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World's largest wine cellar and Europe's largest wine collection

Milestii Mici is a wine factory and wine collection of Moldova situated 20 km south of Chisinau near a village with a similar name. Its underground wine city in limestone is stretching for 250 km of which 120 km are currently in use. Milestii Mici cellar complex is recognized to be the largest in the world. Tunnel streets "Cabernet", "Shardonait", "Feteasca", "Sauvignon" etc. form a transport web of the wine city. One need a car to drive from one part of the winery to the other and it's not rare to see its employees traveling from one workshop to another by bicycle.

It's chilly and dark in the cellar. Being situated deep under the ground (40-85 meters deep) the temperature inside the lime galleries stay constant all year around (at 12 - 14 C and the humidity of 85 - 95%) being ideal for storage and preserving of its wines. Don't forget to take a warm jacket when you come on a tour even if it's plus 40 Centigrade outside. It's always cool and chilly underground!!!

The "Golden Collection" of Milestii Mici holds nearly 2 million bottles and was recently recognized as Europe's largest wine collection by Guinness World Records. More than 70% of the stored wines are red, 20% are white and about 10% are dessert ones. The most valuable items of this collection, worth EURO480 a bottle, were produced in 1973-74; they are now exported only to Japan. The wines stored here are made from crops of various years, beginning with 1969: "Pinot", "Traminer", "Muscat", "Riesling", "Feteasca", "Dnestrovscoie", "Milestscoie", "Codru", "Negru de Purcari", "Trandafirul Moldovei", "Auriu", "Cahor-Ciumai", and others. All these wines are made according to the old Moldavian traditions; you can fell the sunshine and the power of the earth in every drop of it.

During the tour the guide will tell you about the history of Milestii Mici and the wine industry of Moldova, its past and present, take you through the wine collection showing the rare samples and explain how to store the bottles correctly to keep its original flavour and bouquet untouched, take your through the collection of champagne and tell you the secrets of its production and finally taking you to the festive part of the winery, tasting rooms.

The tour ends with tasting of wines accompanied by snacks or a traditional Moldovan lunch. Tasting rooms are well decorated in a traditional Moldovan style. Warm color of oak tables, chairs and sculptures combined with cold stone walls of the rooms form an authentic feeling of a Moldovan wine cellar. Moldovan traditional band of "Lautari" will perform Moldovan folk songs, as well as well known international plays on violin and accordion while you are tasting red and white wines from the local collection. Your guide will be introducing each bottle of wine telling the favors that you should taste with each kind of wine. After the "theoretical" part will be let to relax and enjoy the wine, food and music!!!

There is a company shop on the territory of the wine complex and those of you who didn't get some bottles of wine as a souvenir, can purchase more bottles of favorite wine in this shop.

The most popular tours at Milestii Mici are:
„Butoias” : tasting of ordinary wines from the barrel with appetizer (dried fruits, kernel, biscuits). Duration ~ 1,50 h
„Express” : tasting of 3 types of wine (1 ordinary wines, 1 high quality wines, 1 sparkling wine) with meal (appetizer „Doina”, assortment of salami, chicken barbecue with pineaple, french fries, fruits) + 1 bottle of white ordinary wine and 1 bottle of red high quality wine as a souvenir. Duration ~ 2 h
„Classic” : tasting of 7 wines (2 high quality wines, 4 collection wines, 1 sparkling wine) with meal (appetizer „Doina”, salami assortment, pie assortment, chicken fillet, mash potatoes, fruits) + 1 bottle of white high quality wine and 1 bottle of white sparkling wine as a souvenir. 

