History of CJSC “BUKET MOLDAVII”
CJSC “Buket Moldavii” dates back to the early 1920s, when the distillery (cooperative artel), was opened in Dubossary. The administration was located at that winery, it united a number of neighboring points of primary winemaking. The factory processed up to 5 thousand tons of grapes per season.
During the Great Patriotic War the factory suffered greatly, the property and the barrels were plundered. In 1946 the winery was rebuilt.
For a long time the Dubossary winery was the head enterprise of the regional association Moldindprom, and it produced fortified wines, wine distilled materials, grape table wines. Of the most striking achievements of the plant of those years, one can mention that of 1965, when over 40 thousand tons of grapes were processed over the season (therefore our winery gained the first place among the winemaking enterprises of the USSR), of which 12 thousand tons were processed at the central winemaking point in Dubossary.
Birth of Vermouth
Drinks of the Vermouth type, produced at that time by Moldindprom enterprises, did not stand out for their good quality; they were prepared mainly from low-grade wine materials and imported infusions. In 1966, by a special resolution of the Council of Ministers of the MSSR, the Dubossary winery was entrusted with the invention and thereafter production of high-quality aromatized wines, using our own infusions made from local raw materials.
At the beginning, the specialists of the factory took the task skeptically because of the prejudice against wines of the Vermouth type. However, the director of the winery, Nikolay P. Sergeev, foresaw the prospects in this direction. One of the steps of his non-traditional approach was the creation of an initiative group of winemakers. It included:
Evgenia I. Obukhova
Alexandra G. Zatsepina
Nadezhda A. Kozlova
Evgeny A. Zadorozhny
Philip N. Moskovchuk
Evdokia I. Svistunova
Grigory M. Semko
Valentina P. Popova.
Specialists of the Botanic Garden, the Academy of Sciences of the MSSR, the Moldavian Research Institute of Food Industry were involved in consulting work. The intense research and experiments lasted for several months, and the group managed to create a number of recipes for drinks, original in technology of production and unique in composition of spicy and aromatic ingredients. At the contest tasting held in the Ministry of Food Industry of the USSR, the best recipe was accepted as a prototype for the aromatized wine, which was given the name “Buket Moldavii”.
The new product was created impressively fast even by today’s standards. The resolution to produce aromatized wines was issued in February 1966, and in October that same year a trial batch of the wine was bottled, in festive atmosphere. The industrial lots in bottles 0.7 L went on sale in 1967.
The very first, legendary wine “Buket Moldavii” is still included in the assortment of products of the winery. Several wines were added to a series produced under the brand name “Buket Moldavii”, therefore the starting wine was renamed “Buket Moldavii Classic”.
The company announced call for proposals for new brands of aromatized wines – dessert, fortified, fruit and others. The contest game provided the issuance of cash bonuses. The building of initiative teams, as well as individual work, was encouraged. Thus several brands of aromatized wines were created: “Romaniţa”, “Toamna”, “Miros de Livade”, “Morning Dew”, “Fairy Tale”, “Dream”.
Recognition of the excellent quality of the Dubossary aromatized wines did not take long to wait – in 1968, at the VDNKh MSSR, the wines “Buket Moldavii” and “Romaniţa” were marked with high scores and diplomas. In 1970 “Buket Moldavii” and “Morning Dew” were awarded with silver medals at the World wine tasting in Yalta.
In 1968, on the basis of the winery and collective farm named after the “21st Congress of the CPSU”, the state farm-factory “Dubossarskiy” was established, it received the status of an experimental wine-making enterprise.
To provide its own raw materials, the plantations of medicinal herbs, spicy and aromatic botanicals were planted on the slopes of the Dniester River. A scientific and technical laboratory was opened at the factory, as well as special facilities were built: for processing herbs, preparing extracts from natural raw materials, producing aromatized wines, and a bottlery.
Our aromatized wines instantly found their admirers. Products under the brand name “Buket Moldavii” could be seen almost anywhere in the vast territory of the former USSR.
Such fame was due to the cooperation of the enterprise with other factories of Moldvinprom, located in Russia, Belarus, the Baltic States, and Ukraine. Our wine was shipped there in tanks for subsequent bottling. Thanks to the wide geography of the factories, the trademark “Buket Moldavii” received a huge popularity and advertising.
The figures are evident: 67 thousand deciliters of aromatized wines were produced in 1967, 175 thousand decaliters in 1970, 560 thousand decaliters in 1979, in 1985 – 1300 thousand decaliters. More than 500 thousand decaliters of aromatized wines “Buket Moldavii” and “Morning Dew” are annually bottled at the Dubossary winery.
By their technology and from the raw materials of the famous Italian companies “RICCADONNA”, “GANCIA”, “CINZANO” our winery produced Vermouth “Extra”.
A bottle of vintage wine “Buket Moldavii” in a souvenir box became the most desired and symbolic gift from sunny Moldova.
