Gramofon Inn, a hotel, but also a museum and / or gallery

by Wines of Romania
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Gramofon Wine has just expanded its accommodation capacity, adding to the 5 cottages – already well-known to the cellar’s friends – a 16-room mini-hotel set up on the abandoned remnants of the building where the day laborers were housed during the former Mocesti Farm No.9. Thus, we score a new attraction and an enotouristic option in the most dynamic area of Romanian wine, Dealu Mare.

Gramofon Inn, a small but important step for wine tourism

In big cities, hotels and guesthouses pop up like mushrooms after rain and close almost as quickly, we hardly notice them, let alone dedicate an article to them. So why would we be interested in a small hotel, with 16 rooms, in a semi-obscure village, Mocesti, from the commune of Iordacheanu? Well, we could count dozens of reasons, from sustainable development to the need for wine lovers to stay overnight after a tasting, from the almost chronic lack of accommodation in the most dynamic wine region of Romania to the potential of wine tourism to attract foreign tourists, who could become ambassadors of Romanian wine. You get the idea, the more places to sleep near vineyards, the better for everyone.

More than just a pillow at the end of the day: art at Gramofon Inn

But this hotel has something more: it is in the courtyard of Gramofon Wine, as you probably guessed. And that means that Marcel Vulpoi, one of the two owners of the cellar, couldn’t help but stick his nose in – you’ve had the opportunity to meet through our podcasts, interviews, and articles before. And where there’s Vulpoi, there’s art, right? Yes, there is, even at the same level of a gallery, or even a museum.

You might have had the chance to see, on the Gramofon Wine Facebook page, the mural painting made by Kata Rudakova on the hotel facade. In short, Kata Rudakova is a top scenographer from Kiev, where she works with the Bravo and Ivan Franko theaters, but she is also an internationally recognized painter.

"She had two exhibitions here, before the war started, that’s when we met. As you enter The Great Hill, there’s a Bacchus, a large Dionysus – she painted it," says Marcel Vulpoi. Initially, the facade project was supposed to be given to a student from the National University of Arts in Bucharest, but the 15 works that competed were clearly surpassed by Kata’s project. "She immediately understood what we wanted, probably also because of her theater experience, all the sets she has worked on so far have been helpful," says Vulpoi. One thing is certain, you will be greeted at the cellar by a semi-bucolic, slightly art-nouveau illustration, with coopers, young grape pickers, foxes emerging from the vineyard, and gramophone horns stuck in wine barrels.

However, the interior will take the idea of art to a whole new level.

Museum? Gallery? Gramofon Inn!

First of all, each of the 16 rooms will be dedicated to a contemporary painter. "And it will have original works, not framed copies like in two-star hotels. We will have the Ilfoveanu room, Dumitru Macovei, Chirnoaga," says Marcel Vulpoi. In the hallways, in showcases, the passion for music of the other associate, Marcel Pascu, will leave its mark. "We have already started to buy old musical instruments, even from the 19th century or older, precious instruments, which will be exhibited in the hallways, like in a museum," Vulpoi adds.

About the odyssey from ruins to hotel-museum-gallery, Marcel Vulpoi tells the story: "If we calculate, the costs of refurbishment go up to around 1,000 euros per square meter. Well, think that here were rooms for day laborers, with the toilet at the end of the hallway. There was nothing in the rooms, just a light bulb in the middle of the ceiling. We only had some walls, the rest was done from scratch, at the level of plaster and plumbing. And we did it properly, with furniture from Rovere Mobili, with everything needed to be considered luxurious. Everything is luxury, except for the price, we made it an honest 500 lei per room, per night. Altogether, it could accommodate 40 people, in rooms and cottages. A bus, as I like to say, because that’s how I calculated it."

Steam overlooking the vineyard

The works are nearing completion. For the first event, the "Blossoming of the Vine" party, everything is booked, and another four weekends are fully booked as well. Already. The hot tub and sauna have already arrived, the latter equipped with a window and installed so that you have a view of the vineyard. The pool is still being worked on, but it won’t take long. A dream summer is on its way!

For now, the restaurant will work with a collaborating chef, who will come only when there are tourists, but the intention is to become permanent, as people learn about Gramofon Inn, and next year to be included in gastro-oenological circuits. Obviously, the basic principle will remain the same – the ingredients are exclusively sourced from the area, within a few kilometers.

Much more music at Gramofon

We’ve talked about the musical ambitions of the partners at Gramofon before. Marcel Pascu said in a recent episode of our podcast that he wants to take jazz events to the level of an international festival. Until then, we’ll share a secret with you. At the time we spoke with Marcel Vulpoi, he was just heading to a meeting with a concert organizing team. "We need to get into the circuit too. I don’t know what will come out of it today, if anything will, but I know that our friends will have many more concerts at the cellar, we will have more events for them to attend. Of all kinds, except for manele. Quote me on that, will you? We don’t listen to manele here, we listen to lăutărească (fiddlers’s music), and that music was made specifically for wine, wasn’t it? But there will be a lot of music, of all genres, if not this year, then definitely next year. And, if things go well and people come, we’ll put up a few more cottages in the vineyard. To fill another bus," Marcel Vulpoi said.

So you’ve learned: you can go to Dealu Mare, from cellar to cellar, from tasting to tasting, and you have a new place that offers accommodation. And music. And objects. And feeds you art (literally and figuratively). All top-notch, because people don’t know how to do it any other way!


© 2022 Wines Of Romania By Marinela Ardelean

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