Wine, culture, food, religion, wine… I’ll be honest. It was wine that brought us to Moldova, and wine that kept us keen. Every year, during the first weekend of October, this eastern European country hosts a wine festival to promote its (very tasty) wine.This year, protests forced a change in proceedings, and instead of setting up stalls in the main square, the organisers transported visitors to the wineries themselves, for tours, tastings, and special events.
We based ourselves in the capital city of Chișinău, and did day trips to small towns and wineries throughout the country. While wine logically held pride of place, we also enjoyed our visits to the breakaway republic of Transnistria and the northern town of Soroca, famous for its fortress.
Moldova once formed part of the USSR, and declared independence on its dissolution in 1991. Since then, it has been largely unnoticed by the rest of the world, but that’s starting to change. It signed an Association Agreement with the European Union in 2014 (causing problems with Russia) and is rapidly opening up. Budget flights even fly there now — so you have no excuse not to head there next October to take part in the wine festival.