Wine Fest in Moldova

So, there’s this great event every year in the capital, and last year I missed it because I was sick.  This year, however, I wasn’t missing wine fest for the world.

Basically, a whole bunch of wineries in Moldova line up as part of an exhibition and let you taste their wine.  They’re trying to sell bottles, so there is a purpose, and it’s great because we get to sample a variety of amazing Moldovan wine.

At one end of the festival, there’s a big food tent with grilled meat to purchase.  At the other, the entrance, local artisans come out and line their tables up in hopes of making a few sales.  I may have given them some business in my pursuit of Moldovan souvenirs.

We also bought a few bottles of great Moldovan wine.  Saving them for special occasions.  Fun fact: did you know the largest wine cellar in the world is actually in Moldova?  Just a hop, skip and jump away from where I live…

Here’s some photos and video of our afternoon at Wine Fest.  You’ll notice my roommate got pulled into a mean rendition of the “hora,” which, as I explained earlier in my blog, is a traditional Moldovan dance.  After that, people just broke out dancing everywhere.  The wine…may have been a contributing factor in that.

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It’s that season in Moldova!  Families are harvesting their grapes and making house wine to sell and drink for the next year.  I hadn’t had the chance to make wine yet, so I went down to another volunteer’s village, where his host family made about 4 tons of wine last year.

I don’t think the grape harvest was as plentiful this year, but it sure looked like a lot of grapes to me!  I helped for an evening, and then we went over to visit family friends and celebrate a birthday.  I also watched as the volunteer’s host mom plucked and prepared the chicken for dinner.  Lots of fun.

I did learn, however, that one should be very careful when consuming new wine.  If the wine hasn’t fermented all the way yet, it may taste fine going in, but it is quite unpleasant coming out…either of two ends.  I’ll let you make the connection.  I spent the next few days in a bit of pain (my poor American digestive system is not used to all these Moldovan traditions), but it was worth it.  Maybe I’ll get another chance to go down and spend a few days helping later this month.

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So you’ll see in the photos above…the grapes (fermenting) are put into that big metal tin.  Then we drain the tin through the spigot at the bottom and pour into buckets, filtering the wine with a colander.  Then we take the “filtered” wine and pour it into the big brown barrel (sees in the picture of me and host mom with the half-plucked chicken…it’s got a cork in it).  Just one step in the process!