Moldova Deluxe is about sharing Moldovan wine, food and traditions with the world.

In 2010, two Moldovan friends decided to found Moldova Deluxe - a family owned and operated business that promotes the best wines from Moldova! Far from home, far from our favorite wine and food, we decided to let the world know that Moldova has: The Largest Wine Collection in The World, The largest Underground WineCellars and is a Guinness Book Record Holder. Take a sip of wine that will let you discover Moldovan wines. Cheers!

What is Moldova?

Moldova made it as the #1 off-the-beaten-path travel destination in Europe on Lonely Planet last year. Geographically centered between the east and the west, Moldova has a winemaking history of over 3000 years, so the local wine will surely be one of your greatest revelations here. Little discovered yet, Moldova is a perfect destination for nature lovers, gourmets and wine enthusiasts.

Top 5 things you should not miss when you come to Moldova

Top reasons to visit Moldova and Moldovan Wineries

Moldova made it as the #1 off-the-beaten-path travel destination in Europe on Lonely Planet last year. Surrounded by slavic language territory, Moldova and Romania are the only countries in Eastern Europe speaking a romance language. Geographically centered between the east and the west, over many years of being part of Romania, Ottoman empire, Russian Empire and the Soviet Union, Moldova now hosts some of the most hospitable people you will ever meet.

Good wine and plentiful food is the norm among the moldovans. Little discovered yet, this is a perfect destination for nature lovers, gourmets and wine enthusiasts. With a winemaking history of over 3000 years, the wine here will surely be one of your greatest discoveries. So here are the things you should not miss when you get there:

1. Largest wine collection in the entire world.

Milestii Mici is the winery in Moldova that holds not one but two Guinness World Records. In its underground cellar, you need a car to drive through the 200 km of limestone galleries that hold the 1.5 million wine bottles collection. The largest collection in the world of white, red, dry and dessert wines. The cellars offer perfect all natural conditions for preserving the wine and no additional ventilation, cooling or heating is needed. Wines are still added to the collection every year.

2. The sparkling wine pearl of Eastern Europe

Converted from a limestone mine into an underground wine emporium in the 1950s, the cellars of Cricova are the second largest in Moldova. The winery became renowned for producing large amounts of ‘Sovetskoe Shampanskoe’, a demi-sec sparkling wine, popular in the Soviet Union. Now Cricova remains famous for being one of the few in the world to still produce sparkling wines according to the Traditional Champenoise Method, as in the Champagne region of France. The pride of Cricova’s remarkable collection of wines, called the National Oenotec are the 70 silver, gold and Grand Prix awards from national and international tastings. Legend says that in 1966 the cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin entered the cellars and was only found two days later. With the underground streets named after the wines they store, who wouldn’t wanna be lost somewhere between Cabernet street and Champagne boulevard?!

3. A wine country of heritage and diversity

Moldova is part of the region with the oldest wine cultures in the world. The first vines were recorded in the area 7000 years BC. Now, 400 million liters of wine are produced in Moldova each year. Over 100 varieties grow here including unique native varieties. You will surely hear about white varieties like Feteasca Alba, Feteasca Regala and Viorica, or the red Feteasca Neagra but the 100% native variety with great success internationally is Rara Neagra, it translates Rare Black and is described as Pinot Noir-meets-Sangiovese-meets-Malbec.

Moldova is at the same latitude as Bordeaux region in France, offering perfect conditions for growing grapes. You will find here the world’s most popular grape varieties with some wineries known for making exceptional and expressive Pinot Noir, Merlot, Carmenere and Cabernet Sauvignon. Pair these wines with the delicious traditional foods like Placinte, Sarmale or Mamaliga at the winery tasting rooms or at the multitude of wine friendly dining places around the city and you will understand why moldovans dine for 3 hours.

Rich in heritage and history Moldova discloses hidden gems for all thrill seekers. Try to find the controversial Isabella wines, famous for their intense strawberry flavor and taste, once popular in the Venetian area for the Fragolina sparking red produced in Veneto. It was the most popular wine in the Soviet Union and is still produced in just a few places around the world, including Moldova.

