Thursday, July 22, 2010

Milestii Mici, your grapes are good… you do things the fun way!?!

So after weeks of running my route to the vineyard, touching the fence and running back home, we finally did it.  With the help of our teachers, we organized a group wine tour of the Milestii Mici vineyards!!!

State Enterprise Quality Wines Complex “Milestii Mici” is located in the neighborhood of Milestii Mici village, not far from the capital of the country, Chisinau City.  Long ago, the inhabitants of MM used to build their houses from stone quarried out by hand from limestone deposits situated in the neighborhood.  Much of these limestone quarries were also used to build the nearby capital.  Today, the underground wine city is one of the most important tourist elements in Moldova and attracts visitors from all over the world.  The storage department comprises 3500 containers accommodating more than 6.5 million decaliters.  There are more than 1200 oak casks containing between 800 and 1200 decaliters.  In 2005 Milestii Mici collection was registered with the Guinness Book of Records as the largest wine collection in the world at 1.5 million bottles.  Today, the collection is home to more than 2 million bottles.

The tour was impressive and an EXCELLENT way to cool off on a hot and humid day.  Our group took a rutiera through the underground tunnels, which maintain constant temperature, and humidity that is perfect for storing wines.  This vineyard and collection employ the majority of the inhabitants in my current village, which is both a blessing and a misfortune.  Russia recently declared that it would no longer import Moldova wines due to a political conflict.  More often than not this big brother nation uses Moldova’s dependence upon exports (especially of wine) as a way to push it around politically, economically and socially.  When wine exports decrease, so does the demand for workers in the wine industry and so the people from villages that depend so much on wine production lose hours at work and oftentimes even lose their jobs.  It would be wise for them to diversify or find work elsewhere but there really are no other large businesses in the local area.  Such is the Moldovan dilemma…

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