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Top New Wine Tourism Gems In East Europe

The modern world is dynamic and unpredictable. Due to all the present-day challenges, our budgets and travel plans are constantly changing. Though everyone would like to relax, at last, sitting somewhere on the sea beach or in a cozy chalet in the mountains with a glass of perfect wine. That is why enotourism nowadays is becoming more and more popular. 

You have a marvelous chance to get a lot of unforgettable travel emotions without spending a fortune. We want to tell you in this article about the unlimited wine tour options in the countries of Eastern Europe. 

Nevertheless, these opportunities are usually underestimated by many. Most tourists prefer to go to such old-world European countries as Italy, France, or Spain. Though, due to the unique natural conditions created by the virgin terrains amid the Black Sea, the Eastern Alps, and the Adriatic, Eastern European countries have outstanding viniculture traditions that remain undiscovered. These countries can boast the best products you will be delighted with and the most ancient traditions you would like to know about.

You may have never heard that Georgian wine production goes back to the most ancient times you can imagine, or that the Croatian one was served at the Royal Wedding of Prince Willam and Kate. Or have you ever known that Moldova has the largest cellars in the world, or that Hungarian wine has been rated for its quality according to the special wine classification system preceding Bordeaux as long ago as the 18th century?

We hope that the most fascinating tours across these Eastern European countries will bring you a lot of unforgettable emotions that will vividly stay in your mind for many years.

Enotourism in Moldova

Moldova is a small country, but it is one of the most outstanding wine producers in Europe. Its wine has already gained a lot of international awards. That is why it is a great tourist destination for those who want to learn the traditions of other people and enjoy their time tasting it with delicious dishes from a unique local cuisine.

History and Traditions

Moldova has long winemaking traditions which go back to 5000 BC. It flourished in the 15th century and became one of the main country’s export products. Wine is also a national drink in Moldova, and nowadays its production is estimated at an amazing 2 million hectoliters. Actually, it ranks as the 11th wine producing country in Europe despite its small size.

Proof of Top Quality

Since Moldovan wine is highly appreciated by its quality, its prominent wineries always gain a lot of awards at international contests. For example, the wines received 72 awards (including 2 grand golds and 35 golds) at the Mundus Vini Spring Tasting 2020 in Munich. Such masterpieces as Feteasca Neagra, Rara Neagra, and white Viorica gained the IWSC gold and silver medals in 2021.

Other award-winning products are:

  • Purcari, Cuvee De Purcari Brut 2018;

  • Purcari, Viorica de Purcari 2020;

  • Cricova, Cuvee Prestige Brut 2016;

  • Chateau Vartely, Feteasca Regala 2020, and some others.

When you are on a tour, it is worth trying these varieties.

Wine Tours

You can taste all varieties produced on 112,000 hectares of vineyards - red, rose, white, and sparkling ones. They are made of the most popular grapes, such as Sauvingnon, Cabernet, Riesling, or Chardonnay. There are also local varieties, and the most well-known of them are Feteasca Alba, Feteasca Regala, Viorica, and Rara Neagra.

As for enotourism, it is well-developed in the central and southern parts of the country where the most famous producers are located. This is Codru Region where Milestii Mici and Cricova are located. That is why the best way to enjoy your tours is to start in Chisinau, the capital of the country. 

You can see the process of wine making on day trips from there and can stay there overnight as lots of wineries also offer accommodation. The producers regularly hold tastings, so you will experience a lot of travel emotions paired with the most delicious wines and food. You can do it all year round and choose Moldova among other European winter destinations without making reservations 2-3 months ahead like in some West European countries:)

So visit the cellars with the accurate description of the process from professional guides. The Cellars of Milestii Mici  have the biggest collection - about 1.5 million bottles and are represented in the Guinness Book. Cricova, in its turn, stores around 1.3 million bottles and has underground galleries that extend for 120 kilometers so inside you will drive.

Festivals to Visit 

It is possible to go on a enotourism to this country whenever you like. However, if you visit it in September-October, you can attend the jolliest and most colorful event - National Wine Day. It is held in Chisinau at the beginning of October. You will have a great chance to taste various wines presented in one place, as well as to see folk dancing, listen to authentic music, and taste traditional Moldovan food.

There are some other festivals that play a direct role in the development of this kind of tourism. Here’s a short list of them:

  • Street Food & Wine Festival held at the end of May;

  • Gagauzia Wine festival held at the beginning of November;

  • Wine Vernissage that takes place twice per year, and others.

So guests from Europe, US and other countries can experience a lot of impressions from the tastiest local dishes, a lot of music and dancing, craft fairs, and, of course, tasting.

Enotourism in Hungary

Hungary is great for all kinds of tourist destinations, its breathtaking views, original cuisine, and rich cultural heritage. Wine making is one of the most interesting parts of it. You can come across old and new, big and small wineries everywhere here.

