Private Wine Tasting at Massandra Palace and Winery
- Massandra Palace: Designed to emulate a Louis XIII chateau, this glorious palace was once the home of Alexander III of Russia, and later a dacha for Josef Stalin.
- Massandra Winery: This castle-like building with iron gates is the region's largest winery. Tour cellars that contain more than a million bottles and see how these famous wines are created.
- Private wine tasting: This winery produces a range of reds and whites, but the regional specialty is sweet wines such as Madeira, sherry, muscatel, and port.
About This Yalta Tour
It was built for a prince, summer home for a czar, and holiday residence for the likes of Stalin, Khrushchev, and Brezhnev. Now you can visit Massandra Palace – and another era. Beautifully restored with fine art and furniture, it's been a museum since the 1990s, but one step through its impressive doors and you enter the grandeur of the 1890s.
Nearby Massandra Winery was built in 1894 to produce wines for the czar's palace. Although they couldn't have imaged the future, the cellar masters toiled for years to bore seven tunnels, each almost 500 feet long, deep into the granite mountainside. The temperature in these massive cellars stays around 54 degrees Fahrenheit – perfect storage conditions.
They built it and the wine came. In 1922, after the Russian Revolution, Stalin ordered all the wine from the new Soviet Union's many former imperial palaces to be stored in the Massandra cellars. Today it is one of the world's largest and most rare wine collections, with some bottles still bearing the czar's double-headed eagle seal. This impressive cellar holds more than a million bottles.
And over the years, Crimea has earned a spot on the world's wine map. With 300 days of intense Black Sea sun annually, the region produces a huge harvest of sweet grapes. Massandra is especially known for its fortified and dessert wines – both those they make now and the famous bottles in its cellars. One of those vintages, the Massandra Sherry 1775, was declared Europe's oldest wine. But you won't be tasting that one. The bottle was auctioned at Sotheby's London for $43,500.
Gorby's dry spell
From 1985 to 1987, Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev waged a campaign to curb the country's notoriously high rates of alcohol abuse and addiction. During the period of the so-called the "dry laws," vineyards all over the Soviet Union were uprooted. Fortunately, a special 1936 law had put some wineries under state protection, and Massandra's was saved.
Please make your way to the Square in front of cruise terminal to meet your guide. Look for our displayed logo sign. Staying at a hotel? Be sure to advise us so we can meet you in the lobby.
Shop at the Winery for various local wines. Remember rubles only are accepted. The minimum drinking age is 21 years of age or older. Bring photo ID to prove your age if asked.
About .25 miles of walking is required but there are 77 steps up and down at Massandra Winery that can be challenging. Expect cobblestones. If you have limited mobility or use a wheelchair, this tour is not suitable for you.
Cultural, Food & Wine, Scenic, Bus Tour
English, Russian, German, French
Tour Participation Requirements
This experience is rated moderate. Full participation may require extended periods of walking over even and uneven surfaces, steep terrain and/or water activity in a slight current. There may be steps, inclines, cobblestone surfaces, and extended periods of standing. Participants with physical limitations should take this into account.
To participate on this tour, you must be at least 5 years of age. If you are under 21 years of age, you cannot samples the wines. The minimum drinking age in Yalta is 21 years old.
Special Medical Restriction
If you have problems with your knees or climbing up/down steps, this may not be a suitable tour for you.
Full refunds issued for cancellations made 7 full days prior to the date and time of requested services. Cancellations made within the 7-day and 72-hour window will receive a 50% refund of purchase total. Purchases are non-refundable inside of 72 hours.
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