Duration : ~ 2 h

„National” : tasting of 7 wines, (2 high quality wines, 4 collection wines, 1 sparkling wine) with meal (baked vegetables,  assortment of fresh vegetables, cheese, assortment of meat, pickles, "mamaliga"  with pork casserole, "galusi", fruits, plums with nut) + 1 bottle of stored in collection wine and 1 bottle of white sparkling wine as a souvenir. Duration: ~ 2.30 h
Our guests' tips & feedback:
"Trip to Milestii Mici was really quite stunning. Well worth the money. Only one tip to visitors like us is for them to remember that you won’t be able to carry wine in hand luggage. We had to move our bottles into our main case at the airport. Luckily they survived back to the UK intact."
"The tour we went on to Milestii Mici was both interesting and fun"
"The Milestii Mici wine tour was fantastic, an awsome place, with nice wine tasting and food afterwards. "

source: marisha.net

Chateau Vartely - the winery tradition and culture

The company  "Chateau Vartely" LTD is the the producer of premium class wine from the best European grape variety’s, grown Southern and Central regions of the country. 
"Chateau" in the contemporary l vocabulary of French wine makers means- a territory, where the owner perform the whole cycle of wine making – from the growth of the grapes, until the bottling.Only this way, consider the French, the quality of the product can be guaranteed, by producing a limited amount.
"Vartely" Accoding to the encyclopedia ("Енчиклопедия Советикэ Молдовеняскэ, 1975 year., part.5."), the name od one of the oldest towns in Moldova- Orhei,  originates from the Hungarian word "Var". "Vartely" - "town", "castle", the root of the word was brought to Moldova by the valahians that came here from the Western Carpathians.
"Chateau Vartely" –is a young but ambitious in the good meaning of the word wine making company, placed directly in the orhean region, where up to now live and become a reality the rich national traditions of cultivation and producing of the  "beverage of the Gods" - wine.
The classic European grape varieties used in the wine making determine the range:Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, Chardonnay, Traminer, Feteasca.
In the last four years the Chateau Vartely wines, have obtained a considerable amount of esteeemers all over the world. This fact is proved by the big amount of exported product to such countries such as: U.S.A., France, Germany, Belgium, Holland, Norway, Poland, Slovakia, Czech Republic, China, Romania, Ukraine, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan.
Each development occupies a considerable period of time.The Chateau Vartely company, has three strategic directions of development: great quality, special treatment towards the clients and partners, maintaining and developing the traditions.

The "Chateau Vartely" LTD, entered the market not only by offering the best of what the wine makers of the republic have been producing for ages, but also placing the bet on the quality of the natural product in the first place.
For those who come to Moldova to rest and get to know local customs and traditions, there is Resort Chateau Vartely, which is situated on the hill Orhei, which opens a panorama of the city's picturesque river valley Orhei and malice.  Chateau Vartely company will receive with hospitality each visitor in the household of wine, making  the wine tasting a real feast for those who have tried at least for a time the divine wines. Guests can be accommodated in one of the eight luxurious rooms and four VIP suites. From its windows Tourist Complex Chateau Vartely opens a magnificent panorama of the city and the beautiful valleys bathed by the morning sun.

Cricova - The Treasure of Moldova

Whether you are a local or a tourist, it is a fact that you will be impressed by the most imposing und largest underground wine cellar of the world – Cricova! So were we, a small family, willing to discover the most famous treasure of the country. The two hours car trip 60 metres underground, along the wine labyrinths and the guide’s exciting stories about the history and development of the cellar brought us the biggest satisfaction.

Cricova wine cellar, located in the central part of Moldova, in the core of Codru and the town with the same name, just 15 km north of the capital city Chisinau, has its beginning in the 15th century. The mines of Cricova have been used for hundreds of years to dig out, manually, limestone for building the city of Chisinau and its surrounding towns. After the Second World War, the academic Petru Ungureanu came with the brilliant idea and the first experiences of using the 200 km long tunnels as a wine storage. In present 65 km of the roadways are converted into a huge subterranean wine cellar with the most favourable temperature (about +10-12 °C) and ideal humidity throughout the year for the storage of millions of bottles of wine, 1.2 millions of which represent rare wine.
The underground wine city is an amazing labyrinth of subterranean streets, each of which bares the names of the variety of grapes. Would you like to have a ride on the Sauvignon, Cabernet, Aligote or Chardonnay streets? Or probably you want to make a stop on the Champagne Boulevard and learn its own three hundred years old story? Don’t hesitate to make some pictures, too! You will be impressed by the number of wooden barrels, which have the capacity of storage over 40 millions litres of wine.

