Gastronomy & Culture
Wineries & vineyards – Moldova, Armenia & Georgia
Countries less mentioned when it comes to wine are Moldova, Armenia and Georgia. Wine producing countries that have a history of winemaking for over 5,000 years back to the Neolithic Period. Fragments of clay wine vessels were found in excavations in Georgia. This indicates that wine was already well established in agriculture in the Neolithic Period. The best time of year to visit these wine-producing regions is the end of September to early October. Every year in the Armenian village of Areni is held a Wine Festival which is a great introduction to Armenian wine production. Moldovan wine production was first developed by Greek settlers, followed by the Romans. By 1878 at the Paris World Exhibition, Moldovan wine was winning gold medals and supplying the British Royal Court.
A must if you visit Moldova, are the wineries of Cricova and Milestii Mici both with extensive underground storage. Cricova is not only famous for the excellence of their wines, but also for an annual race run in Winter at a depth of 100 metres in their wine cellars over 10 kilometres distance. Likewise, Milestii Mici is in the Guinness Book of World Records having over 200 kilometres of underground streets with over 2 million bottles of wine.
To summarize, all three countries with their long history of wine production are able to offer excellent gastronomic tours with visits to numerous vineyards and brandy distilleries. Tours include visits to restaurants providing traditional dishes and cultural programmes.