The Capital of Wine Country
An important trading centre throughout its history, Chișinău, the capital of Moldova, has always been an essential link from Ukraine and Russia to the north to the Balkans and Turkey to the south. The main industrial and administrative hub for Moldova is also blossoming into a major tourism magnet. Capitalizing on the country’s long history with wine, this city of around 635,000 has begun to sprout new life in the shape of wine bars, boutique restaurants, cafes, shops catering to local, handmade products, outdoor markets, and festivals.
The story of wine in Moldova extends back approximately 7,000 years, when the first vines were planted in the country. Since then, there has been a single-minded focus and pride among its citizens that this is the land of wine. It would be hard to argue. Many families and homes in the country produce some amount of the precious liquid. And, in recent years, there has been both a swell of press about the production here—as well as a dramatic surge in the number of small producers bottling varieties that compete well at the international level.
Besides wine, Chișinău is a bustling city with attractions. A perfect day includes a visit to the National Museum of Ethnography and Natural History, a stop at the city’s giant outdoor market to find the country’s famous fruits and vegetables, a break at one of the city’s expanding raft of fusion restaurants, before wrapping up the evening at a local wine bar to explore the many quality varieties sold and exported from the small but powerful wine country.