Becherovka made in 1902

But the most magnificent part of Cricova’s wine city is definitely the immense gallery with its limestone caves, used to store an exceptional wine collection with old and rare wines, giving a unique value to this collection. The two most precious and unique exhibits are one of the 400 bottles of "Jerusalem of Easter" wine, produced as a single badge in 1402 as well as the "Jan Becker" liqueur, produced in the same year, containing unknown ingredients kept secret forever. More than 150 old renowned Europeans brands such as Bourgogne, Mosel, Rein, Tokay, etc., bottled in the first half on the twentieth century do not only represent the gallery’s thesaurus, but also the treasure of Moldova in general. Theoretically, you could take home a bottle of wine from this collection, but only if you would be able to pay about sixty thousands dollars for it. Well, there are also some cheaper samples, for which you could pay the half.
Even the noblest tastes can be satisfied by Cricova’s wine cellar. Do you prefer strong wine brands from Africa, central Asia, the Near East, classical Portuguese collection and rare wine of Georgia, Armenia and Crimea or noble wines of domestic production? You will find everything there! So did the ex-president of Russia Mr. Putin, who after celebrating his 50th birthday in Cricova’s wine cellar bought a notable wine collection and keeps it in the underground gallery. If you want your wine collection to be a part of the gallery, just rent a limestone cave and your name can extend the list of more than 650 names.

Yuri Gagarin would fly to moon for Cricova

Cricova is not only about a subterranean car trip it is also wine tasting and delicious dinner in the charming wine tasting halls. One of them shows on its ceiling the era when present Moldova was under sea. Be prepared to enjoy a couple of different wine varieties and make your own appreciations. At the end of the tour you will be happy to receive a cellar’s present – a few bottles of collection wines.
High officials, scientists and thousand of tourists from more than one hundred countries visit and leave Moldova’s treasure through greatest moments of satisfaction.
The astronaut Yuri Gagarin, who visited the cellar in the 60s, said to have spent two days in Cricova’s labyrinths, promised, “if the Earth will lack metals to print medals for the local wines, I will deliver it from the moon or other planets”.

Moldovan wines' export to China on rise

A significant rise in Moldovan farming goods export to China has been recorded over the past years. Wines prevail among exported products. Statements to this effect were made at a meeting between Agriculture Minister Vasile Bumacov and Chinese Deputy Agriculture Minister Chen Xiaohua, within a visit to China.

The officials said the positive trend is backed by the authorities of both sides, and is in line both with the strategy of consumption stimulation, promoted by the Chinese side, and via efforts to diversify sales markets, taken by the Moldovan side. Not only the turnovers increased, but also the confidence of the sides was enhanced, according to the Agriculture Ministry's press service.

The Chinese government backs the promotion of Moldovan quality wines on the Chinese market. To successfully carry out this process, the two states' control institutions will cooperate to ensure the quality of Moldovan wines.

Vasile Bumacov welcomed the presentation of more Moldovan-Chinese business projects, that acquire special attractiveness in the context of a quick development of Moldova's status towards the European Union, and the trade preferences of the country both with the EU and the Commonwealth of Independent States countries. Bumacov returned to Chisinau, after holding more meetings with Chinese importers of Moldovan wines and officials of the Chinese authorities in charge of checking food products' quality.