An important stage in the development of the factory is the work carried out in the early 1980s, bringing as close as possible the appearance of the aromatized wines “Buket Moldavii” to the classic design of the vermouth. The main merit belongs to the director of the factory, Evgeny F. Vishnevsky, who managed to persuade the leadership of the republic to organize production of specific glass bottles, to design and order labels from abroad, as well as to provide foreign currency to purchase the imported equipment.
In 1983, the Dubossary factory was the first winery in the USSR to produce aromatized wines in bottles of the Vermouth type with a capacity of 1 L. The products were bottled and decorated on the French unit “ANJU”. Our colorful labels caught fancy of the customers so that their design remained unchanged for 20 years.
Space is closer
A peculiar mark of fame, achieved by the enterprise and its products, is an example of the creation in 1976 of a beverage “Sănătate” (Moldovan word for “Health”) according to the requirement for development from the Central Designing Bureau of Experimental Machine-building (now S.P. Korolev Rocket and Space Corporation “Energia”) with participation of the Cosmonaut Training Center named after Yu. Gagarin. According to the content of biologically active, tonic, aromatic and nutritional substances, this balsam has no analogues among alcoholic beverages.
For several years the unique strong beverage “Sănătate” was produced exclusively for the Star City, and only in 1982 its industrial production was started. In the future, it was renamed into the balsam “Cosmic”.
Memories of Georgy Kozub (honored winemaker of Moldova and France, Corresponding Member of the ASM, Chairman of the Union of Producers and Exporters of Moldovan Wines, General Director of Imperial-vin JSC):
“When I worked as deputy minister of viticulture and winemaking, a man with a wonderful smile and two stars of the Hero of the Soviet Union on his chest – cosmonaut Georgy Grechko came into my office. He said that after the first flight into space he could not find his terrestrial form, until he gradually drank a bottle of Cabernet. When he flew into space for a second time, behind the inner shell of the ship for the crew, they hid two bottles of cognac, which they drank several grams per day. The astronauts managed to convince the Space Center to allow the expedition to consume alcohol in limited quantities. As a result, the task was set to create a high-calorie, high-energy product of small volume. Specialists said that could only be done in Moldova, and they spoke my name. In a result of the research, I, Evgeniya Obukhova (NGO “Ialoveni”), Georgy Grechko, and the representative of the Space Center Galina Nechitailo received the author’s certificate for the balsam “Sănătate”.
It is based on about 40 herbs and plants grown in the republic, except for Artemisia balchanorum, brought from the Turkmen mountains. But today it is grown near Dubăsari. The main component was eleuterococcus extract, which had a tonic effect, and grape juice of high concentration – for the caloric value of the product. It contained 50 % vol. of alcohol and 300 g/dm3 of sugar.
“Sănătate” had a small volume, and in space it could be drunk in half with water – to make the condition of dessert wine. If the latter is still diluted 50x50, one can get “table wine”.
The label was designed by cosmonaut Alexey Leonov.
The balsam was produced by a state farm and plant named after Dzerzhinsky (now “Buket Moldavii”). Later the product was renamed “Cosmic”. At first this product was produced exclusively by orders of the Space Center, and the cosmonauts spoke highly of it. Now “Cosmic” is sold in ordinary shops”.
In the 1990s, there were significant changes in the winery:
- on the irrigated lands of the state farm, new plantations of medicinal herbs, spicy and aromatic botanicals were created, among such plants were those previously harvested in the neighboring forests and fields or purchased in Russia, Ukraine;
- 124 hectares of vineyards were planted;
- the wine cellar for 300 thousand decaliters for dry wines storage was reconstructed, stainless steel tanks were installed;
- 2 wine storages (230 thousand decalitres each) for maturing of fortified wines were built. Since that year almost all ready wines “Buket Moldavii” are stored in closed premises in enameled containers, without being subjected to environmental shock;
- the cold processing of wines with the use of the “PADOVAN” refrigerating unit (capacity – 250 decaliters per hour) was completely upgraded;
- 3 Italian units for high-quality wine filtration were installed;
- the construction of a new roomy bottlery was completed;
- the bottlery was equipped with modern Italian units for filling wines into bottles of the Vermouth type with a capacity of 0.5 L – 1.0 L, which was dreamed of by more than one generation of the winemakers of the factory;
- the enterprise focuses its efforts on lifting the professional level of its specialists. For 3 years, 13 employees of the company have undergone training at the wineries of Italy, this country being trend-setter in the production of wines such as Vermouth;
- we mastered the technology of production of classical Italian vermouth, the design of the produced wines was put to the level of the world-famous vermouth-producers – “STOCK”, “MARTINI”, “CINZANO”;
- we advertise the wines produced by the factory and the town where the enterprise is located. Thanks to the use of our logo, the name of the wine series “Buket Moldavii” is now associated with the town of Dubossary.
