Saturday, 30 July 2016

A 120km-long wine cellar

You need wheels to get around Moldova's vast wine cellars

Back in the glory days of the Soviet Union every second bottle of wine drunk in the USSR was made in Moldova. The Moldovan wine industry was hard hit by the break-up of the Soviet Union but wine-making is still a big industry. I took a tour of the cellars at Cricova Winery, just outside the capital, Chisinau, which are so vast you need an electric buggy to get around. If you add all the tunnels together the wine cellar stretches 120km, though "only" 80km is in use. Russian president Vladimir Putin celebrated his 50th birthday here; cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin got lost in the cellar for two days in 1966. 

Vita explains how Moldovan champagne is made

Amazingly Cricova is not Europe's biggest wine cellar. That honour goes to a winery called Milestii Mici, also in Moldova, which has 200km of tunnels.

The national wine collection at Cricova Winery has about two million bottles going back to 1902

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