Adrian Trofim, CEO Castel Mimi: “In the beginning we tried to be the first to follow the trends, but with time, we decided that Castel Mimi should be the one to create them”

October 7, 2022

From the beginning we tried to be “one of the…” We followed the market and tried to adapt our products to its requirements. At some point we decided that we would make our own way, and now we have unique things that Castel Mimi offers. Wines with histories and meaning, unique blends and even “revolutionary” products.

The advent of Animaliens Wine has changed the attitude of competitors to the shelf. At the time we appeared, in our neighbourhood, in the same price category there were sometimes oxidised wines, which you haven’t seen for years. So was the bold style of the label, which was also taken up. The fact that some players on the market are “inspired” by us proves the correctness of our steps.

In the market there are standards of a certain type of wine. We avoid these clichés and produce wines that do not compete with these standards, creating our own style. Unquestionably, the main component of every experiment is profitability and not just personal satisfaction.

“Mimi Castle is a modern vision of our culture”

“Contrast is the recipe for Mimi Castle’s success. A wine castle about 130 years old, which has kept its façade and courtyard architecture, and straight in front of it a glass cube and other modern buildings. Lots of terracotta in front of the castle and full of greenery behind it. So is the pond. Rhythmic music plays in its area, and when you swim underwater, you’re surrounded by classical music.

We didn’t try to invent something new or bring in any elements of some foreign culture, which is fashionable here from time to time. It was decided to come up with a modern vision of our culture. The famous Italian architect Arnaldo Tranti travelled all over Moldova for a month looking for traditional elements of our nation. Through archives, peasant houses, gates and carpets, traditions and legends. That’s why we got the effect that this castle seems too majestic, but when you get inside it’s very, very cosy. The elements of the interior feel like childhood memories of what you used to see at grandmothers’ houses.

“Our wine speaks to those who consume it, telling the legend of the nation from seven thousand years ago to the present day”

Good wine is first and foremost about communication. We believe that a good wine should be as meaningful as it tastes. That’s why virtually every one of our wines has a history of creation, a name and a symbol that characterises them, left to us by the Cucuteni civilisation.

For example – the Sfăditele of Mimi Castle. A pairing of an intense Black Feteasca and a fragrant Black Rara. It was hard to get a perfect coupage. At one point we even had a situation where we had to withdraw some of the wine, because the varieties “tipped in the bottle”. The perfect coupage didn’t succeed us until 2019 and since then this wine is called Sfăditele, and the Cucuteni period sign on it is the sign of reconciliation, a kind of Yin and Yang of the peoples of these territories.

And such stories tell a good part of our classic wines, like Hysteria, Sânzienele, or Frati, a fifty-fifty coupage of my sister Cristina Frolov’s and my favorite poblano varietals. Through such stories, a bottle of Castel Mimi wine gives those who have met a new topic of discussion.

“For us, the sustainability of the Mimi Castle business goes further than just a PR exercise about the surface on which we have installed photovoltaic panels”

The sustainability part of the business became a priority for us right from the launch of Castel Mimi six years ago. For several years now we have not used plastic on the castle grounds, all the crockery is made of wood or ceramic, the glasses used, including at events with thousands of people, exclusively of glass, even the barrels we recycle by turning them into plates that we use in the restaurant.

Very important for us is the direction of organic wine production. The first step is the vineyard, several hectares of which are now in transition.

This year’s National Wine Day at Mimi Castle was the first event run exclusively on renewable energy. The same will be true for the next ones. In the shortest possible time we will start replacing the fleet of cars with electric ones and, likewise, expanding and re-technologising the production process.

An example for us are the Nordic countries, some of which are major exporters of oil and gas and cover their energy consumption almost entirely from renewable sources.

“Continued penetration of new markets is vital for Moldovan winemakers”

A good proportion of Moldova’s major winemakers remain on their own, even though the declared support for the industry is apparently increasing. Winemakers take part in the world’s biggest winemaking exhibitions, boasting hundreds of medals. They try to stand out, competing against the most famous wine-producing countries.

At the same time, opportunities are being ignored that would propel the industry at the speed of light. Sales of Georgian wines to China have increased by 3000% since the signing of a free trade agreement between the countries. Now 80% of Georgian wine exports go to China at a minimum price of €2.5 per bottle.

Unlocking new markets should be the priority mission of organisations that promote the interests of winemakers, not how to divide up the seats and trophies at National Wine Day.

“The priorities for the next five years are largely about regional development, with the Castel Mimi business maintaining its growth momentum”

In the next year we will open 22 numbers in Castel Mimi hotel and the only Wine SPA in the Republic of Moldova. In the coming months we will launch a limited edition sparkling wine, but we are also looking at expanding the product range of Bulboaca Distillery. The main export plans are to expand sales in Canada and North America, and to strengthen our position in Asia, especially Japan.

As of this year, one of the main medium and long term goals is regional development, initially in Bulboaca and Speia, where we operate, and later on in the whole region. Through the Mimi Castle Foundation, of which Cristina Frolov is President, we are laying the foundations for a tourism development strategy in this region. A series of actions that would attract new tourists, create the premises for tourists to spend more time here, new small businesses to emerge, and on this background to attract new investors. An ambitious but achievable plan.