4. Celebrate National Wine Day or join the Wine Vernissage

Almost 20% of Moldova’s population is involved in the industry of winemaking. So when it comes to celebrating wine, it is a national matter. Traditionally happening in the beginning of October, not only you have the opportunity to enjoy the autumn mesmerizing colorful display of nature in Moldova but also benefit from exclusive offers of local wineries, visit most of the lushest vineyards and taste collection but also newly released wines.

Trending now among local and foreign wine enthusiasts, Moldova’s most exciting wine event is the Wine Vernissage. Happening twice a year, here you can taste more than 200 carefully selected wines from wineries around the entire country, learn more about tasting wine at dedicated workshops and sessions with famous wine connoisseurs and sommeliers. The event takes place in one of the most elegant venues of the capital, the Palace of the Republic and the organizers invite live orchestras to delight the wine lovers. Perfect event to savor and get a little dizzy of this country’s charming wines.

5. Nature is at home here

With the lands covered in green hills and patches of deciduous forests you’ll find the drive to the wineries pittoresque. But there is even more to discover, Moldova has many unique monasteries and orthodox churches, impressive fortresses and even castles scattered around the country.

Moldova is also one of the not so many places where you can still buy genuine, organic products from local farmers. You will most certainly rediscover the taste of a tomato, cucumber, cherry, watermelon or almost any of your favorite fruits and vegetables. Numerous apple, apricot, plum, pear and peach orchards will offer you plenty of choice for a delicious vitamin boost.

You can easily reach Moldova’s capital, Chisinau, within 2-3 hours from any major European airport like London, Milan or Paris, including low cost flights or a 9-10 hour flight from USA. See you there!

The biggest wineries of Moldova are state owned, the other ones are owned by local people and since the imposed embargo from Russia in 2013 all wineries have made a great effort to produce better wines for the International taste, so the best part of visiting the country, tasting and buying Moldovan wine is that you help back the Moldovan people and they will surely be grateful for that!

Cricova

Converted from a limestone mine into an underground wine emporium in the 1950s, the cellars of Cricova are huge. Nowadays, Cricova remains famous for being one of the few wineries in the world to still produce sparkling wines according to the Traditional Champenoise Method, as in the Champagne region of France. Legend says that in 1966 the cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin entered the cellars and was only found two days later. With the underground streets named after the wines they store, who wouldn’t wanna be lost somewhere between Cabernet street and Champagne boulevard?!

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What is CRICOVA?

Having over a 60-year old experience, Cricova became renown due to a continuous innovation process. Currently, it applies the most sophisticated technologies in the field of winemaking and fosters the art of producing various types of wines, meeting the finest tastes and demands of the market. CRICOVA is the most valuable Moldovan brand, being known far beyond the country’s borders. It is the first and only company in the country which was awarded the highest state distinction, the Order of the Republic. Cricova was declared the Cultural and National Heritage of the Republic of Moldova by a Law of the Parliament of the Republic of Moldova. Currently, the “CRICOVA” dossier is being prepared to be submitted for examination to be included in the UNESCO’s World Heritage List. The pride of CRICOVA are not only its statistical indicators, its glorious history, its selected wines and unique caves. CRICOVA is firstly famous for its human capital. It is represented by a galaxy of renowned winemakers and managers. Valentin Bodiul has been managing the CRICOVA Company for almost 30 years. His contribution to the vertiginous ascent of the winery and to the evolution of the Moldovan and European winemaking process is recognized and highly appraised by the professionals in the field and by the entire society.

The caves of Cricova are indeed unique in the world. Here, the history, archaeology and the winemaking art form a unity which produces a real miracle. The caves go 100 metres down below the surface of the soil, having a total length of over 100 km of real labyrinths. Being located under the town of Cricova, they represent a genuine underground city of wine.

Following the Wine Road, that is part of the National Wine Itinerary, one will come across streets with less common names: Cabernet, Dionis, Feteasca, Aligoté, Sauvignon, etc. Every street is named after the wine stored in the adjoining niches. To avoid getting lost in these chilly labyrinths of the kingdom of wine, one will need to be guided by the Ariadne’s thread, because indeed, this is the place where present meets the Labyrinth of King Minos from the famous legend!

