Wine trips and wine discovery in Moldova
A wine trip to Moldova may not be at the top of your list of upcoming holiday plans? But read on, it might be the best wine tour tip of the year. In Europe’s cheapest and unfortunately also poorest country, there is much to see and experience in a safe environment if you know what to look for and the wines are outstanding.
Moldova’s wine production is perhaps even one of the best-kept secrets of the wine world.
The wine industry accounts for 3.2% of gross domestic product and 7.5% of Moldova’s total exports and employs over 250,000 people at the impressive 140 wine companies. Moldova has the highest density of vineyards in the world – 3.8% of the country’s territory and 7% of the arable land. So there is plenty of reason for a wine trip or two.
Top wines in Moldova enjoyed in the world’s most incredible wine museum
You will find high-level wines in this ancient wine-culture country that has, for centuries, produced unknown class wines for us or rather for the Sovjet Union in the good old days, so it is definitely worth considering a wine trip to Moldova. In the old days, the focus was on selling bulk wine with little quality to an unsuspecting clientele in frontal competition with Vodka, but the terroir and the know-how were always there waiting perhaps for the brutal push when Russia stopped buying that much wine. But just look at the photo below: This takes the prize for a good or bad tasting room design. It is fantastic in its own original way.
Name dropping: Here Putin celebrated his 50th birthday, so we know with some certainty, that he appreciates Moldova wines!
Moldova and the hidden wine museum Cricova
So they know very well Moldova’s wines in Eastern Europe, even at the highest level. Putin apparently drinks Moldova wines with pleasure. Moldovian export to the Sovjet Union accounted for 95%. The said museum is literally a hidden treasure, like several others in Moldova, it is deep underground. It makes good sense: Safe storage under the right temperature and lighting conditions, and in times of war and crisis is also a good idea.
Name dropping: Here Putin celebrated his 50th birthday, so we know with some certainty that he appreciates Moldova wines!
Biggest wine collection in the world according to Guinness Book of Records
The biggest wine collection in the world with over 2.0 million bottles, recorded in the Guinness Book in 2005 belongs to Moldova.
With the name of “Golden Collection”, it is stored at over 80 meters depth, in gothic style cases, in the underground galleries of the vineyard and top producer Milestii Mici. The oldest wine in the collection dates back in 1902; thousands of bottles of fine, white and red, dry and dessert wines are added to the collection every year. The cellars secure an ideal microclimate for wine aging, keeping a constant temperature and humidity.
The world’s biggest wine collection is stretching hundreds of kilometres across underground Moldova – you need a car to get from one side to the other and staff rely on bikes to get around. Recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records, the cellar is a maze of ‘streets’ all named after various types of wine. And good news for oenophiles, the tasting halls are open for tours.
The wine cellar is 250 km long, with about 120 km currently in use.
The oldest bottles are still from 1902, if they have not been drunk lately.
Bonus info: The sparkling wines are probably the closest you get to real Champagne, made 1: 1 as in Champagne itself with excellent results.
The wines preserved in the “Golden Collection” are exported to a lot of countries such as England. Japan, China, Taiwan, Netherlands, Cyprus, Denmark, Finland, Malaysia, etc.
Best wines from Moldova
If you go to Wine-Searcher or another reputable wine portal, you will find a surprising number of wines from Moldova some reaching a price comparable to better French wine, others very affordable, all highly praised.
Bonus info Moldova on Nexflix
Jack Whitehall the actor and comic and his father Michael Whitehall visit Moldova in their series Jack Whitehall: Travels with my father, this happens in episode 3, season 2. And the bonus info is that a 3. season is on its way (in 2020).
Traveltalk Intro to traveling in Moldova