Moldova won its independence with the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991. Its people are ethnically similar to the nearby Romanians. Wine has been a significant part of Moldovan culture for many centuries. The Moldovan economy relies heavily on wine exports to a number of countries, and also from wine tourism. The Guinness Book of World Records lists one of Moldova’s wine cellars, the Milesti Mici in Codru, as the world’s largest (with approximately one and a half million bottles). Codru is the biggest wine producing center, known for Fetească, Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, Traminer Rose and Cabernet Sauvignon, as well as sparkling wines and fortified wines.
The northern appellation of Balti produces mainly the white grape varieties Aligoté, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris, Fetească, and Traminer.
One of Moldova’s distinctive wines is the red blend Negru de Purkar from the district of Stefan Voda, combining Cabernet Sauvignon, the Georgian grape Saperavi, and the local Rară Neagră.
Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Riesling and Pinot Gris are among the international grapes prominently used in Moldovan wines. Indigenous whites include Fetească Albă, Fetească Regală, Plavai, and Busuioacă Albă. Local reds include the Rară Neagră used in Negru de Purcari and Fetească Neagră.