The wines of Cricova will be breathed life into in mid-autumn, when brought from the wonderful and sunshiny hills of the Centre and South of Moldova, the homeland of the vines. After being transported, the grapes reach the initial processing compartment, a room equipped with advanced technologies. The alcoholic fermentation lasts between two to three weeks; at this stage, the wine acquires its pleasantness: taste, aroma and colour. Subsequently, the wine goes through other technological processes, inclusively maturation in special recipients. Then, the wines are bottled and marketed. The wines displaying exceptional qualities will need additional maturation in bottles for longer periods of time and for that reason, they are considered collection wines.

The exclusive character of the company is due to continuous implementation of unique technologies, as well as hand-made tools.

In mid-winter, it would seem that the wine rests in oak barrels, however, the Company’s employees work hard, processing the grapes stored from autumn. The grape berries are removed from the cluster and are manually crashed. The fermentation on grape crusher takes place in new oak barrels specially ordered from Italy. The maturation occurs in the same barrels, after the fermentation. The final product is genuinely divine nectar.

The products made by the Company are characterised by quality and diversity. Today, definitely, one of the most remarkable products provided by “Cricova” is the classical sparkling wine.

The technological process behind the excellence of the sparkling wine made based on the Champenoise method is complex and implies the transformation of a “silent” wine into an effervescent one, going through specific technological stages, out of which, the most important being the secondary fermentation in bottle. All these lead to obtaining the special pearly and sparkling qualities, but also the exceptionally fine and expressive aroma nuances. This process is possible only if unique conditions, like those in the fascinating caves of the company, are met. Cricova also produces sparkling wines based on the Charmat method. In this case, the secondary fermentation takes place in special recipients and has a different duration.

Cricova Winery is part of a continuous development process, and implements the most sophisticated technologies for sparkling and still wines production. A complex project aiming the retechnologisation and re-equipment was launched with the support of research and engineering institutions from the Republic of Moldova and from abroad. This led to the upgrade of the whole production process, and a universal, ultra-modern line for bottling the entire range of the company’s products became functional. This line is one of the most performant in Europe.

As a singular tourist heritage, Cricova has been always open for visitors. The National Oenotheque that was established in 1954 is a jewel of the underground treasure. It hosts a remarkable wine collection displaying exceptional qualities and an extraordinary history. The collection includes the best wines that were made at various times and in different countries. The rare samples make the Oenotheque valuable and unique, since it represents the precious treasury of the company and of the Republic of Moldova. It is not by hazard that 20 thousand bottles of collection wine are not subject of sale, because of their unique value. In this case, the sentence “the homeland is not for sale” has a direct meaning. The European brands of wines made before WWII, as well as the wine collection of 11 former Soviet republics that used to grow grape vines are stored in the multitude of compartments. The wine “Ierusalim de Paști” [Easter Jerusalem] is the pearl of the precious wines collection that was produced from one single lot in 1902. The private collections of great personalities are also of great interest.

For decades, the cellars from Cricova have attracted thousands of visitors into their labyrinth, thus becoming a place of pilgrimage for wine admirers from all over the world. Another wonder of the Cricova caves is the Tasting Complex which includes five spectacular and large halls. The stained glass, tapestries, wood and stone sculptures are indeed a joy to visitors’ eyes. The underground city represents a unique complex-restaurant located in the thickness of the cliff and is to be found at the entry to the well-known Cricova caves. The restaurant in the cave is the first of its kind in the Commonwealth of Independent States. The walls and the vault have preserved the traces of old times.

Cricova is also famous for organizing two important open air events: The New Wine Fair and the Sparkling Wine Festival. The agenda of the events includes wine presentations, display of traditional food, gastronomic shows, contests, good music and a great atmosphere. These events have become great tourist attractions.

Milestii Mici

Milestii Mici is the winery in Moldova that holds not one but two Guinness World Records. In its underground cellar, you need a car to drive through the 200 km of limestone galleries that hold the 1.5 million wine bottles collection. The largest collection in the world of white, red, dry and dessert wines. The cellars offer perfect all natural conditions for preserving the wine and no additional ventilation, cooling or heating is needed. Wines are still added to the collection every year.

Read more

What is Milestii Mici?

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