Moldova not only grows lots of grapes and makes lots of wine, it also has the largest wine collection (over 2 million bottles) in the Country owned winery called Mileștii Mici. The winery was built in 1969 from the tunnels of a limestone mine and has over 200 KM of space underground to house wine. The galleries contain wine from the winery as well as private collections. The underground cellars are the perfect temperature and humidity level to store wine.
During the summer, I went with other volunteers on a tour and tasting. We rode in a rutiera (small bus) through the tunnels to visit the various galleries. The streets in the tunnels are named after wine varieties and as we drove, we passed many extra large wooden barrels. We stopped by a set that was near a water fall (photo of me by the barrels below). We then visited several cellars; I was fascinated by the curving walls, small “caves”, random art and beautiful tasting table. There was also a secret room where wine was stored when in the 1980s the USSR put in place an alcohol ban in which vineyards and wines were destroyed.
After our tour, we were led back to the main tasting room and shared a small tasting of three of the wines. There were beautiful wood carvings in the tasting rooms but I was not able to find out any information about them.
If you would like to read more about the history of wine in Moldova, I found this interesting website that gives more details: This History of Wine Making in Moldova