Moldovan wine appreciated in China

Moldovan wines are increasingly in demand on the Chinese market. If in 2009 the alcoholic beverages produced in Moldova, were sold in China in the amount approximately $ 380,000, while in 2010 this index reached $ 2 million 200,000, BASA – press reports.
These figures were made public at a meeting of Agriculture and Food Industry Minister, Vasile Bumacov with local wine makers and representatives of the Chinese company Beijing Kindsku Trading Company, appointed by the Ministry of Commerce of China to import wine from Moldova.
This company intends to promote Moldovan wines on the Chinese market at the Chengdu International Exhibition to be held on 12 March 2011. The delegation, which also includes an oenologist, selects now wines for the exhibition and possible import.
China’s Ambassador to Moldova, Fang Li said the consumption of Moldovan wines and cognacs in China increased in September 2010. A number of contracts were signed for the supply of alcoholic products on Chinese market. The ambassador stated that 15 containers of Moldovan wines to be transported to China for New Year’s Eve celebrated in China in the Oriental style on 3 February, BASA – press reports.

German Chancellor receives 460 bottles of collection wines from Moldovan authorities

The first visit to Moldova, which German Chancellor Angela Merkel paid on August 22, on the invitation of Moldovan Prime Minister Vladimir Filat, ended up on Wednesday night, with an excursion to the Cricova wine cellars. 

According to the Government’s press service, the high-ranking official visited the famous Moldovan wine cellars together with Prime Minister Vlad Filat. At the end of the visit, the leadership of the Cricova winery offered to the German Chancellor 460 bottles of collection wines, such as Cabernet, Codru, Traminer, Cahor, Marsala and Gratiesti. 

Yet, the bottles will be kept in the Cricova wine cellars in a special niche. At the request of the German Chancellor, the bottles will be delivered to her any time. This practice has been used by Cricova for many years, being also adopted by many famous personalities, including Russian President Vladimir Putin, who has his niche with Moldovan wines there.

After the excursion in the underground wine emporium she put down a message in the book of honored guests and then left for Germany, from the Chisinau International Airport.

source: infotag

Chateau Cojusna winery is a treasure of Moldovan wine-making

In 1908, a vineyard in one of the Moldovan villages, Cojusna, was founded. The chateau made the wines entirely on French expertise.
Cojusna wine cellar is a smaller cellar in the close proximity of Chisinau city. It is located in Straseni district. Its industrial unit is situated above the ground and its wine collection is placed underground.Cojusna wine plant was founded more than a century ago and till nowadays it is one of the top companies that creates and exports wines and strong drinks with the exposure time surpasses 20 years. The wine cellar of the village is situated in the region of Cojusna, near the Moldovan capital Chisinau, provides an endless supply of wines produced here in the fruitful district. The wine complex has two tasting halls and a room for guests.At Cojusna wine factory you may get accustomed with wine processing, and the exclusive architectural style of tasting halls invites you to appreciate the production of local wine-makers. 
The connoisseurs will discover such kinds of wines, which make resemblance with the energy and finesse of Moldovan national dance. And infamous Purcari and Chumai wines will turn wine tasting ceremony into a true festivity.At the present time, Cojusna wine factory produces more than 10 denominations of famous wines, and their characteristics remain brilliant as always. If you like a national milieu, you will find a cosy place in the Stone Hall, painted in the Moldovan national style by local craftsmen. If you favour modern luxury, then you may arrange in the European White Hall designed particularly for such visitors.The Cojusna wine collection was founded by care hands of specialists from the establishment of Cojusna winery, and still remembers the history, lives and goes on.
The famous wine collection features one million bottles of wine and cellars are more than one kilometer long.The wines "Dumbrava din Cojusna" and "Cojusna" deserve the highest appreciation of wine specialists. They are real pearl, crown of cojusna moldova's wine-makers. These wines are available to try in the tasting rooms of "The Stone Hall" and "The European White Hall", where the guests are warmly invited. The oustanding architectural style of these tasting rooms will charm and encourage guests to try the delightful wines, offered by the native wine-makers. The Stone Hall and The European White Hall's doors are always open for guests who are welcome to order light snacks, lunch and gala dinner.The winery complex features friendly and hospitable English speaking guides and can organise individual and group tours. The excursions should be booked in advance. There is no need in a car and the tour is a little inexpensive. The excursion last two-three hours.