History and Traditions

The roots of wine making go deep into ancient times as the cultivation of grapes is believed to be brought to Pannonia (the ancient name of Hungary) by the Romans. That is why the region has had huge amounts of vineyards for centuries, and the tradition continues till nowadays.

Neither severe battles nor other political clashes influenced this development seriously. Tokaji, the most prominent group of Hungarian wine samples dates back as far as the 13th century and continues to constantly improve its quality.

All in all, there are 22 different regions that differ in the variety of grapes and wine making traditions. They are divided into seven larger areas and include the Balaton, Pannon, Eger, Duna (Danube), Eszak-Dunantul (North-Transdanubia), Tokaj, and Sopron. A few grape varieties that are well-known all over Europe, such as Ezerjo, Irsai Oliver, and Cserszegi Fűszeres, come from this country.

Proof of Top Quality 

Due to the highest standards, Hungarian wines have deserved recognition and a lot of awards during international exhibitions, shows and contests. The most famous Hungarian wine is Tokaji-Aszu. It is a dessert wine that was appreciated by royalty and clergy all over Europe before the end of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. 

Nowadays, the country produces high-end dessert wines alongside more affordable dry ones. As proof of mastery, Hungary won 21 medals at the International Wine and Spirits Competition (IWSC) last year. It also gained 5 platinum, 12 gold, 40 silver, and 66 bronze medals at in 2020. The most often awarded is Juliet Victor Edes 2017. It is a sweet one produced in the Tokaj region.

Wine Tours

The prominent quality of Hungarian wines provided the development and popularity of different wine tour options. They usually include a visit to the specific vineyard region, walking through the local cellars, and tasting the most outstanding wine brand products.

Some tours can take a day, and some last for a week to help tourists gain a more considerable view of the region, vine types that are cultivated there, the wine making process, and a lot of customs related to it. You will have a perfect chance to get immersed in the culture and spirit of the entire location. 

The most astounding products worth trying are Meinklang Foam Vulkan Pet Nat 2019, produced by the well-known Michlits family, and Chateau Dereszla Tokaji Dry Furmint 2018.

No wonder this kind of tourism flourishes in the country, especially in its capital which provides a multitude of opportunities for those who are eager to learn more about the most interesting wine region of Buda. The majestic Buda castle features a lot of historic cellars that have been properly restored to their original appearance and use.

You can also visit Etyek as another part of the Etyek-Buda area. It is located not far from Budapest. You may opt for more chamber-like tours without large groups of people to smaller local wineries. For example, in the Tokaj region, you can visit wineries like Portius, Oremus, Sauska, or family-owned local farms.

Festivals to Visit

It is impossible to imagine wine tourism here without the whole range of gastronomic events and festivals. These events are especially popular among both prominent and new-coming wineries and tourists who want to enjoy cultural traditions, craft markets, workshops, and artistic performances. 

Such festivals include:

  • Budapest Wine Festival;

  • Budafolk Sparkling Wine and Wine Festival;

  • Szeged Wine Festival;

  • Balatonfured Wine Weeks;

  • Egri Bikaver Celebration;

  • Etyeki Piknik (held four times per year);

  • Rosalia;

  • Miskolc Avasi Borangolas and the Wine;

  • Shine Ben Nye Festival in the Tokaj region.

Enotourism in Croatia

As a wine producing country, Croatia has become famous for the last decade, though these perfect beverages had been made for many centuries. That is why the country is a hotspot for enotourism these days.

History and Traditions

Long centuries of Croatian wine making history add a lot to the quality of these beverages. They may not be known to the wider world, though having a great wine tasting holiday is one of the best tourist options in Europe. While preserving their ancient traditions, Croatian makers have recently developed some innovative products that have already gained international recognition. 

Croatia can boast more than 130 indigenous varieties of grapes that provide a lot of tasting opportunities and a wide range of Croatian wine options. The natural conditions with the Adriatic Sea and the rugged terrains makes the vines reveal their rich and complex taste qualities as in the best strong red wine Dingac coming from Plavac Mali.

Proof of Top Quality

Due to their uniqueness, many Croatian samples have won awards at the Decanter International Wine Challenge and at Balkans International Wine Competition. The most awarded products that represent Croatia to the world are:

  • Miraz Frankovka;

  • Skaramuca Dingac;

  • Plavac Ploski;

  • Plavac Hvar;

  • Vina Caric Cesaria.

While some of them are products of traditional Croatian wineries, others are newly developed or restored from old recipes.

Wine Tours

The centers of production are the territory near Zagreb, all the islands up to Istria, and the Dalmatian Coast - so you can mix your wine tour with European winter sun on Adriatic coast and neigbouring islands. The most popular destinations for enotourism are Hvar Island and Peljesac Peninsula. The former is a UNESCO site, and it hosts the most prominent vineyard in the world, Stari Grad Plain.

By the way, Zinfandel, which is the most loved by Americans, originates from this marvelous country. Here, it is known as Crljenak Kastelanski.

