Domeniile Pană – an attractive family wine business for tourists in the south of Moldova

  • News
  • Rural development
24 March 2023
Visits: 188

Domeniile Pană is a family-owned wine business that has sparked attention among consumers thanks to a “special philosophy” of Nicolae Minciună, the owner of the business, who has 20 years of professional experience in winemaking. Born in Slobozia Mare, Cahul district, where winemaking is a big part of the locals’ main occupation, Nicolae has become familiar with different wine production techniques from an early age.m. After completing his studies in wine technology, he gained valuable experience as a winemaker working for several years in wineries from Moldova, Romania and New Zealand. Combining the knowledge he gathered from ancestors, teachers and world-renowned wineries, Nicolae decided to return home and open a small wine business.

Winemaking has been associated with Moldova and its traditions since ancient times, mainly due to the climatic conditions and the composition of the soil, which favor the growth of vines. Even if the specificity of the country encourages the development of this industry, the winemaking business requires a lot of investments. “In our ‘winemakers’ world’ we often say that winemaking is a business where billionaires become millionaires,” Nicolae laughed. If in other fields, one can receive an income shortly after producing the consumables, in winemaking it takes several years. “If you have plantations or invest in animal husbandry, you can sell the product after a year. In winemaking, if you plant vines, you see the result in 4 or even 5 years. If you produce wine by buying grapes and investing in machinery, you also must wait for years, because quality wines require aging,” explained Nicolae.  

In order to develop the business, the owner of Domeniile Pană winery applied for financial support from Lunca Prutului de Jos Local Action Group (LAG), which had implemented several projects in the region. For the implementation of the project “The Wine Road – Beleu Lake Micro-Area”, the Minciună family received 15,000 MDL from the LAG and contributed their own investment in value of 13,000 MDL. They managed to renovate the cellar and to set up the access road to the wine processing and storage section.  

Domeniile Pană – a family wine business 

Nicolae believes that a business can be successful only when you have the support of your family. He happily recounted that after launching the business, his wife Ina had taken over the promotion of the winery and other organizational aspects, while his mother, a third-generation chef, delighted visitors with traditional dishes specific to the area: “It can’t be a business focused only on one aspect – wine production. To build a strong family business, it’s important that everyone in the family gets involved. If I was alone, I would have developed only the product: wine and vines. But Ito have a harmonious development, we need to invest effort in every aspect is important.”  

The Minciună family often attends local producers’ fairs. There they can promote themselves, organize wine tasting sessions and sell their products. Nicolae believes that it is precisely through local producers’ fairs that it is possible to educate consumers and promote local products: “An important aspect would be for the local population to prioritize small winemakers when buying wine. Local wines, all local products should be a priority. Large producers always have the advantage of reaching a wider public, including abroad. It is more difficult for a small winemaker to access a foreign market because he does not have such a large production”. 

Attracting tourists in the south of Moldova 

One of the things that makes the Domeniile Pană winery stand out is that they produce wines in the “low intervention” style that is minimally invasive. Nicolae always explains to visitors that he uses a “special philosophy” when making wine: he just directs the processes, without drastically intervening and changing the structure of the wine. In this way, he tries his best to bring out the characteristics of the area, which is special because of the microclimate and the nearby lake, without using bricks or other ways of modifying the taste. 

Following the improvements made thanks to the project, favorable conditions were created to receive visitors. Thus, Domeniile Pană has managed to attract tourists both from Moldova and abroad. At the end of August 2022, the winery hosted a group of bloggers, who were fascinated by the uniqueness of the wines and the food: “In the south, we like our tastes to be more concentrated, including wine, food. Everything is more concentrated, more vibrant, more alive, because of the terroir.  The same goes for the tastings we do, because we always emphasize our belonging to the area and the beautiful views,” Nicolae said.  

The project is implemented within the EU—LEADER Flagship Initiatives Fund 2020, of the “LEADER approach for rural prosperity in Moldova” project, financed by the European Union and Polish Aid, managed by Solidarity Fund PL in Moldova and National LEADER Network in the Republic of Moldova. Strategic partner — the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Industry.


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