Vin Pelin

Distilled and fermented beverages - Romania

Vin pelin is a white, rose or red wine flavored with a mixture of herbs. It was traditionally used as medicinal wine. The dominant, bitter taste is given by the wormwood (pelin) plant (Artemisia absinthium), a ritual plant in Romanian traditional knowledge.Its preparation is similar to Greek retsina wine. A sweeter wine is preferred as base. A varying combination of other medicinal herbs is also added (gentian roots, chamomile, yarrow, clove, etc.). Some recipes include dried pieces of fruit.A key element in the preparation process is the knowledge of how to control the bitter taste. The herbal taste varies according to each producer's recipe, and can be adjusted during the infusion process, which lasts for up to five days.Its production is deeply linked to the traditional agricultural cycles, strongly associated with peasant beliefs and customs. According to traditional knowledge, the wormwood flowers must be collected at the beginning of August, during a full moon night, and the collection process is limited to to women. Vin pelin is threatened to fade out of existence due to several reasons: growing fiscal policy pressure,  the product's bitter taste, and a long, delicate preparation process.