Moldova & Transnistria Russian Old New Year Wine Weekend
Bad wine can hold you prisoner. Moldovan wine can set you free!
Join us for a long weekend visiting two of the least visited countries in Europe! Our tour will venture to the beautiful undiscovered winemaking country of Moldova as well as the unrecognised country of Transnistria. If you haven't heard about this unique place, Google it. If you want off the beaten track, this is it! Enjoy four days exploring the booze in a true Soviet time warp with plenty of wine, beer and brandy tastings! This tour also gives you the chance to celebrate New Year’s Eve all over again as it coincides with the Russian Old New Year!
This is an extremely exclusive trip and will be run with a maximum of 10 people giving us great flexibility in our itinerary and the ability to adjust our tour depending on the group interests.
Friday 11 January 2019 Early morning arrival in Chisinau.
Check into Hotel Cosmos with western standards with Soviet chic, a 24 hour bar and great service.
After some free time to freshen up and rest, we meet up in the hotel lobby for a day of Moldovan wine tasting!
We board our private minibus to head to the Cricova winery, home to one of the largest wine collection in the world. The wine cellars of Cricova is the second largest wine cellar in Moldova with 75 miles of labyrinthine roadways. The tunnels have existed under Cricova since the 15th century, when limestone was dug out to help build Chişinău. They were converted into an underground wine emporium in the 1950s.
We taste wines here in a very traditional Moldovan way - wine paired with local delicacies and Moldovan instrumental music played by a couple of eccentric geriatric accordion players!
We then head to Chateau Mimi, currently listed among the most beautiful architectural masterpieces in the world of wine. The story of the castle begins in 1893 when Constantin Mimi, the last governor of Bessarabia, planted the first grape vines on the place that would become legend over the years. We tour the winery and enjoy a tasting with a traditional Moldovan lunch. Transfer back to Chisinau.
We enjoy some free time before heading out for a group meal with local Moldovan beer tasting at Tap Room 27!
Overnight in Chisinau.
Saturday 12 January 2019 After breakfast we head to the centre of Chisinau for a "Wine Walk"! Taste your way through Moldova's capital on a two hour wine walking tour! Taste national specialty "placinta" and sample three wines, while exploring the city on foot with a wine-friendly guide. Between nibbles and wine, you will learn about Chisinau's fascinating architectural and cultural history.
Lunch at the Smokehouse restaurant with delicious local craft beers.
After an enjoyable lunch we head on our Chisinau tour Part Two!
Chisinau bar crawl - experience the classic British and Irish pubs...
Overnight in Chisinau.
Sunday 13 January 2019 - Russian Old New Year's Eve This morning we head to Tiraspol, the capital of the war torn, breakaway country of Transnistria to celebrate our second New Year of the year - the Russian one!
This unrecognised country tore away from Moldova in a vicious civil war during the collapse of the USSR. Known as ‘’Europe’s North Korea’’ this is the place where time has stood still. You have to see it to believe it!
We check into our hotel: Hotel Aist, a VERY Soviet experience. If you enjoyed the Cosmos in Chisinau then you will love this hotel for its time warp glory!
After lunch at Andy's Pizza with 50 cent shots of vodka, we head on a city tour of Tiraspol, starting with a stroll down October 25th street, taking in the House of the Soviets with Lenin outside.
We will then see the hulking statue of the Russian general Suvorov, see the eternal flame memorial to the Transnistria civil war and WW2, visit the Transnistrian parliament building with the biggest Lenin statue outside of Russia and the Russian T-34 tank memorial.
Quick visit for a refreshing beer in the Dolce Vita Student Pub.
Next up is the Bottle Museum in the village of Ternovka, the largest building in the world in the shape of a wine bottle! Here we will discover five exhibition halls filled full of more than 10,000 thousand bottles of wine and other drinks from more than 100 countries. It would be rude not to sample some of the delicious local Transnistrian wines here with some tasty nibbles.
Return to Tiraspol for a group dinner.
We will celebrate the Old Russian New Year's Eve with the locals into the night. Expect big firework displays and plenty of Russian dancing!
Monday 14 January 2019 - Russian Old New Year's Day After relaxed breakfast we board our private minibus to transfer over the river by barge to visit the villages where the civil war raged. Here we will see Transnistrian rural life, visit the Orthodox monastery of the church of Tiraspol for a wine tasting with the monks, see a huge bullet riddled head of Lenin in front of the abandoned house of culture.
We then head for a tour of Bender where we first explore the massive Soviet open market in the centre of the city. The prices here are some of the cheapest in Europe so remember to bring your wallet!
Next stop is the Russian Orthodox Church and City Hall riddled with bullet holes from the civil war.
We visit Lenin Park with yet another statue of Lenin and the old Soviet Theatre now used as a cinema.
Explore the river walk and enjoy a few rides at an old Soviet Amusement Park! Our last stop will be the abandoned Soviet Cultural Centre.
After our tour we head to the wonderfully named “Brewery from Bender” where we sample delicious Transnistrian beers with the locals.
We then cross the DMZ and border control and return to Chisinau via the Asconi Winery for dinner, a tour and tasting of a range of delicious local wines. The winery was founded in 1994 and to this day remains a family business. The aim is to make the best possible wine, using the best available technology, while maintaining the traditions of the local people.
End of tour.
Late international flight home.
Tour cost: £500.00 Price Inclusive of: Accommodation in mentioned hotels on twin sharing basis All transport Western and local guides Entrance fees for all mentioned monuments Wine tastings.
Price Exclusive of: International air tickets Visa if needed (we can provide support) Drinks Any personal expenses & services not included in the above External costs as mentioned in itinerary £20 single supplement per night
For your financial protection Smiling Grape Adventure Tours Ltd is a member of Trust My Travel and our membership number is TMT51510. All client money, whether by bank transfer or card payment is paid into an independently managed Trust Account held at Barclays Bank in the UK. This means in the unlikely event of our financial failure you will receive a refund for the services you have paid for. Money is not received by us until all suppliers have been paid and you have completed your trip. Trust My Travel is Authorised and Regulated by the Financial Services Authority under the PSR 2009: No. 569641. For more information about how your payments are protected please visit www.trustmytravel.com for more information.
BOOK NOW! Secure your Soviet booze adventure today with just a £99 deposit!
Fill out your information below and we will be in contact to get you signed up...
"Just to let you know I had a fantastic time in Chernobyl with a great bunch of people. Thank you for organising such an interesting tour..."
"Thanks for organising such a great and unforgettable adventure. Here's to the next one!"