The biggest cellars in the whole world are, with no doubt, situated in Cricova, Moldova, only a few kilometers north of Chisinau.
Here, underground lies a real city of wine – with wide streets, warehouses, tasting-rooms and so on. In the underground streets like “Cabernet”, “Feteasca”, “Pinot”, buses of tourists find their way to the cellars.
The total length of the underground galleries in Cricova exceed 60 kms, and the constant annual temperature is +12 oC. With an average humidity of 97-98% these are perfect conditions for keeping some 30.000.000 liters of high quality wine.
In Moldova only Cricova cellars employs the strict classic French technology of champagne wine production. So Cricova is a highlight of any visit to Moldova.
The “Grand Cellars of Cricova” house a varied collection of wines, The National Oenotec. The unique exhibits (“Jerusalem of Easter” vintage 1902, the liqueur “Jan Becher” vintage 1902) together with other 158 brands from Burgundy, Moselle, Tokay, the Rhine, are in the collection of the establishment as well as of Moldova in general, comprising nowadays a total of about 1.3 million bottles. Among those are the trophies of the Second World War, which include wines from the collection of Hermann Göring. After the Soviets seized his private wine collection, a part of it was transferred to Crimea and the rest was brought to Cricova.
Legend has it that in 1966 cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin entered the cellars, re-emerging (with assistance) two days later. Russian president Vladimir Putin celebrated his 50th birthday there.
The territory used to be a mine for limestone, a building material. In some branches excavation is still active, so the cellar is still growing.