Moldova is known for its wines. For many years viticulture and winemaking in Moldova were the general occupation of the population. Evidence of this is present in historical memorials and documents, folklore, and the spoken language of Moldova, which is Romanian.
The country has a well established wine industry. It has a vineyard area of 147,000 hectares (360,000 acres), of which 102,500 ha (253,000 acres) are used for commercial production. Most of the country's wine production is made for export. Many families have their own recipes and strands of grapes that have been passed down through the generations.
Fossils of Vitis teutonica vine leaves near the north of Moldova indicate that grapes grew here approximately 6 to 25 million years ago. The size of grape seed imprints found that date back to 2800 BC, prove that at that time the grapes were already being cultivated. The grapegrowing and wine-making began 4000–5000 years ago, going through periods of rises and falls but it has survived through all the changing social and economic conditions.
Purcari Wine Region is 1 of 4 Moldovan wine regions. Stretching along the Western Dniester coast, conditions are favorable to the cultivation of red grape varieties: Chardonnay, Sauvignon blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot noir, Malbec, Rara Neagră and Saperavi, which serve as the basis for the production of aged wines.
Moldova's rich soil and temperate continental climate (with warm summers and mild winters) have made the country one of the most productive wine producing regions since ancient times, and a major supplier of wines in southeastern Europe. At the end of the 19th century the Purcari wines were supplied to the English royal court.