Moldova is the least visited country in Europe and who would ever thing, that a tourist attraction, signed in Guinness book of world records, is found here. Before making the plan for our Moldova travel, we did not even have a clue about it. Not to mention their wine cellar Milestii Mici is one of a kind – driving around with your own car is surely one of a kind experience.
If you are a true expert in wine and know about it more than an average person, you have definitely heard for Milestii Mici wine cellar. If you haven’t, you are probably familiar with the fact, that Moldova was the biggest production of wine in a formal Soviet Union.
An old mine is now a wine cellar
Milestii Mici wine cellar has a unique location. To stock wine, they are using a formal mine, which has so large pits that we can even drive around them in a car. There is more than 200 kilometers of pits in Milestii Mici wine cellar, but so far only 55 kilometers are used.
The lowest point in the wine cellar lies 85 meter bellow the ground and because of that, Milestii Mici wine cellar has perfect characteristic to stock wine. It has a constant temperatures (12-14°C), which is perfect for aging and stocking wine. The mine has been transformed into a wine cellar in 1965. The Milestii Mici wine cellar has even its own source of water, which is used for cleaning the large barrows.
Red wine over white
Milestii Mici stocks about 2 million bottles and 70% of them is red wine. The second place belongs to white wine (20%) and only 10% is dessert wine. Even though the dessert wine is least produced, it is actually the most expensive one. The oldest dessert wine bottles are from 1973 and if you want to own one, you will have to prepare 2000 USD.
Million bottles per year
Milestii Mici wine cellar produces one million bottles per year. They export them all around the world. Even if you don’t stock their wine, they can still rent you a place in their wine cellar, where conditions are best to keep wine. A renting niche costs 200 USD per year.
Guided tour of Milestii Mici wine cellar
Milestii Mici offers different types of guided tours. You can decide to only see the wine cellar or to join this with a wine tasting at the end. There is differentiation also in wine tasting and all depends on the number of wines you want to try and what kind of snacks you want with it (from salty snacks to whole lunch).
The only downside of the Milestii Mici wine cellar is that you can attend a guided tour only with your private vehicle (max height 2,7m). If you did not travel to Moldova overland, your best choice is a taxi. Be aware that it has to have an extra sit for the guide. Please also note that the guided tour around Milestii Mici wine cellar has to be booked ahead (e-mail or telephone).
Simon and I are not really experts when it comes to wine, but that did not stop us from a guided tour with tasting. We booked the cheapest option, tasting 3 different table wines (red, white and dessert table wine). Normally tastings are done with pouring 1 dcl of wine in a glass, but not here in Moldova. Your table waits with large one liter jugs, all full of wine. If you cannot or don’t want to hold back you can drink everything!
Well, but if you know that tasting wine is not really drinking, be careful! Each table offers also a large wine glass, meant for pouring the left overs of the wine. The catch is that according to Moldovan tradition, the first one who pours the wine in it, has to drink everything after the tasting. I guess drinking bottoms up is wise here. 🙂
Wine tasting, guided tour and prices
- Guided tour of Milestii Mici wine cellar: 200 MDL (work days from 9am to 5pm) or 300 MDL (weekends and holidays or after 5 pm).
- Wine tasting: 310 MDL up (all prices with wine tasting include guided tour around Milestii Mici wine cellar).
- If you enjoy Milestii Mici wine, you can buy it in their shop near the entrance to the wine cellar. The prices start with very affordable rates – 26 MDL up.
- Milestii Mici wine cellar: N 46°55.99′ / E 028°49.193′