With a population of less than 4 million, Moldova is a small country tucked
between Romania and Ukraine, once part of the Soviet Union.
Winemaking is deeply ingrained in Moldova's culture through its history and tradition,
and it's said that 25% of the country's population is involved in winemaking.
Coincidently, Moldova's borders form the fine shape of a cluster of grapes.
It's epicentre is situated at the same latitude as Bordeaux,
offering great conditions for grape growing.
2. Moldova Winemaking Is Ancient
Moldova has one of the oldest wine cultures in the world.
There is evidence of wine production in the area as far back as 3,000 BC!
Nowadays, Moldova produces more than 400 million liters of wine each year.
3. It Has Many Native Grapes
Moldova has over 100 grape varieties and about 10% of vineyards are planted with interesting native varieties.
Some of these include Feteasca Alba (white), Feteasca Regala (white), Feteasca Neagra (red), Rara Neagra (red), and Viorica (white).
Many wineries are now championing these indigenous grapes, as they are the true heritage of the country.
A 100% native variety that has had great success internationally is Purcari Rara Neagra.
It's been described as Pinot Noir-meets-Sangiovese-meets-Malbec!
4. Moldova Is Home to the World's Largest Cellar and Wine Collection
Moldova and the Milestii Mici Winery hold not one but two Guinness World Records.
With its underground limestone galleries stretching over a total length of 200 kilometers,
Milestii Mici is the ultimate playground for wine lovers.
Furthermore, 1.5 million wine bottles are stored here at a depth of 80 meters,
carrying the name "Golden Collection," with bottles of white red, dry and dessert wine added to the collection every year.
The cellars secure an ideal microclimate for wine ageing, keeping a constant temperature and humidity.
5. It's Sparkling
Under Soviet rule, Moldova produced large amounts of 'Sovetskoye Shampanskoye,' a demi-sec sparkling wine.
Nowadays, Cricova, the second largest cellar in Moldova, remains famous
for production of sparkling wines according to the traditional Champenoise method.
Since Russia banned all Moldovan wine imports in 2013 due to political reasons,
Moldovan sparkling wines have improved, and the Brut is more popular with local and foreign consumers.
6. Moldova Has British Royal Ties
Queen Elizabeth II drinks Moldovan wine and if it's good enough for royalty, it's good enough for you, too.
Yes, the Queen of England has repeatedly bought Purcari's Negru de Purcari from the 1990 collection of vintage.
All we can say is that she should also try some of the more recent vintages. Her Majesty would not be disappointed!
Other wine connoisseurs and wine lovers have also appreciated wines from Moldova.
Renowned wine critic Jancis Robinson said,
"There is a fresh purity of fruit here that is aching to find its way to the world's wine drinkers."
7. Moldovan Food Is Delicious
We talked about the wine, but I do not want to forget the food!
Moldovan food is delicious, authentic and pairs perfectly with wine.
From placinte -- a thin filo pastry filled with soft cheese or sour cherries -- to grilled meat marinated
and cooked to perfection, there is a lot to experience.
Once tasted, it's impossible to forget mamaliga, a dish made of polenta flour, sun-shaped, prepared
and served with cheese, cream and garlic sauce.
Moldovan people are very hospitable, and if you are coming for a meal,
expect to be seated for at least 3 hours with dozens of colourful dishes coming your way!