In Republic of Moldova, a country that is not known by many, where I was born, conceals the largest wine cellar in the world located in Milestii Mici. Even though for the past 15 years I have been living in Italy, there is something in that land, in those people, in those fields and in those hills, that I want to tell you.
Moldova it is a great wine-growing land, thanks to temperate climate, where the production date goes back to 3000 a.C., when Greek traders for the first time introduced into the country.
Throughout the centuries, viticulture grew up to the point where it became the pillar of the economy and in the XIX century, when the Russian Tsar occupied the country, actively marketed the industry, importing different varieties of grapes from France. After the second world war, Soviet Union, progressively modernizing the wine industry that made Moldova the leading wine producer. Not by chance and the only country on the world map, that is the shape of a grape. We are convinced as long as there is wine there is hope.
Located at almost 18 km from the capital city Chisinau, with other 200km of underground limestone tunnels to be run by car, 55km of which are used as a cellar and 2 million bottles, it gained the title of the biggest wine-cellar with the largest wine collection in the world. You will not have the slightest headache if you decide to taste the many other quality wines. It is a true city built at 30/85 meters deep, where ideal conditions for wine aging are: temperature is constantly maintained around 12 to 14 degrees and humidity oscillates between 85% and 95%.
It was built in 1968 and until now every bottle of wine from the wine cellar comes registered with the an identity card that indicates the name of the wine, number, the year of harvest and the beginning of aging period. There is no surprise that these wines won over even the Queen Elizabeth of United Kingdom, one of the most famous VIP clients.
Considered the biggest wine cellar in South-Eastern Europe, around eight hundred meters under Cricova, 11km from Chisinau, stretches 120km of labyrinth of galleries, 60km of which are currently used to conserve the wine. Contains more 350 millions of litres of wine apart from Angela Merkel and Vladimir Putin private wine collections. it is very similar to a city, where the streets take the names of the wines: Pinot, Feteasca and Cabernet however it is still very easy to get lost.
Many European wine producers have deposited some of their best bottles of wine in the cellar, including the oldest of 1902 coming from Jerusalem worth more than 100.000 euro.
Surrounded by breath taking landscape, around 120km from the capital city, the wine cellar is part of French-style tourist complex, founded in 1827, that offers a four-star stay. Here you can discover all the stages of wine production, transformation and storage. In the underground gallery you can admire the private collection of the Queen Elizabeth from 1987 and participate in the tasting of precious wines. Besides the Purcari Restaurant, with many local and French specialities, the complex has a lake where you can do recreational activities including boat trips and fishing trails, also playground for the youngest.
Chateu Vartely it is a modern tourist complex with a cellar, located on a limestone hill just 45km from Chisinau. It is a union of history, culture and bubbly tradition where tasting turns into a real feast for those who seek to penetrate the mysteries of this divine drink.
The Prince Albert II Of Monaco, on official visit to Republic of Moldova was pleasantly surprised with the Degustation of wines at Chateau Vartely, where he was given a bottle of Tangerine Cabernet Sauvignon from 2014 with the arms of principality.
Ideal for wedding and ceremonies, where the wines, remind the dynamism and sophistication of Moldovan popular dance.
There is no house in country side in Moldova that does not have its own basement, and there is no peasant who does not have at least a thousand litres of homemade wine.
The amount of wine that my grandfather produced every year could have been enough for 4 Moldavian weddings that last 3 days.