Moldova is ranked in the Top Three Countries with the Best Wine

After Italy and France Moldova is one of the countries with the best wine. 
Moldova has a long history related to wine production, although they are less famous as the French and Italian wines, yet as qualitative and tasty. Plantation area occupies 10% of the entire country, but the yield is low even by European standards. Best climatic conditions for growing grapes in the middle reaches of the Dniester River. Winery - the main industry of the country, so here special attention to the quality of products is paid. Producers rely on centuries-old traditions. There is no system of "name of origin", but to account for the quality of wine introduced the system of "crop year" on which the bottle the year of harvest when the fruit reached the necessary maturity and the amount of sugar in them. 
The production counts a variety of drinks. It's dry, and fortified wines and sparkling wines, but the best quality and highly regarded of them are dry red Romanche and Negru de Purcari. Cellars for storing wine in an economy Purkar cut in the rock, they maintained an optimum temperature. These wines tipped a big future.

An experience of making wine from Prehistoric Period

  • Prehistoric Period
In Moldova, the wine is produced from ancient times. Spontaneous form of the vine has been known in this area since Neolithic times, is seven thousand years ago. 
Viticulture was already concern for people during tripolian period – on the shards of pottery and earthenware, produced between 2700-3000 BC, have been identified grape seed, one of them, according to specialists in the field, undoubtedly belonging to a variety worship. Processing (fermentation) grape and wine production was one of ancient activities in this area.

  • Ancient Period 
As the archaeological excavations made in Moldova, about 2,500 years ago the Greek colonists were familiar with the local population processes used by them in wine, this is one of the key branches of ancient Greek state economy. Then started on our land "industrial scale" (in reality that time) wine production for domestic consumption and trade in other commodities. 
A new impulse for further development of wine came with the flowering period of the Roman Empire, which had rule in Dacia, including those between the Dniester and Prut. Terminology that speaks about their impact, which people use to this day for everything related to wine.

  • Middle Ages 
In this historical period in Moldovian boyars was implanted a particular "cult of wine", which promoted development of wine. The Royal Court officials whose care were vineyards and wineries. It is significant that for quality wines, especially those who were served at the voivode table, vel-butler would answer with literally own head. 
In XIVcentury began wine exports to Poland and Grand Pricipality Moscow. During the Ottoman yoke (XVth - XVIIIth) deliveries have not stopped, but were extended and more takes Ukraine and Orient. Exactly at that time start history of Moldova as an exporter permanently of wine. Orthodoxy as the dominant religion has also contributed to the development of wine, because wine was used as religious rituals and daily use of temples and monasteries. Note that the quality of wine from the church had a rigorous set of requirements, formulated in "Slujebnicul" since 1699. Another noticeable fact is that the monastery "Novodevicii" in Moscow (New convent of nuns) remains till now a large partner of Purcari wines. Unfortunately, nobody knows exactly the volume of wine produced in those times, but remains undisputed that the goods were fully included in natural and commercial exchanges, bringing a solid income for the country of Moldova.

