Could Moldova Be Your Next Wine Destination?

Moldova is a small country, sandwiched between Romania the Ukraine. Map courtesy of maps-russia.com

Moldova – Ready for Exploration
Are you an adventurous wine traveler, looking to be one of the first visitors into a region? Then you should add Moldova to your list of destinations! Interesting history, culture and of course, wine; much to discover and explore.

Disclosure: I participated in a sponsored press trip to Moldova in August 2019, no other compensation was involved. All opinions expressed are mine.

Map of Moldova showing wine regions and major wineries. Map courtesy of Wine of Moldova at: http://wineofmoldova.com/en/

Where is Moldova and Why Should I be Interested?
Moldova is a small country with a population of 3.5 Million people. Moldova has one of the highest density of vineyards as a percentage of total land of any country in the world. They have a long history of producing wine and were well known in prior centuries in the courts of both Russia and England. During the Soviet era, Moldova became a part of the Soviet Union and all privately owned land and companies were taken over by the state. Production was shifted to serve the workers, so quantity was emphasized and quality was not a major consideration. With the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991, Moldova’s vineyards and wineries were returned to private ownership, but it was a long, difficult road back to prosperity.

Today, Moldova’s wines have returned to earn a place in the international wine scene. In 2013, Moldova’s National Office of Wine and Vine and the partner wineries took on the challenge of establishing European approved protected geographical indications (PGI) labeling for the three major wine regions. Now there are plenty of IGT labeled wines available with efforts now to establish Designated Origin (DO) labeling as approved by European authorities.

Chișinău is the Capital and largest city in Moldova and makes a great central base for exploring.

(click on any photo below to start a slide show, hit escape to return to the post)

Moldova Wineries – Modern and Ready to Welcome you
During our week we visited several of the larger wineries, a smaller winery and two wine bars. Chișinău is centrally located to the three wine regions, so it made perfect sense to make it our home base. The wineries we visited were all quite modern with state of the art equipment. The wines were clean and generally international in style, that is to say relatively ripe and fruit forward. This suits Moldova’s current major customers well. I was encouraged to find out there is a growing group of small producers with a variety of styles.

Wines of Moldova – Familiar and Undiscovered
The large majority of grapes planted today are international varieties such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc. Unfortunately, the native grapes in the region were outlawed during the Soviet era. Winegrowers secretly kept some vines in their private plots. Today, winegrowers see the native varieties as an important way to distinguish Moldovan wines on the international stage, so they are working at increasing the acreage of the local grapes.  Look for Feteasca Alba, Feteasca Regala, and Viorica (a new grape) for whites, Feteasca Neagra and Rara Neagra for red. These grapes are the future of Moldovan wines.

Where to Stay?
As our group was visiting all the wine regions, we stayed in Chișinău due to its’ central location. The City Hotel was very nice and conveniently located on a pedestrian street. The wineries in Moldova are working very diligently to create opportunities for luxury wine tourism out by the vineyards. Three wineries we visited have new lodging on site for guests which ranges from artfully executed traditional style to modern luxe accomodations. Worth trying and they seemed an excellent value for the offerings.

Where to Eat?
As a large European city, Chișinău has a wide variety of cuisines represented. We enjoyed both modern and traditional dishes from casual to elegant while visiting. The winery restaurants were an integral part of their developing wine tourism business.

Links to Resources, Enotourism, Lodging and Wineries
Wine of Moldova has created an extensive  Enoturism guide . This guide should be your first acquisition in researching a visit. You’ll find information on the region, a listing of all the tourism events in a year, and listings for many individual participating wineries with details on visits and links to their websites. There’s also an area on general tourism with historic and natural sites to visit as well as accomodations.  There’s even a listing of wine bars in Chișinău.

Just in case you’re available, you might want to jump into the National Wine Day in Chișinău, coming up on Oct. 5-6, 2019! This is a huge festival with virtually all the wineries coming to Chișinău for a weekend of events and tastings.

If you’d like to dive deep into the wines of the region,  Caroline Gilby, MW has written an excellent book on The Wines of Bulgaria, Romania and Moldova. She has been involved with the region for many years and provides both history and all the details you might want to know as a wine enthusiast.

My Memorable Experiences
There is so much to discover in Moldova and I’m sure you’ll find your favorites. These were some of my highlights on the trip:

  • The City Park Hotel in Chisinau. Comfortable, modern, situated on a pedestrian street. An excellent hub for exploration
  • Castel Mimi winery has a fascinating history especially during the Soviet era and afterwards. Elegant bungalows available complete with beautiful swimming pool and soon-to-open spa.
  • Château Purcari winery is the largest winery in Moldova today and is the winery you’re most likely to be able to procure currently in your home country. Modern facilities with cool rooftops cottages and elegant dining.
  • Asconi Winery – a family business founded in 1994. The wines are modern, the decor and lodging are delightfully traditional.
  • Atu winery – a new urban winery, representing a view forward in Moldovan wines
  • Equinox winery – we didn’t visit this small winery, but I was so impressed with their wines when we had the opportunity to taste. I will definitely schedule a visit here on a future trip!
  • Wine.MD has two locations, one being a shop and another (where we visited) being a comfortable wine bar with delicious food. Much more than your typical wine bar!
  • Vinoteca Invino wine bar has a wide variety of wines and sommelier trained staff to guide you through tasting.
  • Roata Vremii is a traditional restaurant housed in a traditional home with multiple areas arranged as a museum to historic village life in Moldova. Charming!

Wine of Moldova Enoturism Guide

Dr. Georghe Arpentin welcomed us to Moldova and his team welcomes you!

 

 

 

Comments
3 Responses to “Could Moldova Be Your Next Wine Destination?”
  1. What a great wine adventure! I enjoyed your photos as much as the info on the wine, which I’m very eager to learn more about. Thanks for sharing your story.

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  1. […] should a tiny country in Europe’s Eastern Bloc be your next wine destination? Foodwineclick has the skinny on Moldova’s wine […]



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