Wine bars in Chișinău

Some people unfortunately do not have a lot of time when coming to Moldova, visiting for only 1-2 days. With such a short time span, booking at wineries can be difficult if not done upfront. So what is another option to discover the local wine without stressing yourself?  Of course exploring the local wine bars! Not only are they set up specifically for wine tasting, but also offer you a wide range of wines and gifts up for sale. A majority of them have a sommelier on the spot, but also organised wine tasting events on weekend days. So here’s a list of the wine bars where you can go to tickle your wine taste buds!

 

Invino Enoteca

Invino is the first collection of high quality wines in Moldova chosen by a professional sommelier. They have in their collection over 200 wines, with more than 20 being available for wine tasting by glass. Altogether they store over 10.000 bottles of wine from small boutique and lesser known wineries. They have available an english speaking sommelier.

Website/ Facebook

Address: Bănulescu Bodoni 41, Chișinău

Open: 11:00 – 21:00

 

Vinoteca Wine.md

This isn’t just a wine bar, but a full encyclopedia of wine culture offering organised wine tastings, excursions at wineries, history, notes and expert assessment. The shop has a wide variety of wines with advice on hand for those that get lost in choices.

Website / Facebook

Address: Pușkin 15, Chișinău

Open: 09:00 – 21:00

 

DEN Food & Wine House

The uniqueness of this select wine house is that they concentrate on the small wine producers of Moldova, having over 25 brands in their collection with over 250 various wine labels. To complement the wines they have even reinterpreted the national cuisine in a way to harmonise the tastes together. Currently Den Food & Wine House is the restaurant with the widest variety of wines available for serving the guests, but also open for wine tastings or sale at their wine bar.

Website / Facebook

Address: Mitropolit Gavriil Bănulescu-Bodoni 17A, Chișinău

Open: Daily from 08:00 – 23:00

 

Embargo

A cozy wine bar and shop with a variety of wines to taste which change daily according to availability. The specialisation is in unique and affordable wines. On various occasions they organise wine games and specific wine tastings. Besides the traditional platters of cheese and meat for wine tastings, they also offer oyster.

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AddressAlexandr Pușkin 56, Chișinău

Open: Mon – Thu 08:00- 21:00, Fri 08:00-22:00, Sat- Sun 10:00- 22:00

 

Carpe Diem

Carpe Diem is the first opened wine collection in Chisinau which nowadays has a selection of over 160 local and international wines. You can taste between 10 to 15 local wines by glass in their bar, but also order online in Moldova the ones you prefer.

Website/ Facebook

Address: Columna 136, 3A, Chișinău

Open: 11:00 – 23:00

 

Barbar

Unlike other wine bars, this one is suitable for nightlife due to it’s opening hours but also the events they organise. Besides a vast choice of wines, they have dj nights on weekends and a summer terrace which is very handy during warmer season.

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Address: Mihai Eminescu 56, Chișinău

Open: Mon – Thu 11:00- 23:00, Fri 11:00- 05:00, Sat 14:00- 05:00, Sun 14:00- 23:00

 

La Nobiltà del Gusto

A collection of the highest quality wines and hard drinks won at auctions from all other the world. You will find the best wines from Moldova alongside the famous ones of Spain, France, Chile, Argentina, New Zealand and Italy. A sommelier will guide you in your choice, while the rest of the shop will inspire you to dip in the delicacies on display.

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AddressSfatul Țării 59, Chișinău

Open: 10:00 – 20:00

 

Wine Gogh

Branding themselves as a wine restaurant, they provide not only beautiful atmosphere, different kinds of wine but also high quality food which will not disappoint. Every sunday they have an offer of -20% on selected wines and foods.

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Address: Pușkin 35, Chișinău

Open: 10:00 – 23:00

 

Purcari Wine Bar

Although being mainly a branded wine bar of the local winery Purcari, the selection of wine does not disappoint and limit. Their events host wine tastings with the best wine of Moldova, but also a selection of wines from abroad. The relaxing atmosphere and the gourmet menu guarantees an enjoyable time.

Website/ Facebook

Address: Calea Iesilor 8,  Zity Mall (3rd floor)

Open: Mon – Sun 10:00 – 22:00

 

C51

Not only a wine bar, but also a co-working space and restaurant. Working with specific wine brands, vegetarian menu and a variety of events in a very english friendly atmosphere.

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Address: Columna 51, Chișinău

Open: Tue – Fri 18:00 – 23:00, Sat – Sun 00:00 – 23:00

 

AVA 1727

One of the most exclusivist restaurant and wine bar in Chișinău aimed to create a bohemian experience. Not just a place to taste signature dishes by their chef, but also to relax or have fun on a night out as they organise music nights on weekends.

