Strehan, a new winery with a “golden years” flavour

by Wines of Romania
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In the world of wine, some are looking for their roots, others search for pleasure, peace or adventure, the lost taste of childhood or a place where to find their sunrise or sunset smile for the rest of their lives. Amongst them, however, there are also people who just want to restore the original meaning to the things they grew up with.

Restoration, not construction

Vasile Ene works in constructions, but this is a project about restauration. No matter where his business takes him, no matter what inventions and innovations shake the world of constructions or transport, he remains the kind of man who prefers to recover the lost s and bricks and put them back, where they belonged. Born and raised in Dealu Mare, he is about to bring back a small architectural gem, a mansion called by the locals of Gura Vadului "Pandeloaica", renamed today “Eglantina”, after the first owner’s name.

"Eglantina Ionescu was the daughter of General Ionescu, former director of the Romanian Railways and founder of the Railroad Museum, and this mansion and the related hectares were part of her dowry. Her husband, Constantin Pandele, was a finance director in the Ion Antonescu regime, arrested in 1950 and deceased in 1955, without ever returning home. In the ’60s, Eglantina and her daughters immigrated to the USA. I was born here, my grandmother worked at this mansion, we come from simple people, we started from the bottom, but my parents invested in my education and after I graduated from the Bucharest School of Economics, in 1999, I returned home and took over the business started by my family in 1993 and developed it. Now the family business includes several areas, from construction and transport to industrial production and, recently, hospitality.

I know that Eglantina Ionescu managed to file the restitution action for the estate confiscated by the communist regime, but she did not live to see her property returned. I managed to buy what was left of the mansion from her daughters, who had no intention of returning to Romania", says Vasile Ene, describing the beginnings of his adventure in the wine world.

Starting on October 6, we have a new destination

"The mansion had suffered a lot of changes in the Communist era, affecting the original architecture. I recovered the original stones and bricks and rebuilt everything as close as I could to the original state, according to the period photos left in the archives of Eglantina’s daughters. The mansion was originally built in neo-Romanian style, but with modern influences, the style consecrated by architect Octavian Doicescu. If you have walked around the Primaverii neighbourhood in Bucharest, you have seen several buildings in this style. Anyway, the family had some influence at the time, it seems, because king Carol II came to the official opening of the mansion, as we discovered in a manuscript encased in the foundation. I collaborated with a known architect, Ileana Ristea, who managed the restoration process, so that we restore everything back as faithfully as possible. I don’t feel like a builder, I feel like a restorer", says Vasile Ene.

Today the restoration process reached the roof. The reopening of the mansion and the brand launching are scheduled for October 6, when a Jazz Manouche concert is also scheduled. The complex will include the mansion (17 rooms and two apartments), 7 bungalows throughout the vineyard, as well as the Traders’ Barn (Hambarul Targovetului), a 340 seats event hall that wishes to pursue a centuries-old tradition of a presumed inn that stands behind the place’s name – apparently, Strehan comes from "calling the inn-keeper" (striga hanul), the wagoners who woke the innkeeper to open their gates at night, looking for shelter and care for the horses.

10 hectares, partially replanted

The ten hectares of abandoned vineyard came with the mansion. For the time being, only a few hectares of Merlot and Sauvignon blanc are harvested, but in the fall, the reconversion of the unproductive hectares will begin, and they will be planted with Feteasca neagra and Cabernet Sauvignon, as the area proved fit for these varieties.

Local gourmet lovers, however, will be able to enjoy several local delicacies produced here even earlier than the official opening of the winery. The Strehan Terrace will open in August, offering a variety of local products, from rose syrup (eglantine, for those who have forgotten, is the wild rose flower), sour cherries jam, local recipe “zacusca”, scovergi (dry deep-fry doughnuts), local recipe sarmale (cabbage and meat rolls).

Crama Strehan

Photo source: Strehan Winery


© 2022 Wines Of Romania By Marinela Ardelean

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