Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Mileştii Mici, Moldova

Mileştii Mici is a large winery that is about 18 km (~11 miles) from Chişinău.  In 2007, it was included in the Guinness Book of World Records for having the largest wine collection in the world 2 million bottles.

The only way to tour the winery is to book a tour and you must have your own car, with an extra space for the guide.  To me this makes no sense, especially if you want to sample some wine after the tour.  Maybe it's the capitalist in me but it seems that the winery is losing out on possible revenue here.  Anyway, we hired a driver to take us out to see the winery.

Mileştii Mici was founded in 1969.  The limestone passageways are 30 85 meters (98 279 feet) underground and they maintain a constant temperature of 12 ºC 14 ºC (54 ºF – 57 ºF) and a humidity of 85 95%.

This place is huge.  The passageways are over 200 km (124 miles) long but only around 120 km (75 miles) are currently used.

Around 70% of the wine produced here is red wine, with 20% white and 10%  are dessert wines.  Some of the varieties produced here include Pinot, Traminer, Muscat, Riesling, Feteasca, Dnestrovscoie, Milestscoie, Codru, Negru de Purcari, Trandafirul Moldovei, Auriu, and Cahor-Ciumai.

From 1985 1987, the winery was shut down due to Mikhail Gorbachev's "dry law" which amounted to partial prohibition in order to address the high rate of alcoholism in the Soviet Union.  But the loss of 100 billion rubles to the black market ended this policy.  Fortunately, Mileştii Mici reopened and things are back in full swing.

Moldovan wine is quite good and very inexpensive.  After the tour, we had lunch and got to sample three bottles of wine.  Yum!!

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