Wine in Moldova: visit these amazing wineries
One of the things Moldova is famous for is wine. They have amazing wine, trust me. Maybe the country is not THAT famous as a wine country, but I’m sure that will change some day. I’m not a sommelier and I don’t have that much knowledge about wine, but I sure love a good wine tasting. So I couldn’t visit Moldova without checking out some nice wineries. In this blog I share my favorites, if you like to taste some wine in Moldova as well!
Tip for wine tours in Moldova
I love to travel without a plan and many reservations, because I love my trips to be spontaneous and flexible. But some wine tours for sure you have to make a reservation in advance. You can’t just show up in most wineries and expect them to show you around. Especially in the weekends popular wineries like Cricova, Castel Mimi and Milestii Mici are fully booked days in advance. So make sure you make a reservation beforehand. Also in some wineries you pay extra if you visit in the weekend, so keep that in mind.
Wine in Moldova: visit these amazing wineries
Why visit Cricova Winery?
This is maybe the most well known winery in Moldova – and with reason. Cricova Winery has one of the biggest wine cellars IN THE WORLD! The only one that is bigger is Milestii Mici Winery, also in Moldova. It’s a great experience to check out this underground wine city. The wine cellars have more than 100 kilometers of tunnels underground. Mainly under the city of Cricova, but some of the tunnels even reach the capital Chisinau. This ‘underground city’ even has street names and traffic signs. I love how people bike through the tunnels (super sustainable), although visitors use the electric train to move around. Cricova Winery is only 15 kilometers north of Chisinau, so it’s quite easy to reach this winery. You can easily combine it with a visit to the capital or on your way to Orheiul Vechi.
Also read: 11 fun things to do in Chisinau, Moldova
A tour at Cricova Winery
You can book different yours at Cricova Winery. I did the tour of 1,5 hours without the wine tasting. This tour costs 350 lei (about €18 euros). It’s a bit expensive for Moldova, but still affordable as a tourist. During the tour they will show you a short movie about wine and the winery, while trying some sparkling wine – the wine they are mainly known for. Personally I’m not a big fan of sparkling wine, but it’s nice that you can try something during this tour.
It’s really important to be on time. You’re leaving the entrance with an electric train, so once it left you simply can’t go into the winery anymore. It’s also important to bring something warm, like a sweater or a jacket. Especially in summer! Then it can be 40 degrees outside, but in the Cricova winery it’s 12 degrees all year round. You don’t wanna freeze for 1,5 hours.
During World War II a lot of Jewish people found shelter in this winery. It’s SO big and they could hide in the wine barrels. I thought that was pretty smart and impressive. It’s also cool to see people work manually while making and checking the sparkling wine. The people who check the bottles are changing every half hour because it’s a job where you have to focus all the time. There are also people who are turning the bottles manually. There are only a few wineries in the world that still do it this way, so that’s pretty special!
How do you go to Cricova Winery?
The easiest way to get to Cricova Winery is by car. It’s about 25 minutes driving from the city center of Chisinau to Cricova.
You can also travel by bus to Cricova Winery. Bus 2 goes from Chisinau to Cricova. A ticket is 5 lei. This bus is NOT leaving from the central bus station, but a bit further. Go to the bus stop where the streets Strada Alexandru cel Bun and Strada Vasile Alexsandri meet. It’s half way from the cathedral to the central bus station.
Address: Strada Chisinaului 124 in Cricova. Search for “Beciurile Cricova” on Google Maps. There is also Combinatul de Vinuri Cricova (on Strada Petru Ungureanu 1) is NOT the place where the tour in the cellars is, but the place where they actually make wine.
Why visit ASCONI Winery?
So some wineries like Cricova are from the state, but ASCONI Winery is a family business. But one that produces 4,5 million bottles of wine per year! It’s not the most well known winery among international tourists, but a lot of Moldovan people love to go to this winery. Partly because of the relaxed atmosphere and the traditional decoration, partly because of their amazing food. You can order delicious food here for fine prices. Their speciality is plăcinte; it’s like a dough cake out of the oven, filled with cheese or vegetables. You can easily share it with 2 people, because it’s big. And also nice: my glass of wine was only 25 lei (which is like €1 euros).
A tour at ASCONI Winery
I liked the tour and the explanation, it was easy to follow. Maybe it’s less interesting for real wine addicts who know everything about the process, but I liked the easy explanation. The tour including a wine tasting with 5 wines is 200 lei (about €10 euros).
