winos to be?
Today marks the second month since our arrival in Chisinau. We should probably crack open a bottle of Moldovan wine to celebrate.
When we found out that we were Chisinau-bound, a friend sent us an article, which on dubious authority declared Moldovans to be the hardest-partying people in Europe. The evidence in support of this assertion was a chart of per capita alcohol and cigarette consumption, which showed Moldova well ahead of its neighbors. Compared to what we’ve seen in our travels, Moldovans do not appear to smoke noticeably more than other Europeans. It’s also a bit hard to make declarative statements about drinking habits, having arrived so recently, but it is true that wine and cognac tend to be the two items most foreigners mention as soon as Moldova comes up in conversation.
Given Moldova’s small tourist industry, we get the sense that we’ll be sharing a lot of wine-related pictures over the next two years. Already, we have attended several wine tastings, one of which was sponsored by the Embassy during a Hail & Farewell celebration to welcome newcomers and bid adieu to families departing post. We also recently visited Purcari, a vineyard in the country’s southwest region whose unique negru de Purcari wine famously won a gold medal at the 1878 Paris Wine Exhibition. S did not partake in Purcari’s ten-wine degustation, for obvious reasons, but she enjoyed the tranquil countryside, and we’ll likely go back next summer.
This past weekend was Moldova’s annual Wine Festival — a celebration of the plentiful grape harvest and an opportunity for the country’s many vineyards to showcase their wares. The festival took place less than a month after Russia, which imports a sizable percentage of Moldovan wines, announced a ban on Moldovan spirits. Russia cited health concerns, though commentators tend to see the ban as a political move to pressure Moldova against taking steps towards European integration.
We missed the Wine Fest, as we were traveling in Ukraine. S wasn’t too sad, as she would not have been able to partake fully. If we take at face value the advice of the few new moms we know, there will likely be plenty of wine in our near future anyway.