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U.S. Fox News Plugs Moldovan Wines For Their Quality -- And Politics

Russia's battles with its neighbors have reached a new front --'s wine show.

In a November 3 segment of the program "Wine With Me," host Tracy Byrnes and her guest, Master of Wine Christy Canterbury, tried a range of Moldovan wines -- from a dry white to a bold red. Both praised the taste and quality. But Byrnes added an additional reason for viewers to give them a try -- to support the country against Russian sanctions.

"Moldova basically sells their wine to Russia. That's how they make their money," Byrnes said. "And Russia has said, 'no more,' because Moldova has the audacity to want to like go and be friends with the EU...There's jobs on the line here."

Russia banned Moldova's wines between 2006 and 2007. Moscow restarted the ban in September 2013, citing quality concerns.

However, the move was widely seen as a way to pressure the former Soviet republic into not signing an association agreement with the European Union. Moldova signed and ratified the agreement anyway. The EU reduced or eliminated its tariffs on Moldovan wine in response to the Russian move.

"What I love the most is when you bring a bottle like this to someone's home, you could explain that you're supporting the country against these ridiculous Russian sanctions that are hurting the people and their jobs," Byrnes said.

Byrnes asked Canterbury what people from Moldova are called, emblematic of the notion that the country is not exactly at the top of many Americans' minds. But the wine industry may be a good bet for the country's visibility, as the U.S. became the biggest market for wine worldwide in 2013.

Secretary of State John Kerry even made time to tour a Moldovan winery in a four-hour trip to the country in December 2013.

-- Luke Johnson

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Written by RFE/RL editors and correspondents, Transmission serves up news, comment, and the odd silly dictator story. While our primary concern is with foreign policy, Transmission is also a place for the ideas -- some serious, some irreverent -- that bubble up from our bureaus. The name recognizes RFE/RL's role as a surrogate broadcaster to places without free media. You can write us at

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