I was presently surprised by the wines of ASCONI Winery. Normally I don’t really like sweet wines, but the sweet red wine (Saperani-Cabernet) and the ice wine (Carbernet-Sauvignon) were really really nice. They have a great balance. Not too sweet, but really fruity and tasteful.
ASCONI Winery is open every day! It’s even possible to sleep here. Great choice if you don’t want to drive after the tastings and check out some more wines before sleep.
How do you get at ASCONI Winery?
The easiest way to get here is by car. There is a big parking lot next to it with more than enough spaces. From Chisinau it’s about 30-35 minutes drive to Asconi Winery.
Also taking a taxi to ASCONI is not too expensive: 200-250 lei for a one-way drive (€10-13 euros).
It’s also possible to go here by public transport. You can take the bus to Puhoi. A ticket is 16 lei and the ride is about 40-45 minutes. Do ask the driver to drop you off at ASCONI instead of the village, otherwise you have to walk for another 2 kilometer. Check the website of Autogara for the bus times to and from Puhoi.
Address: Stefan Cel Mare 1, just outside of the village Puhoi.
3. Castel Mimi
Why visit Castel Mimi?
Wine that is made in a castle, how fairytalelike is that? Castel Mimi is one of the most beautiful places to taste wine in Moldova. The winery is situated in Bulboaca, about 45 kilometers west of Chisinau. If you visit Castel Mimi you really feel like a royal for a day. The architecture and the interior is amazing! Castel Mimi is found by Constantin Mimi, the last governor from the historical area called Bessarabia (Moldova nowadays with a small part of Ukraine). He planted the first vineyards in 1893. It’s a giant castle with lots of squares and gardens around it. So it’s definitely worth it to walk around the building and through the gardens as well.
A tour at Castel Mimi
There are different tours that you can book at Castel Mimi. During a tour at Castel Mimi you will not only visit the castle and the wine cellars, but also the gardens and the place where they make the wine. The tours are not the cheapest, but in every tour there’s a wine tasting included. The cheapest one is 300 lei (€15 euros) with 3 wine tastings, followed by a tour with 5 wine tastings for 500 lei (€25 euros).
You can sleep here as well! Next to the castle there are cute bungalows where you can sleep, with an amazing view on the castle. I can imagine it looks magical in the evening. It’s quite expensive (€150-200 euros per night), but it’s a pretty cool experience. And there is an outdoor pool as well, for warm summer days. Check the prices here for your stay at Castel Mimi.
You do get to Castel Mimi?
Again: the easiest way is to reach the castle by car. There is a parking spot next to the castle. Because every tour has a wine tasting it’s important to spit out the wine that you taste. In Moldova there is zero tolerance for drinking alcohol and driving. So if you get caught you’re in big trouble.
Castel Mimi is situated in the village Bulboaca. Multiple busses go to this village every day. They all leave from the central bus station. Some busses have Bulboaca as the final destination, but also some busses go to other cities and stop here. Some of them are Cobusca-Veche, Telita, Serpeni, Speia, Pugaceni, Gura Bacului. A bus ticket to Castel Mimi should be 22 lei.
Address: Strada Dacia 1 in Bulboaca.
4. Casa Rustica in Chiscareni
Why visit Casa Rustica?
Technically Casa Rustica is not a wine house but a guest house. But I love to share this place in this list of awesome wineries in Moldova as well. The owners are super nice people who love to make wine as well. They have their own vineyard in their garden. Most Moldovan families have their own vineyard and almost everyone has a lot of knowledge about (making) wine. So it’s not a surprise that most guesthouses make their own wine as well – and share it with their guests. I think the owners are the most friendly and welcome people I have met in Moldova. They immediately gave me some wine to taste and played accordion while singing. Super cute!
So this is not really a place where you can book a tour for a wine tasting, but I would definitely recommend to stay here for a night (or 2). For sure the owners will show you around in their garden and they love to try the wine with you. They have all kinds of plants and trees in their garden. When I was there we went to get some fresh raspberries for breakfast and they had a lot of walnut trees as well.
How do you get at Casa Rustica?
Casa Rustica is situated in the village Chiscareni, about 100 northwest of Chisinau. I would recommend to stay here for 1 or 2 nights. It’s not easy to get here by public transport, so the best way to get here is by rental car.
Address: Strada Ion Prisacaru 3 in Chiscareni.
Of course there are many more wineries in Moldova that you can visit and where you can taste wine! Do you know another nice one? Tell me all about it in the comments!
This article contains affiliate links. More information about it you’ll find here.