Wine is what makes Moldova really special and what unites the people. We have our way of growing grapes, making wine and maturating it in the wine cellars. The main secret is the sun we have, very fertile soil and the most important our feeling and love for this product. Winemaking is our basic occupation, our lifestyle and the way of living.
Millions of years ago, there was a Sarmatic Sea where Moldova is currently placed. Instead, we received a Wine Sea full of different tastes, aromas and bouquets. The wine you may taste today is a result of hard work and knowledge, that was accumulated for hundreds of years. Thus, many generations of winemakers crafted our wine through centuries, and today we have the wineries that gained the world recognition. Our winemaking tradition is very strong. Today, we have the highest percentage of land dedicated to vineyards.
Moldova is not only shaped like a bunch of grapes but is also endued with all necessary conditions to get the heavy grape harvest. Moldova has a fragmented relief, some parts of the country are with low hills while others are with sunny plateaus and plains, that are very windy. Thus different nature and weather conditions influence the grapes varieties is different zones. In order to underline the potential of every region and prove the recognition of the high-grade national product, there was implemented a Protected Geographical Indication.
Thus, there are three regions destined for wine production as PGI: “Codru”, ”Stefav Voda” and ”Vadul lui Trajan”. In the Vadul lui Trojan region predominates the red varieties of grapes. This region is covered with 61% of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Noir and Saperavi grape sorts. Stefan Voda region has a bit less sun, thus the white sorts of grapes make out 42% and red ones 58%. The coldest region is considered to be the central zone of the country, Codru, whose vineyard terroir is mostly suited for the production of white wine (63%). The most common white varieties here are Rkatsiteli, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay and Aligote.
Can you imagine that in small Moldova with the population of only 3,5 million, we have 112,000 hectares of vineyards, out of which 86,000 hectares are in PGI region? It may sound unbelievable, but we grow 50 different grape varieties. Thus, we get more wines per person than in any other country in the world.
It might seem quite surprising, but the viticulture in our country follows the international directions in regards to the grape varieties. Many of sorts are European ones - 73 %. The rest is split between the Caucasian and local grapes, 17% and 10% respectively. The domestic variety of grapes occupies only 10% of vineyards. It is our unique product, that is common only for our country and became famous beyond the country borders (Poland, France, China, Russia). The typical indigenous grape varieties are Rara Neagra, Feteasca Alba, Viorica, Feteasca Regala, Feteasca Neagra, Plavai These sorts have been cultivated for centuries in our region. Some of them are more than 2000 years old. That is not surprising since the history of our wine starts in 3000 BC.
Constantin Mimi, the last governor of Basrabia, was also a winemaker. He studied viticulture in France. Thanks to him, Moldova got so many European grape varieties. In 1901, he built Castel Mimi, in honour of which it got the name. It was established as a modern winery in a small place called Bulboaca, where he was cultivating different grape varieties like Cabernet, Traminer, Pinot Gri and Aligote. In 1998, the Mimi winery was privatized, but with high respect to the founder, the production was implemented in accordance with the quality requirements developed by Constantin Mimi. Today, Chateau Mimi is a multifunctional complex that includes a hotel, Museum and Castel. It is definitely a place to see. It has fantastic surrounding after the renovation, nice vineyard, amazing gardens and wine cellars.
Let me take you by surprise with some interesting facts and fantastic numbers. In 2016, our grape harvest was 615,7 thousands of tons, out of which 529 thousand are technical sorts.
97 wineries (out of 217) reprocessed around 220 thousands of tons, which actually means that 309 thousands of tons of grapes belong to home-made wines. Can you imagine how well the home-made winemaking is developed in our country when people at house-cellars produce more wine than the largest wineries do? It may sound strange or even dramatic, but about 85% of our population does not buy the wine from the local producers. People have enough of this divine drink at home and are sure that the best wine is placed in their own cellars.
Did you know that the Moldavian government excluded the wine from the list of alcohol drinks? As a tourist, you can buy the wine at any time in any shop, with no restrictions.
Moldova became the biggest wine-producer under the USSR. So, every second bottle of wine that was purchased in the USSR was produced in our country. Today, we export to more than 30 courtiers all over the world, and every year about 67 million of bottles are sold.
If you still cannot understand how such a small country may fit in all these wonders? Come and see it by yourself. Moldova is definitely a country with genuinely immense potential, and winemaking is what makes it so special and unique.
Cover Picture © Credits to muri30
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