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 coincides with the "Moldovan Wine Festival" celebrating the end of the grape harvest. We will do our best to help celebrate Moldova's rich winemaking traditions by tasting wines from over 100 producers!
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 4 October 2019 Early morning arrival in Chisinau.
Check into our hotel.
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 Milestii Mici winery, home to the largest wine collection in the world - a Guinness World Record for a whopping two million bottles in total. 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 Purcari.
The Purcari estate is located in a beautiful location in the south-east part of the country about 50 km from the Black Sea. Here you will find their legendary cellars, remaining unchanged since 1827! Purcari's vineyards have a unique micro-climate, the location of the vineyards on the south-western and south-eastern slopes, proximity to the sea and closeness to the Nistru river offer ideal conditions for the creation of high quality wines.
We will tour the cellars, sample the delicious wines and then enjoy a traditional Moldovan lunch in the picturesque winery gardens.
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 5 October 2019 - National Wine Day After breakfast we head to the centre of Chisinau to witness the first traditional wine dances of the day. Guests are welcomed to join the locals with the "Cabernet Contortion" or "Sauvignon Swing"...
After the parade of winemakers, we will head to the tasting tents to discover delicious Moldovan wines!
Lunch will be at the Yellow Cafe for traditional Moldovan cuisine.
Next up is a guided tour of Chisinau visiting all the main sights.
Our evening will be spent enjoying the Wine Festival's concert with guest Eurovision singers. Ear plugs are optional.
Overnight in Chisinau.
Sunday 6 October 2019 An early start as we catch the train from Chisinau to Tiraspol, the capital of the war torn, breakaway country of Transnistria! 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!
Visit to the Kvint Distillery with tour and tasting of local brandies. We will taste: Nistru 8 yo, Surprise XO 10 yo, Tiraspol 15 yo, Solnechny 20 yo and Victoria 25 yo. The measures here are very generous indeed and a perfect chance to learn more about this fascinating country that doesn't exist from your guide.
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.
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 relaxing on the terrace with the locals.
Return to Tiraspol for a group dinner and drinks in one of the countries few nightclubs - order the special shot in the colours of the Russian or Transnistrian flag and the bar will blast out the Russian anthem!
Overnight at Hotel Aist.
Monday 7 October 2019 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, see a huge bullet riddled head of Lenin in front of the abandoned house of culture.
We then cross the DMZ and border control and return to Chisinau via the Asconi Winery for lunch, 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.
Free time before we head out for some farewell drinks and a last meal together.
End of tour.
Late international flight home.
Price Inclusive of: Accommodation in mentioned hotels on twin sharing basis All transport Western and local guides Entrance fees for all mentioned monuments Wine, beer and brandy 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
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