Website/ Facebook

Address: Vlaicu Pârcălab 43, Chișinău

Open: Mon – Thu 09:00 – 00:00, Fri – Sat 09:00 – 03:00, Sun 11:00 – 00:00

 

Taste of Blu Wine House

A celebration of generations of winemakers in a comfortable atmosphere with a wide range of wine choices and events. Sommelier available on the spot, also english friendly.

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Address: 77 Mitropolit Varlaam, Chișinău

Open: 10:00 – 22:00

ATU Winery

If you’ve ever wondered if an urban winery exists, well seek no further! ATU Winery is the answer. Situated at the entrance of the city, the first glance over the building indicates that there is something different about this place. A passion for wine, aesthetics and art have created this interesting combination into the brand that seeks to promote artisanal wines with an urban feel.

The history of ATU Winery starts with the founder Victor Vutcarău, who’s family has always been involved in viniculture. From 2001 they started growing a variety of grapes, currently being the best producer of wine plants on the moldovan and eastern european market. With this involvement and the gathered knowledge, the decision to open up a winery came naturally. From 2016 alongside his wife Vlada, the brand came to life under the name “ATU” which is a romanian word signifying “a strong point”. Besides the vast experience with plants, they are also the only winery in Moldova with it’s own wine nursery which they consider to be one of their main strength.

The production of this winery is a selective one, concentrating on dry and semi sweets wines, including the local moldovan Fetească Albă and Fetească Neagră. The main aim being creating high quality wines, they are limited edition with each type coming up in a batch of only 2000 bottles which allows them to give their full attention to every single drop. This is seen also in their production as everything is manually manufactured, from the grape picking all the way up to the bottle labelling. Not to mention the artistic detail that is invested in their brand, a way to promote local talents and urban culture.

Being mostly found on the moldovan market, their wines can also be purchased in a few shops in Austria, Luxembourg, Germany and Romania. But the best way is to visit the winery itself, where Victor or Vlada will take you through the journey of their wine production and the wine tasting experience. They offer 3 options for their visits, packages which give a variety of explorations of their main wines, but also when it’s the season – the young ones. Prices for the tours including wine tasting are in between 10- 18 euros per person. Booking upfront is required, a process easily done through a call, their website or social media. Also you can find them throughout the year at various events and wine exhibitions either in Moldova or in Europe.

To book a visit or find out more about them, check out the following links:

Website/ Facebook/ Instagram

 

KaraGani Winery

Down in the south of Moldova in the city of Vulcănești you can find a treasure. Only 200km’s from Chisinau, near the Ukranian border, the KaraGani Winery has it’s place. A name rather new on the Moldovan wine map, but not one to be missed that’s for sure.

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The tradition of winemaking in the Cerven family comes all the way from their găgăuzian ancestors, an ethnic group with turkic roots that settled in the area. As the craft for wine was passed down over 4 generations, the wife Lora and husband Gheorghe took their passion a few steps further, developing it into a business. Although they started producing their wine for the public only 2 years ago, they have already gained various recognitions and awards at local and international wine contests.

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Each year their produce only 10.000 bottles for public consumption which can be purchased in a few shops across the capital, in Comrat and also directly from them at the winery. The production process can be seen during an excursion as they take you through the whole process and a visit in autumn guarantees you to watch and even participate in their production.

Besides winemaking, they also offer a peek into Găgăuzian traditional life in their own self made museum which consists of objects gathered throughout the years of their families. From pictures of their relatives, to old irons, lamps, Găgăuzian furniture, handmade carpets and a trunk full of grandmother’s wedding dowry will leave you impressed and gasping for more stories.

Winetasting at KaraGani is a must and the basic tasting package comes with 3 wines, including one white, one red and one rosé. While you’re enjoying the wines, Lora or Gheorghe will tell you various stories about each wine and their history. The price for the excursion which includes the wine tasting of 3 wines costs only 150 lei (~7 euros) and it lasts for 1 hour.

For those wishing to immerse themselves deeper into the Găgăuzian culture, Lora offers the option of tasting their national cuisine with delicacies like homemade cheese, gozleme and their famous lamb dishes – kaurma, shurpa, etc. Such experience lasts 3 hours and it costs 25 euros, including the excursion and the wine tasting of 4 wine types. Master classes are also available for those that wish to learn both their cooking and winemaking crafts. Such options need to be discussed and booked upfront at least 1 day before your arrival.

