The biggest wine collection in the world with over 1.5 million bottles, recorded in the Guinness Book in 2005 belongs to Moldova.
With the name of “Golden Collection”, it is stored at over 80 meters depth, in gothic style cases, in the underground galleries of Milestii Mici. The oldest wine in the collection dates back in 1969; thousands of bottles of fine, white and red, dry and dessert wines are added to the collection every year. The cellars secure an ideal microclimate for wine ageing, keeping a constant temperature and humidity.
The wines preserved in the “Golden Collection” are exported to a lot of countries such as Japan, China, Taiwan, Netherlands, Cyprus, Denmark, Finland, Malaysia, etc.
With its underground limestone galleries stretching over a total length of 200 kilometers and 80 meters depth, Milestii Mici is a construction in the style of Moldova’s old feudal fortresses. These outstanding cellars cover an area of 55 km of galleries where technological production processes are carried out, and some other dozens of km where wine is maturated in barrels and bottles.
One may travel through the galleries by car, by bicycle or walk on the streets called „Feteasca”, „OIV”, observing the traffic rules.
Tasting rooms are set up here, which are cool in hot summer and warm in the cold period of the year. The three elements underlying the architectural construction are: the stone, the water and the fire, all being close to our culture.
The Milestii Mici cellars, situated 10 km away from the capital Chisinau, are visited by tens of thousands of tourists annually, representing Moldova’s signature.
Having become an emblem of the Moldovan winemaking, the underground wine city Cricova has galleries stretching on 70 km, with streets named symbolically: Dionis, Feteasca, Cabernet-Sauvignon, etc. Situated 11 km away from the capital Chisinau, the limestone undergrounds located at 35-80 m depth house 30 million liters of wine at a constant temperature of 12-14 ˚C and 97-98% humidity.
Founded in 1952, „Cricova” is the biggest Moldovan producer of sparkling wine using the traditional method; the wine ageing is done fully in the underground cellars. The „National Vinotheque” is kept at Cricova; this is an outstanding collection of legendary wines both local and foreign, which originate from the Goering’s wine collection, among which the well-known wines Moselle, Bourgogne, Bordeaux, and Porto. The oldest wine in the collection and the only one of its kind in the world is the wine „Easter Jerusalem”, produced in just one batch in 1902.
Cricova cellars are an attraction for the thousands of tourists and also for notorious personalities, politicians, opinion leaders and famous people all over the world. It was visited by Iurie Gagarin, Angela Merkel, John Kerry, etc.
Cricova has been declared a national cultural patrimony by law.
Most wineries have their own cellars, built in a traditional way. Some of these cellars carry the legends of the Wine of Moldova.
Purcari Winery– has cellars which were built at the end of the 19th century in the style of a manor house, where the temperature and humidity are constant. The Purcari vinotheque houses the best wines, the price of which start from 100$ per bottle. The oldest wine in the collection dates back in 1951. Oak barrels and bottles of wine are placed for maturation here, before getting on the market.
Branesti Cellars – located at 60 metres depth in the stony hills of the touristic complex Orheiul Vechi, the cellars cover approximately 58 km.
Chateau Cojusna - has underground galleries in medieval style, with small streets full of collection wines, particularly liquorous wines but also wines kept for ageing.
Chateau Vartely – a modern winery with a nice cellar built according to local traditions.
According to the Moldovan tradition, every householder must have a cellar where to keep the wine made by him. Being a nation with patriarchal origins, for Moldovans the house has an important value. Moldovans’ houses are composed of two basic elements: the “casa mare” – the room where guests are received, and the cellar, where food and wine is stored.
Traditionally, peasants’ cellars are dug at 5-7 meters depth under or near the house, having 10-15 stairs and the walls are whitewashed.