Wines of Bulgaria

A LIVING TRADITION WITH GLORIOUS PAST AND A PROSPEROUS FUTURE

Wine has always been and will always remain an important industry for Bulgaria. Historically the wine trade has been part of the national culture and today it is a key element in projecting a positive image of Bulgaria.

It is not by chance that we, Bulgarians, tell a story about the origins of our lands. When God created the world, He had completely forgotten about Bulgaria. So the only thing He could do then was to shake out over these lands what was left of the contents of his already empty sack. Thus, although completely forgotten at first, we were then generously bestowed a fascinating diversity of spectacular scenery – plains and valleys huddled between mountain ridge, rivers with lush flat banks, hills sloping down to the Black Sea Cost and wonderful vines which found in these lands the unique conditions to thrive and yield light-bodied, deep-flavoured grapes of superb quality.

According to some authors, both ancient and modern, the Dionysus cult had its origin in the lands of Ancient Thrace, where wine was considered sacred and its use was intended for conversation with the gods. This historical assertion puts Bulgarian viticulture and oenology at the heart of the ancient development of grape and wine culture. The oenological tradition, has continued without interruption for millennia, and has contributed enormously to the country’s contemporary attitude to wine making. It appears that the cultivation of some of the oldest native grape varieties – such as Misket, Dimyat, Gamza, Mavrud and Shiroka Melnishka loza – date back to Thracian times.

Bulgaria has moderate climate with a work summer and a relatively cold winter. The average total temperature required for the growth of grapevines ranges between 3,5000C and 3,7000C. The soils are diverse and varied – there are acidic (cinnamonic) soils, grey forest soils, rich zonal humus and carbonate soils, fertile black-earth soils (known as chernozems), alluvial and mountain meadow soils, including both deep and shallow sandy soils and others. They are all exceptionally favourable for vine growing, for the proper ripening of grapes, and the production of quality white and red wines.

According to the soil and the climatic conditions as well as the grape varieties, four major vine and wine regions can be defined in the country: DANUBE PLAIN REGION (Northern Bulgaria), BLACK SEA REGION (Eastern Bulgaria), THRACIAN LOWLANDS REGION (Southern Bulgaria) and STROUMA VALLEY REGION (South-western Bulgaria).

The present European influenced processes has led to Bulgarian wine restoring the manufacture practices for production of authentic wines that can proudly trade their origins.

There are two main viticulture and oenology regions for production of PGI wines – Thracian Lowlands and the Danube Plain, and 55 areas for the manufacture of PDO wines that are produced according to the highest quality control standards to guarantee a quality product.

  • PDO Strouma Velley
  • PDO South Black Sea coast
  • PDO Black Sea Region
  • PDO Vidin
  • PDO Novo Selo
  • PDO Pleven
  • PDO Lozitsa
  • PDO Varbitsa
  • PDO Lovech
  • PDO Russe
  • PDO Lyakovets
  • PDO Svishtov
  • PDO Pavlikeni
  • PDO Shumen
  • PDO Novi Pazar
  • PDO Veliki Preslav
  • PDO Khan Kroum
  • PDO Dragoevo
  • PDO Targovishte
  • PDO Varna
  • PDO Evxinograd
  • PDO Pomorie
  • PDO Sungurlare
  • PDO Slavyantsi
  • PDO Kamobat
  • PDO Septemvri
  • PDO Plovdiv
  • PDO Asenovgrad
  • PDO Karlovo
  • PDO Hissarya
  • PDO Perushtitsa
  • PDO Brestnik
  • PDO Yambol
  • PDO Stara Zagora
  • PDO Oryahovitsa
  • PDO Sliven
  • PDO Shivachevo
  • PDO Nova Zagora
  • PDO Haskovo
  • PDO Ivailovgrad
  • PDO Lyubimets
  • PDO Stambolovo
  • PDO Sakar
  • PDO Sandanski
  • PDO Melnik
  • PDO Harsovo
  • PDO Lom
  • PDO Montana
  • PDO Vratsa
  • PDO Pazardzhik
  • PDO Dragoevo
  • PDO Shoumen
  • PDO Varna
  • PDO Bolyarovo

