Cricova is a national treasure and the most well known wineries in Moldova. Cricova boasts nearly 120 km of underground tunnels that are large enough for vehicles to drive through. At the deepest point, the tunnels are 100 m below the ground. The tunnels were created when limestone blocks were excavated to help build Chisinau. It was converted into an underground wine cellar in the 1950s. The natural limestone helps to maintain a constant temperature of 12-14 C (54-57 F) and humidity of 97-98%, creating optimal conditions for storing wine. Half of the tunnels in the cellar are used for this purpose. The tunnels are named after the wines kept there.
Cricova has a huge collection of more than 1 million vintage wines, including French, Italian, and Spanish wines, and samples from many other countries. Cricova also has a more limited collection of rare and unique wines, some of which are owned by famous people such as Russian President Vladimir Putin. The oldest wine is from 1902, Jewish Easter Wine, and the oldest bottle of liqueur, Yan Bekher Liqueur, is from the same year. Nazi General Goring’s private collection of wine is also there; brought to Moldova by the general during WW II to be close to him at the Eastern front.
At the heart of the cellar are lavishly decorated themed banquet halls and tasting rooms, all recently renovated. Here guests can enjoy fine white, rosé, and red wines, old collection wines, and sparkling wines, the pride of the winery. Cricova is the largest sparkling wine producer in Moldova, making it according to the traditional champenoise method. Cricova offers daily tours and tastings for visitors. Tour packages range from basic tastings with simple snacks to large tastings with a full meal and souvenir. It is difficult to visit unannounced, so guests should book their visit in advance. However, the winery recently opened a new restaurant, Orasul Subterean, that accepts walk-in guests.