6/5/2013: Moldovan Winery
On Wednesday, the 5th of June, I headed to Chisinau to meet up with people and head to a winery in a town not far from Chisinau called Orhei to celebrate a fellow volunteer's birthday. Although I pass by Orhei every time I go to Chisinau, I had only been to it once, and only as far as the bus station. Soon after I arrived in Chisinau, the group of about 5 of us headed to the central bus station to catch a rutiera to Orhei. Luckily they leave fairly frequently so we didn't have to wait long for one to leave. When we arrived in Orhei, we met up with some other volunteers and a couple of one of the volunteers former students who lived either in Orhei or in a village nearby. We then got into two taxis that took us to the winery, Chateau Vartely.
The main building of the winery, which contains a restaurant and a wine-tasting room
Upon our arrival, we were greeted by our Moldovan tour guide who showed us around the grounds before taking us into the factory and explaining the first part of the wine-making process to us, including how the making of red, white, and rosé wines differ.
A building representing the Southern Wine region of Moldova
A building representing the Central wine region of Moldova
A building representing the northern wine region of Moldova
Wine Fermentation Containers
Then, we went down and saw the aging containers and the guide explained that part of the process to us.
The aging containers, with labels containing various information like acidity
The next stop was the cellar where the wine is aged in barrels.
Our guide describing the barrel storage part of the process
A view of about half of the barrels in the cellar
Our last stop was the wine tasting room. The table was set with many glasses and with cheese, nuts, and crackers in the area where we would be sitting. During the tasting we tried 5 different wines, two white wines, a red wine, a rosé, and an ice wine. Apparently, the first step in making ice wine is to let the grapes freeze on the vines before the fermentation process, hence why it is called ice wine.
The table, set up and ready for us to sit down and begin tasting wines
After we tried each of the different wines, we were able to ask for another glass of the kind we liked the most. I liked the ice wine the most because it was the sweetest and had a honey taste to it. When we had finished the wine tasting, we left the tasting room, and waited for our taxis that would take us back to Orhei. We had pizza and cake before heading back to Chisinau.
When we arrived, we eventually decided to stay in an apartment and then headed to have Mexican food at an embassy worker's house in Chisinau. Every week he and his wife host a dinner for Peace Corps volunteers and other embassy workers. Each week they serve a different type of food. They have one huge dog and a large cat that are both very friendly. So, dinner there was a great way to end the day. When we finished eating, we headed back to the apartment and relaxed for a bit before heading to bed. Overall, it was a long but excellent day.