Every nation has its own “dowry”. For the Moldovan people the bunch of grapes people is that “pearl” with a value unfading through the years. That is why the appearance of the National Wine Festival in Moldova has been a very bright and important event. Every year on the second Sunday of October there the most living and generous drink in the world will be praised.
Festival of “green wine” are held in many wine-producing regions, where winemaking has its own traditions, customs, and history delving into the depths of the centuries. We have things of which one can be proud, such that wine and vineyards and Moldova are indivisible. It is no accident that the shape of Moldova on the map is similar to a bunch of grapes.
In Moldova (especially in the rural parts) it isn’t possible to find a courtyard with no vineyards and where wine isn’t produced.
There the secrets of winemaking have come sown through the ages.
Special instruments and items for wine production appeared in Moldovain the middle ages: the “crama” – Moldovan winery, the “teask” – wine-making press, and the “bechuri” – wine cellars. Peasants and townsmen stored wine in earth vaults (“bordeys”) – overlapping holes, and rich people – in deep cellars with stone arcs.
The grapes were pressed in a special wooden washtub – the “uluk”. The technique of winemaking and viticulture, of course, was primitive in these times. The wooden plow with the iron plowshare, the shovel, knives for vine cutting, and wooden washtubs (uluks) where the grapes were pressed by wooden pitchforks and feet.
The pulp was left for several days to ferment and the mash was purred into barrels for further fermentation. In boyar and monastic households wooden pressed (teasks) were used to wring out the pulp and cellars for storage.
Up until 1359 when the Moldovan feudal state was formed, wine-making and viticulture were widespread. The ruler Stephen the Great paid special attention to the import of high-quality seedlings and good wine production. To supply the governing court with intoxicating drink, large areas of vineyard were needed and well-adjusted winemaking and cellar facilities. These were provided by a special staff, managed by Paharnik the Great (from the Moldovan “pahar” – a glass)… “He serves the first cup of wine to the prince of holidays and manages the winemaking staff and princely vineyards”, - Dmitry Cantemir wrote.
The Moldovan governor liked the invigorating drink. Before each of his 35 battles Stephen the Great drank a glass of wine, which become a talisman for the military leader.
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