Visiting such a small winery will be something memorable as you get to experience the authentic Moldova – a local family producing wine in their own yard. And how does their wine have a Găgăuzian accent (as they state in their company slogan) will be something that you will have to discover by yourselves.

To book your visit, get in touch with them at least 1 day before your arrival through their KaraGani Winery page or at the number: +373 69124996

 

 

Găgăuzia – autonomous area

Găgăuzia is an autonomous region of Moldova, but unlike Transnistria, there are no borders and own currency here. Ethnically Găgăuzians are Turkic in origin, with their ancestors coming all the way from Altai region. Later on they migrated from Bulgaria together with ethnic Bulgarians and settled in Bessarabia (Moldova) between 1812 and 1846. Nowadays the region is comprised of one city, two towns, twenty villages and three communities. The most interesting fact is despite their turkic roots, they are affiliated with the Eastern Orthodox Church.

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They have their own language which is taught in 55 schools, although Găgăuz is still not used as the language of instruction in educational institutions. Russian and Romanian are the official languages in Găgăuzia, and the majority of the population prefers to speak the Russian language.

If Găgăuzia is of any of interested to you or on your list to visit, then here are a few suggestions for what is there to see or experience.

In Comrat you can spend a few hours with a visit included at the National History and Etnographic Museum (entrance 10 lei) which has a collection of historical, cultural and even botanical exhibits. Nearby you will find monuments for the fallen soldiers in Afghanistan and the tankists, Comrat Art Gallery which showcases local găgăuzian art, the cathedral, turkish library Mustafa Kemal Atatürk and ofcourse Victory Square which has a statue of Lenin in front of their administrative building. Also in the city you can find the Comrat Winery which is their main wine producer.

Heading more south, the next stop is Beșalma village for the Ethnographic Museum which contains all the history of the găgăuz nation in a wonderful collection. The local guide does the tour only in russian, so if you wish to visit this museum, try to have a translator with you. If booked upfront, they can organise a little concert also with their national music, traditional clothing and dances.

If anyone is interested in postcards and pretty much soviet style, the post office across the street from the museum will be by your liking. A room where you can send mail, pay bills but also buy things from the counter just like in soviet times it is still very well alive. The villagers are very friendly and will be more than happy to try to converse with you even with the language barrier. A few metres through the village and you can see the Beșalma windmill, the one of last ones in Moldova.

Other things that are worthy to visit, specifically for discovering the food, is the Gagauz Sofrasi in Congaz (biggest and most condensed village in Europe). This is a traditional găgăuz style house which offers local food, lodging, but also experiences such as witnessing a traditional wedding, milking the sheep, wine tasting and even trying out therapeutic sheep wool beds. Keep in mind that they cater for groups of a minimum of 4 people only and require a +24 hours booking upfront.

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And last but not least, deep in the south of Moldova (about 3 hours drive from Chișinău) is the KaraGani winery . Not only they provide wine with găgăuzian accent, but also traditional food cooked by the owner and which has been recognised internationally and included in books about moldovan cuisine. Besides this, they have built their own little museum about găgăuzian culture with objects gathered by their family throughout the generations.

Despite being a less traveled destination and not as many amenities in the region, it is still a day trip that easily could be enjoyed.

10 Must See! wineries of Moldova

Asconi

Since 1994 Asconi winery has been impressing everyone with it’s quality and the currently owned 400 hectares of vineyards. Situated only 40km from Chisinau, they cultivate Chardonnay, Merlot, Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet – Sauvignon and Muscat Ottonel. Besides their wines, they offer the opportunity to discover how their wine is made by providing tours which start with the visit of the vineyards, following the process of wine making and ending with wine tasting accompanied by traditional moldovan food.

Purcari

purcari

The oldest winery of Moldova founded in 1827 is situated 120 kms from Chisinau in one of the best regions of the country, closest to The Black Sea where the land is most fertile and full of nutrients. Purcari is mostly known for it’s red wines and especially the Negru de Purcari and Rosu de Purcari. A visit to the winery offers you tours with guides, wine tasting, restaurant which offers moldovan and french cuisine, a shop to buy their fine wines and even hotel service – 8 rooms for those interested to spend overnight.

Mimi Castle

The one and only castle of Moldova built by the last governor of Moldova has opened it’s doors again after the reconstruction. Not only it’s a castle, but it’s a local winery too! A variety of wines are open to be discovered in their tours which are still made after the old technique of the governor. Booking required for their tours.