The National Vine and Wine Chamber

The National Vine and Wine Chamber (NVWC) in Bulgaria is a non-governmental association of the professionals engaged in vine-growing and wine-making in Bulgaria. It was established in February 2000 as the successor of the Association of producers and merchants of wine and spirits, founded in 1991. The mission of the Chamber is to defend and promote the professional interests of its members as well as to guarantee and promote the quality, authenticity, and origin of wines. The NVWC and the 6 regional chambers (Trakia RVWC, based in the town of Plovdiv; Mizia RVWC, based in the town of Pleven; Southeast Thracian RVWC, based in the town of Sliven; Black Sea RVWC, based in the town of Varna; Southern Black Sea RVWC, based in the town of Bourgas, Pirin RVWC, based in Damyanitsa village) are non-governmental organizations summoned to promote further the development and competitiveness of Bulgarian vine and wine industry. They are also authorized to issue a certificate of origin to quality wines as well as a certificate of authenticity to grapes varieties. The chambers set up tasting committees to carry out the mandatory organoleptic analyses. National Vine and Wine Chamber is an organizer and co-organizer of important national and international events: I International Viticulture and Enology Fair VINARIA in Plovdiv, since 1992. The exhibition, which is held every year in April attracts both wine producing companies and those engaged in production and distribution of machines, equipment and auxiliary materials for viticulture and enology from all over the world. International Wine and Spirits Competition VINARIA is the main event in the support program of the fair. Every year more and more wines from all over the world compete for the prestige prize Golden Rhyton which only 6 wines from all participated are awarded. I SALON DE VIN in Sofia, since 2001. The exhibition, held every year in November, is aimed at the biggest national wine market – Sofia. SALON DE VIN enjoys the interest of an increasing number of Bulgarian and foreign wine producers who annually participate in the exhibition, demonstrating their premieres and traditional products. The competition for the Golden medals of InterExpo Centre and a Consumer contest are the main events in the support program. I DEFILE OF YOUNG WINE in Plovdiv, since 2009. This is a celebration of the new vintage of Bulgarian wine every last weekend of November in the Old Town of Plovdiv. Tasting, contests, lectures – all these aim at enlarging the wine culture of the consumers and demonstrating the quality of Bulgarian wine. I BULGARIAN WINE WEEKEND, since 2013. Trade tasting and master classes for experts – each year for a different wine market. I BALKAN RAKIYA FEST, since 2013. Exhibition and tasting of the traditional drink rakiya. I Presentations and tastings of Bulgarian wines in the country and all over the world. I Wine tours for professional, connoisseurs and wine lovers. Bulgaria offers unique destinations for wine tourism. The traditions of winemaking can be evidenced by the fact that 90% of the vessels discovered during archaeological excavations here are related to wine. Together with the tasting of the high quality wines there are lot of historic sites dating back thousands of years. There are a unique museums of grape growing and winemaking which demonstrate the long history of wine in Bulgarian lands. Professional education and master classes in viticulture and enology are organized in the Educational Centre of NVWC in Sofia. Official certificates are issued by the Ministry of Education and Science in Bulgaria. Bulgarian wines participate every year in a lot of prestigious wine contests such as Decanter World Wine Competition, Concours Mondial de Bruxelles, International Wine and Spirits Competition in London, etc. and win the highest awards. NVWC issues scientific viticulture and enology journal – LOZARSVO & VINARSTVO, est. 1911, and marketing magazine BGWine, est. 2012. NVWC is a co-editor of the catalogue WINE & SPIRITS IN BULGARIA. The NVWC defines the strategies for the development of vine-growing and wine-making and implements the policies in the vine and wine industry. The associated community of Bulgarian grape growers and wine makers is summoned to restore the reputation of Bulgarian wine by ensuring its competitiveness. By employing their expertise, emphasizing the advantages of the favourable geographical factors, and continuing the deep-rooted ancient tradition, the Bulgarian society of vintners demonstrates and confirms the strong assets of Bulgarian wines.

PGI Thracian Lowlands

The vine varieties in the region for production of wines with PGI Thracian Lowlands are located in South Bulgaria. It is situated between the Balkan Mountains on the north, Black Sea on the east and the border with Greek on the south. The altitude where the plants are grown is between 100 and 500 m. The terrain is flat and hilly. The transitional continental climate is mild and warm, with Black Sea and Mediterranean influence, the favorable soils, mainly cinnamon forest (Chromic Luvisols) and the developed traditions - the human factor - create conditions for the production of wines with specific characteristics. They are very extractive and alcohol-rich. In terms of taste, the quantity of noble tannins is predominant. I Varietal Structure White: Muscat Ottonel, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Dimyat, Traminer, Misket Red, Riesling Rhine, Tamyanka, Pinot Gris, Ugni Blanc, Italian Riesling, Misket Vratsa, Rkatziteli, Misket Varna, Bulgarian Riesling, Aligoté, Viognier, Semion, Silvaner, etc. The white wines have a vivid, deep golden colour with greenish reflections. The aroma is intensive, multi-layered, it develops in the glass and acquires a sweetness combined with flowery nuances. The taste is full-bodied, balanced, and harmonic, with a distinct fruity nature. Red: Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Mavroud, Pinot Noir, Gamay Noir, Broad leaved vine, Pamid, Bouquet Shevka, Syrah, Rubin Evmolpia, Melnik 1300, Melnik 82 Grenache, Plovdiv Malaga, Cinsaut, Alicante Bouschet, Petit Verdot, etc. The rosé has an elegant aroma of red forest fruit with accents of wild strawberry and cherry. The body has an intense fruity aroma; it is complex, juicy, with a pleasant freshness and aftertaste. The red wines have a vivid, sparkling, deep ruby colour with garnet reflections. The aroma has characteristic strong fruity nuances of red and black fruit – sweet and sour cherry, blackberry, plum with discreet accents of red peppers, spices and chocolate. A full-bodied taste with well-balanced tannins, a ripe roundness and mildness, juicy, fruity, elegant finish.

2018  European Wine Treasures