Moldova – The grape country / Facts

There is no surprise that Moldovan wine is one of the best wines in the world. If you will open the map and check Moldova, you will see that the entire country has the shape of a grape. Sandwiched between Romania and Ukraine, the Republic of Moldova will always be a good choice for wine. It doesn’t matter if you prefer dry or sweet one, we have a wide range of wines and you will certainly find a favorite one.

With a production of around 124,200 tons of wine, Moldova has a well-established wine industry. It has a vineyard area of 148,500 hectares. Many families have their own wine recipes that have been passed down through the generations. So, if you will visit a Moldovan house, please, expect not to get out without tasting at least one glass of wine from the owner. The refusal will usually be taken as an insult for the host.

Winemaking is deeply entrenched in Moldova’s culture through its history, tradition and economy. The history of Wine of Moldova starts in 3000 BC, while the first vines were recorded here 7000 years BC. Wine used to be utilized as a medium of exchange and a trophy awarded after fights, which has made the wine a national product of Moldova. Once a large supplier of wine to the Soviet Union, Moldova reinvented its wine culture once it gained independence. In 2014, Moldova was the twentieth largest wine producing country in the world. Most of the country’s commercial wine production is for export. 67 Million bottles of wine are exported annually, to places such as Poland, Russia and United States.

And did you know that according to the Guinness Book, the biggest wine collection in the world with over 1.5 million bottles 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 Milestii Mici. The oldest wine in the collection dates back in 1969; thousands of bottles of fine, white and red, dry and dessert wines are added to the collection every year. The cellars secure an ideal micro-climate for wine ageing, keeping a constant temperature and humidity. The wines preserved in the “Golden Collection” are exported to a lot of countries such as Japan, China, Taiwan, Netherlands, Cyprus, Denmark, Finland, Malaysia, etc.

Besides Mileștii Mici, Moldova can be proud of the underground galleries from Purcari, Mimi Castle, etc. And let’s not forget about Cricova, that is almost un underground city. Having become an emblem of the Moldovan winemaking, the underground wine city Cricova has galleries stretching on 70 km, with streets named symbolically: Dionis, Feteasca, Cabernet-Sauvignon, etc. So, in order to visit it all, you will need a car, for sure. Cricova cellars are an attraction for the thousands of tourists and also for notorious personalities, politicians, opinion leaders and famous people all over the world. It was visited by Iurie Gagarin, Angela Merkel, John Kerry, etc. Also, when an official delegation is visiting Moldova, the authorities usually organize visits and wine tasting at Cricova.

And here is another interesting fact! The Queen of England, Elisabeth II,  is regularly buying Purcari’s „Negru de Purcari” from the 1990 collection of vintage. All we can say is that she should also try some of the more recent vintages. Her majesty will not be disappointed!

Moreover, Purcari wines have enjoyed a royal following throughout the years and were ordered to the tables of historic figures such as the Russian Emperor Nikolay II, King George V and Queen Victoria.

If you plan to visit Moldova and its wine collections, make sure you download Moldova Wine Route, the application especially designed to guide your tour and bring you to the right places.

And here is the cherry on the cake! Every year the citizens and tourists are gathering in Chisinau, the capital, to celebrate the Festival of Wine. The Moldova wine festival, officially named “National Wine Day”, takes place in Chisinau during the first weekend in October at the end of the grape harvest. The festival celebrates Moldova’s rich winemaking traditions, which date back to the 15th century. During the festival, Moldovan wineries proudly display their wines in individual stands, often richly decorated in national style. While wine is the main attraction, dozens of local restaurants and cafes offer traditional foods: grilled meats, placinta, other national dishes, fruits, and desserts. 

So, dear Macedonian friends, if you come to Moldova, you don’t need to bring your own wine. But, make sure you take some Macedonian RAKIJA.

Prepared by Raisa Tofan