A Castle and a Glass of Wine (2019)
A castle and some wine – you have to admit it, the two go pretty well together. So what’s the whole story about you’d ask?
Well, it’s about an old castle built around 1600, with a tumultuous history. The castle changed so many hands that it’s hard to keep trak of all those transactions.
Fact is, the Bethlen Castle as it is known to the public, was built in the 16th century as hunting residence (between 1570 and 1580 in) in the French Renaissance style and was restored during the 17th-18th centuries when Baroque elements were added. They used the Chambord Castle from the Loire Valley in France as inspiration. The castle is located about 60 kilometers away from the city of Alba Iulia, in Transylvania between the cities of Târnăveni and Blaj in the comune called Cetatea de Balta.
So the castle dates back to the end of sec. XVI – the first half of the 17th century. The construction ended around 1624, when the domain belonged to István (Ştefan) Bethlen of Iktár, the brother of Transylvanian prince, Gábor (Gabriel) Bethlen of Iktár.
The last owner belonging to the Bethlen family was Márkus Bethlen. The domain was either sold or lost at cards during the second half of the 19th century to the Haller family, in possession of whom it remained until the 1948’s expropriation.
During Communist era, the castle had various functions until it was turned into a champagne production department for IAS Jidvei. Of course, this conversion also meant that original pieces of furniture and decorations simply disappeared.
After 1989, the castle was returned to the Hallers, who sold it to the Necşulescu family, the owners of Jidvei vinery. Currently, the castle’s image is associated with the Jidvei wine.
The castle is privately owned but can still be visited on request (you need to contact the Jidvei company in advance to obtain permission to visit). The castle retains both the main Renaissance aristocratic elements and a part of the Baroque one that date back to the 1773 renovation.
Jidvei, one of Romania’s premier white wines wineries is a five-minute drive from Cetatea de Balta.
The Jidvei Castle hosts many wine tastings, currently operating as a mini-hotel. It can only be visited by groups for wine-tasting events.
Transport to / from the Castle can be arranged by the castle’s concierge.