Manuc Bei and the story of Hancesti
Manuc Bei was an Armenian merchant who is said to have been the richest person in the Balkans, who had properties in the entire Wallachia and a beautiful manor house in Hancesti, the center of Moldova.
His fulminatory story and ascension started in 1803, when he was appointed as a cupbearer at the court of Wallachia’s ruler, Constantin Ipsilanti (1802-1806). The position of cupbearer was a very honorable one, having a state influence; this is how he got the title of bei – prince of Moldova – as a reward for having repaired the fortresses on the Danube river and having supplied the army with wine and bread.
Manuc moved to Bessarabia and chose to build his manor house on the lands of Hancesti, which were suitable for grape-growing, the wines from Lapusna valley being among the best known. On those lands, selected grape varieties such as Merlot, Cabernet, Sauvignon, Aligote, Chardonnay, Riesling, Saperavi, and Feteasca Alba were cultivated.
Manuc Bei has managed to become a triple agent: of Turkey, Russia, and the Austrian Empire at that time, including due to the wine produced in Moldova. His big wealth was hidden in the underground labyrinths and has not been discovered so far.
The wine area of Hincești is still famous for its white wines. On the hills of this region there are beautiful vineyards and a lot of wineries.