  • New and modern period 
A separate phase began with the incorporation of Bessarabia into the Russian Empire in 1812. Metropolitan aristocracy made a fashion of "the foundation of wine estates, for the selected varieties were imported from France. As a result, the industry has seen a spectacular dynamic development - Bessarabia land placing at first place in Russia to 50% of all wines produced in the Empire. If in 1837 there were 13,000 vineyard desetine and production of 1 million gallons of wine, then the next century plantations already occupied 74 000 desetine and wine production reached 15 million, which 2/3 were exported, including in France, which at that time felt an shortage due to the loss of his plantations. 
Also in that age some wine microzone started historically obtaining a prestige beyond the borders of our country. For example, high quality red wines, from Purcari, Tighina County, are widely known for three centuries. They were honored in 1878 with the gold medal at the World Exhibition in Paris. Russian imperial family purchase Purcari wines for court cellar. In XIX century began deliveries Negru de Purcarito British royal house. Romanov family eventually founded a wine company in Bessarabia , called Romanesti. Production from Romanesti conquered all of refined admirers around Europe - as sovereigns, aristocrats, politicians, as people unknown. One of the best winemakers, P.C. Cazimir, at that time brought from France and has planted on his estate near Milestii Mici cuttings of new varieties progressive. Abandoned quarries he thought to use them as storage for ready production.
Revolutions and wars have set the constant development of Moldovan wine.Just in the six decade of the last century has been done to restore the wineries, then in the seventh decade of last century remembered about careers and caves. Their galleries were consolidated, enlarged, furnished. Cricova Milestii Mici, Branesti are till now the largest underground storage of wine industry . They are whole towns with streets that extend hundreds of kilometers and spaces to keep sparkling wines, about 30,000 tons of wine varieties and 2 million bottles of collection.

The glorious moments of our wine history lasting 2000 years

The inhabitants of these lands have known the taste of good wine since the days of the Romans and probably even before them. Modern day Moldova was once an ancient Roman colony. The Romans had an immense influence on the methods of local winemaking and wine consumption traditions.

In the course of many centuries, these traditions not only endured but improved. These lands became known for their ‘terroir’ and the reputation quality wines developed.
After Basarabia was joined to Russia, a decree of the land’s authorities, issued in 1827, created the first specialized winemaking company in Purcari. As early as 1847, during an agricultural exhibition held in Basarabia, Purcari wines showed fine expression and tasters were impressed by its delicate bouquet and dense, full taste. Thus, this wine, Negru de Purcari, was awarded its first gold medal. Then in 1878 the Purcari winemakers brought their wines to the Paris World Exhibition. During the closed-doors wine tasting session, the majority of the jury gave preference to a dry, densely-colored red wine, thinking that it was a new brand from the famous Bordeaux region. They were surprised to learn that the beverage came from an unknown village called Purcari, situated on the river Nistru. Negru de Purcari thus earned the highest form of recognition on the international stage by being awarded the Gold Medal.
More recently, in 2003, these famous Purcari wines were re-established when the Vinaria Purcari Company took over management. 
The chief purpose of creating this company was to revive the production of unique, historic wine blends, such as Negru de Purcari and Rosu de Purcari. The production facility in the Purcari area was rebuilt, where the quality of the soil and the climate create ideal conditions for viticulture, with proven results. The Purcari production facility was fully revived and upgraded, and the old cellars, built as far back as 1827, were renovated. Today the cellars are among the oldest and most famous in Moldova. The Purcari estate is one of Moldova’s showcase attractions.
By April 2006, the high quality and exquisite taste of its wines brought Vinaria Purcari 27 awards won at various specialized international contests and wine tastings.

Negru de Purcari is “Queen of England’s Wine”

The wines of Purcari are steeped in tradition and history going back thousands of years. Formerly the property of the Afono-Zagraf Monastery, Purcari winery was established in 1827. In 1878 at the Paris World Exhibition the jury awarded the gold medal to a dry, densely coloured red wine which they believed to be a new brand wine from the Bordeaux region. They were surprised to learn that the wine came from an unknown village called Purcari situated on the river Nistru.
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. Locally the variety of Negru de Purcari is referred to as the “Queen of England’s Wine” as Queen Elizabeth II regularly orders the 1990 vintage.
As of April 2006, Purcari Winery has won 27 awards at specialized international contests and wine tasting for the high 
quality and exquisite taste of its wines.

King George V and Queen Elizabeth                                  Nicolay II                                                                                                        

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