The underground wine cellars at Cricova are the largest such storage facilities in the world, making them Moldova’s wine treasure. Moldova’s location between the Ukraine and Romania make it perfect for viticulture, with over 360,000 acres of land there serving as vineyards. And, more than 50 percent of these vineyards provide grapes for commercial production, contributing to the country’s rank as the seventh largest wine exporter in the world.
Since the end of World War II, Cricova’s deep mines have housed some of the country’s best vintages. Prior to this, locals excavated the caves to mine limestone, which is also a prominent feature in the architecture of many buildings in the capital city of Chisinau, and a number of surrounding towns too. The caves have an average depth ranging from 60 to 80 meters and provide the perfect levels of humidity and temperature for wine storage. Today, over two-thirds of the caves store local vintages.
Wine enthusiasts can tour the cellars, and experience the uniqueness of Cricova for themselves. The cellars are located just nine miles from Chisinau, and the suggested “drive through” tours are a wonder guests won’t soon forget in themselves. Named for popular wine types, the “streets” of Cricova bear names like Pinot Noir, Muscat, and Cabernet. Guests can enjoy dinner and partake of various vintages at the winery housed inside the mine.
Visitors can also add their names to the guest book, which has signatures from famous visitors, including the presidents of Russia, Romania, France, Poland, and China. At the end of the tour, every guest will take-home bag full of selected wines and memories of Moldova’s wine treasure.
For more information on these fabulous wine cellars, and other destinations in Moldova, visit Moldova dot org too. But for up close and personal images and authoritative review, you must see the great site Vadim Chobanu has created. For a taste of the beauty of the Moldova wine scene, watch the commercial below in Romanian from Cricova Prestige conveys the wonder of these wineries.