogastronomic education is concerned, and, implicitly, the increase in their exigences, is unavoidable. They feel an increasing need to get closer to the identity of wine cellars and of the regions where these cellars are located. We are aware that we need a growth, fully supported and of maximum efficiency, in the infrastructure, in gastronomy, in the hotel industry and in the services few producers or hotel and catering industry operators are prepared to provide to their customers. The foundation of specialized associations, the development of training classes for the operators mentioned above, investments in the development and promotion of enotourism and enogastronomy are steps Romania has to make in order to capitalize the fabulous resources it owns.
“I am confident that, shortly, Romanian wines will be positioned near prestigious wines all over the world”
– You also have a degree in champagnes and you have won the titles of Champagne Ambassador and Dame Chevalier des Coteaux de Champagne. Why do we hear so little about the champagnes produced in Romania?
My personal opinion is that the grand companies that produced sparkling wines our country was so proud of in the past were unable to keep up with the international evolution in this field of the industry. Nonetheless, I am confident that, considering the potential of terroir and of producers making investments to Romania at this time, both national and international consumers will experience pleasant surprises shortly.
– Which is your favourite wine and how did it seduce you?
– My favourite wine is constantly updated. Today, my most beloved wine is a “Feteasca Neagra”. I have enjoyed with my mother during Christmas night.
– What are your plans after launching the guide “The Wine Book of Romania” at the beginning of next year?
– I intend to create various national and especially international partnerships destined to continue developing the needed opportunities for the acknowledgement of the quality and image of Romanian wines.