Moldova’s Underground Wine Tunnels & the Threat of Russia

According to BBC, more than million bottles wine are hidden in the country’s old mining tunnels. Constructed by the Russians half a century ago, the subterranean chambers known as the Cricova tunnels (located beneath a winery of the same name) house one of the world’s most storied wine collections—including a number of bottles that once belonged to Nazi henchman Herman Goering, which were “taken by the Red Army from Berlin in 1945.” 

Although Moldova counts amongst the poorest countries in Europe and largely depends on “small farms, hard labour and low returns,” the wine industry has held the country’s economy together for centuries. The small nation is amongst the top ten wine exporters in the world, but in recent years the political climate has damaged sales significantly. 

Historically, Russia has been the main importer of Moldovan wine for years, but ever since Moldova announced its plan to join the European Nation, Putin has “ordered a ban on the importation of Moldovan wine.” According to Alexandru Alexeev, Cricova’s marketing director, the winery lost 30% of its business. It seems that the message Russia is sending to Chisinau is not much different from the one sent to Kiev.

“We need to find new markets in Europe, in the US and in China,” says Alexeev. “We cannot rely on Russia.” [BBC] [Photo: Flick/Dave Proffer]