The name of the company was changed several times:
Until 1968, it was the collective farm named after the 21st Congress of the CPSU, then – State farm “Dubossarskiy”.
1968 – Experimental state farm-factory “Dubossarskiy”.
1973 – Experimental state farm-factory named after Felix Dzerzhinsky.
1991 – State farm-factory “Buchetul Moldovei”.
11.01.2002 – State unitary winemaking enterprise “Buket Moldavii”.
04.07.2003 (to the present day) – Closed joint stock company “Buket Moldavii”.
- we produced a strong aromatized wine “Meadow”, infusions of ingredients for the beverage “Floarea Viei”, soft drinks “Suavitate”, “Grapevine”, “Kupalinka”. The last two were shipped to Belarus;
- in 1996 we stopped to produce wines “Buket Moldavii” in ordinary wine bottles with a capacity of 0.7 L. The range of products has been significantly expanded. The customers were offered the new brands of light semi-dessert aromatized wines “Buket Moldavii Extra” (white and red), white dessert wine “Buket Moldavii”, classic Italian licensed vermouths “STOCK”;
- in 1997 we created a recipe and started production of herbal tea “Buket Moldavii” #1;
in 1998 the factory launched a new series of alcoholic beverages – dessert liqueurs “She” and “New prize” on the basis of extracts from natural raw materials: fruits, berries, herbs. In 2007 the names of liqueurs were changed to “Quince”, “Walnut”; in 1999 our company started production of sweet infusion “Chokeberry”.
- in 2000 the first lots of Vermouth (white and red) entered the market;
- in 2001 there appeared the lots of new Vermouths (rosé and dry) meeting the taste of modern consumers and their idea of the traditional vermouth;
- in 2003 a line of new grape aromatized wines, “Lacrima Dea” (“Moscato”, “Fiore”, “Rosa”) appeared on the market. We started production of a series of sweet infusions (“Quince”, “Quince + rose”, “Quince + lemon”, “Quince + cinnamon”, “Quince + muscat”, “Ashberry”, “Ashberry + rose”, “Ashberry + cherry”, “Ashberry + currant”, “Ashberry + strawberry”);
- in 2004 the enterprise started producing dessert liqueurs “Bitter BM” and “Bitter + Apium”;
- in 2005 production of sweet fruit wines “Yakko quince”, “Yakko cherry”, “Yakko plum” was started. Our masters created the recipes according to which aromatized wines “Vermouth BM” (dry and white) were produced;
- in 2007 production of strong drinks “Air” and “BM”, brandy “Dubas” commenced. The same year the first eaux-de-vie were made at our own distillation unit “Bencovski”;
- in 2008 our company purchased oak barrels for aging eaux-de-vie. The first blend was prepared and the production of divin “Buket Moldavii” V.S. (3 years old) started;
- in 2009 we prepared the first blend and started producing divin “Buket Moldavii” V.S.O.P. (5 years old); there appeared a series of bitters “Quince”, “Walnut”, “Ashberry”, “Ashberry on divin”, “Walnut on divin”.
- in 2010 we created the recipes and started production of bitters “Slivovitz”, “Cherry”, “Pepper”, and special vodka “Horseradish”;
- in 2011 our company started production of dessert liqueur “Chokeberry”, special vodka “Zubrovka”, special vodka “Anisette”; we prepared the first blend and started producing divin “Buket Moldavii” V.S.O.P. (6 years old); the assortment of tea products was enriched with herbal tea “Buket Moldavii” #2 and herbal tea “Buket Moldavii” #3;
- in 2012 for the first time we bottled white dry wines Aligote, Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, and Sauvignon; our factory prepared the first blend and started producing divins “Golden Dniester” V.S.O.P. (6 years old) and “Golden Dniester” X.O. (7 years old); the premises for wine champagnization were built and equipped, sparkling semi-sweet white wine “Buket Moldavii” was produced;
- in 2013 we launched sparkling white brut wine “Buket Moldavii”;
- in 2014 the production of sparkling wine cocktail “Beatrice” (white and rosé), sparkling semi-sweet wine “Buket Moldavii Muscat” was produced according to the Italian technology Asti;
- in 2015 we created the recipe and started production of divins “Amber Castle” V.S. (3 years old) and “Amber Castle” V.S.O.P. (5 years old). A series of dessert liqueurs included “Quince”, “Walnut”, and “Ashberry” with reduced conditions. Our specialists produced and bottled dry wine “Dubossarskoe Red” blended from red grapes. We prepared the first blend and started production of divin “Vieux Fort” X.O. (8 years old);
- in 2016 a sparkling white brut wine was produced according the Italian technology Prosecco. The company created the recipes and produced balsams “Fernet Buket” and “Cosmonaut Leonov”;
- in 2017 a series of tea products was enriched with herbal tea “Buket Moldavii” #4.