Cricova

cricova

The most famous winery of Moldova and considered a national treasure, is the second largest winery of the country. It has over 120 km’s of tunnels where different kinds of fine wines and collections are being kept – over 1 million wine bottles. From moldovan, french, spanish up to private collections of Vladimir Putin and the nazist General Goring. The oldest being a Easter Jewish wine from 1902. Visiting Cricova is very easy as they are only 12kms away from the capital. An upfront booking is required for their tours and wine tasting.

Chateau Vartely

45 km’s away from Chisinau can be found the Chateau Vartely winery which is famous for it’s catering services besides their wines. They offer their venue for private parties, weddings and have more than 8 rooms for overnight stay. In order to visit their winery, a booking is required. Upon request they offer guided tours to their vineyards too. As well for those that don’t understand much in wine, you can participate in their wine masterclasses. This is the perfect destination to enjoy a relaxed time in nature.

Milestii Mici

The largest winery of Moldova boasting with 200 km’s of underground tunnels, is included in the World Guiness Book for it’s massive wine collection of over 2 million bottles. Visiting Milestii Mici requires a car and a tour booking. Different packages can be found on their website which offer from just the general tour of the winery, food included up to VIP service and degustation of the finest and oldest wines.

Et cetera

The newest winery of Moldova which is family owned by two brothers, is situated 130 km’s away from Chisinau and 10 km’s further from Purcari. This is the perfect place to visit if you’re interested to see a winery on the low scale of production, as they bottle up to 10.000 bottles of each type of wine per year. Their collections vary from Traminer, Chardonnay up to the Negro Amaro, Petit Verdot and Saperavi. Their services include a guided tour which shows the whole process of the production and includes wine tasting in their winery or vineyards. For extra charge, delicious traditional food can be served.

Cellars of Branesti

branesti

Close to Old Orhei settlement, 55 km’s away from Chisinau in the beautiful forests can be found the cellars of Branesti. 60 metres under and 50 km’s of tunnels of this winery are actually one of the less known and visited of Moldova. They contain 2 rooms for wine tasting which offer from traditional up to collection wines, as well as sparkling wine. Upfront booking required for their tours. Lunch can be included in the package.

Chateau Cojusna

15 km’s away from Chisinau in a medieval style themed room you can try out the less known Chateau Cojusna wines. Sauvignon Blanc, Muscat, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinot Noir are one of their well known types. Besides wine, they make great cognac too. To try out their collections you need to book upfront. Lunch can be included upon request.

Kvint

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If you’re visiting Transnistria (yes that little autonomous area in Moldova), make sure to stop at the Kvint distillery in Tiraspol. Originally produced only vodka, but from 1938 it started producing Brandy and later on wine. Nowadays it is known for its high quality products produced by the traditional french method. The distillery offers tasting, tours and a shop to buy some of their treasures. Situated 78 km’s from Chisinau.

 

Milestii Mici Winery

 

 

Most people know that Moldova is famous for it’s wine, but not many know that it holds the record for the largest wine collection in the world! And this collection is stored at the Milestii Mici Winery Cellars which are found at the borders of Chisinau. The cellars stretch over 200km, with 55km being currently in use.

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To visit the wineries, a car and booking a tour is necessary. If you are visiting Moldova without a car and don’t know anyone, do not worry – many agencies offer trips to the winery. The tours are available in romanian, russian and english.

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The tour itself takes about 40 minutes and it consists of driving and walking around the cellars. For those wishing to taste the wine the tour takes longer. Just keep in mind, because the cellars are underground, it is quite cold. The temperatures vary between 12-16 degrees, so make sure to take a jacket.

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Once the tour around the winery has been finished, you are taken to their restaurant area where you can try out the wine and moldovan food.   *Please keep in mind that you need to order the package with wine and food included if you wish so, because the most basic tour comes without!

You have quite a wide range of choice when it comes to their packages as many offer different options. You can try  just 2 types of wines, 4 or more, different food choices including vegetarian (which is actually vegan!) or no  food or wine at all. The prices vary depending on your choices and even if you do not finish drinking the whole bottle (or bottles), you can take it away with you!

Price wise, i would say the money are worth it! As a local i found the tour very interesting and the wine amazing – and i’m not a wine drinker, but their Rose wine has totally turned me into a lover!

The basic tour without any tasting or food costs about 10 euros. The vegetarian package (pictured above) i chose cost me approx. 22 euros which included degustation of 4 wine types besides the food.

So if you’re looking to discover one of the gems of Moldova, head to the Milestii Mici!

You can find info, book a tour or see their package options on this page.