The best ones worth trying while you are visiting the country are Skaramuca Plavac Mali 2017 and Kosovec Sklret 2017.

Alongside red Dingac, you can also taste white Posip, and the most popular Malvasia. The taste depends on the region where the vines grow. During the peak season, tours to vineyards that offer both learning the process of wine production and tasting are quite popular. You can also visit the country in winter, but you will need to book the visit, and most wineries will be happy to accommodate you.

Be sure that wine and food are presented together here, so you will have a great chance to taste the freshest local seafood, traditional grilled meat, and sweet figs. The most famous destination is Istria. The regional products offered to tourists here include black and white truffles, wild asparagus, prosciutto, and olive oil. If you are an oyster lover, you can visit Ston for the finest oysters ever but in any case enjoy gastronomic orgasm from Croatia cuisine every day!

Festivals to Visit

If you are planning a wine tour in Croatia and want to learn more about the traditions and culture, visit one of the most popular yearly festivals. They are:

  • Vinistra - the most important and exciting event for producers, industry experts, and tourists;

  • St. Vincent’s Day (the Saint that is considered a patron of vineyards and wineries);

  • Dubrovnik FestiWine that is the most important event for tourism promotion in the south of the country;

  • Diocletian’s Wine Cellars, held in May and providing an exciting historic and cultural experience.

Enotourism in Georgia

History and Traditions

Maybe just a few people know that Georgia (together with Armenia) is a cradle of winemaking in the world. It started as long ago as 6,000 BC when people discovered that, while stored in a shallow underground pit for winter, grape juice turned into a certain substance with specific qualities. The fact that this way of producing Georgian wine is in use these days. The vessels buried in the pit are called qvevris, and they are made of clay.

There is another Georgian way of making it. It is applied to produce a white variety of it and uses skin maceration for a tannic flavor.

Every Georgian will tell you that their land is blessed by God, and it is really so. The ground is rich in minerals and underground springs supply a lot of moisture to vineyards. The soft and moderate climate that is a result of the influences from the Black Sea and the Caucasus Mountains adds a lot to it. 

There is a nice tradition related to consumption. It is toasting. People drink the first toast to God, and then for their motherland and the passed relatives. You cannot drink any drop of it on your own but need to wait for the toast.

Proof of Top Quality

No wonder the high quality of Georgian wine has been highly appreciated in Europe and around the world. About 20 Georgian producers received the highest recognition with gold, silver, and bronze medals at the International Wine Challenge competition in 2021. Among them, you can see Kindzmarauli Marani Kakhuri 2013. It also received the Georgian White Trophy.

Wine Tours

If we speak about Georgian wine, we are likely to associate it with Kakheti. It is the most well-known wine-making area in Georgia that produces 70% of all wines in this country. The region is located about a 2-hour drive from Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia. It is full of vineyards and local producers where you can see the entire process of picking grapes and making wine, as well as experience tasting surrounded by magnificent views of the Caucasian Mountains.

The most popular are:

  • Shumi in Tsinandali where you can ramble around the vineyards and see over 400 grape varieties grown there;

  • Mosmieri which was built in 2015;

  • Khareba which is the largest one in Georgia built in 1955 inside the rock with a series of long tunnels;

  • Chavchavadze Estate, the former summer place of an outstanding Georgian prince and poet Alexander Chavchavadze, alongside the winery and a cellar features the museum.

The country is great for tourism owing to its gorgeous nature, delicious cuisine, one of the cheap ski areas in Europe and deeply routed wine-making traditions. While visiting Kakheti and other destinations, you are recommended to try semi-sweet Kindzmarauli, dry white Tsinandali or dry red Mukuzani. All of them are perfect.

Festivals to Visit 

No enotourism is more attractive than if it is accompanied by visiting beautiful wine festivals. Georgia is not an exception.

You can attend:

  • New Wine Festival held in Tbilisi in November;

  • WinExpoGeorgia to discover the best wines under one roof;

  • Rtveli, is the harvest festival that evokes unforgettable travel emotions.

The development of tourism related to wine and food is an outstanding feature of present-day Georgia. Long tables are laid for guests, and churchkhela is served at any festivity. It is a walnut or hazelnut candy made with the use of grape juice. Folk music and dance are also a part of any celebration. Georgian multi-voice songs are well-known all over the globe.


From now on you know that it is worth opting for an East European destination while choosing where to go for your next wine tour. Such countries as Croatia or Hungary can become a great discovery. If you want to try any Georgian wine or probably prefer a Moldovan one, it is better to taste them immediately on the site in these countries. Even if these iteriaries are not as famous as those in France, Italy, or Spain, their products are of the best quality. Moreover, you can get them for a pretty affordable price. The best proof of the excellent quality are the international awards these wines have gained at prestigious shows and contests. 

However, the best way to learn something is to experience it, so just start planning your trip to Moldova, Georgia, Croatia and Hungary with TravelEmotions!