Bulgaria is one of the oldest winegrowing countries in Europe. The origins on the territory of today's state suggest based on archaeological finds and surviving texts to a beginning already 5,000 years ago. Thracian tribes cultivated north and south of the Balkan Mountains Wild vines and operated a pronounced cult in honor of the wine god Dionysos, The Thracians will cultivate the oldest Bulgarian grape varieties or their ancestors such as Mavrud. Pamid. Dimyat, Melnik ( Shiroka Melnishka ) and Gamza ( kadarka ) attributed. At the time of the Roman Empire, wine was out Thrace a coveted export article Greece. Sicily, Asia Minor (Anatolia in the present day Turkey ) and Egypt,
In the Middle Ages, viticulture through the monasteries with their extensive vineyards reached its peak. In 1393, the Bulgarian Empire was conquered by the Turks and remained under Muslim rule for nearly 500 years until 1878. It was just the production of table grapes allowed. The alcohol ban ultimately led to a strong threat to viticulture. How important viticulture was taken by the state shows that immediately after the Ottoman rule in 1879, a wine law was passed before the constitution was passed. On a larger scale, however, viticulture was resumed only after the First World War and only by small wine growers with autochthonous Varieties operated.
After the Second World War, wine production gradually became industrialized in the years of socialism. A collective system was introduced, viticulture schools founded and European grape varieties planted. In the 1960s, Bulgaria became a major wine exporting country. Until the 1960s, the largest quantities of wine were made from the traditional varieties. Temperable fermentation tanks were rather the exception. With the export-oriented wine industry, the proportion of Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Merlot and Sauvignon Blanc has increased. As a result, as well as the introduction of a high-rider education and modern cellar technology came the big export successes. In 1970, the vineyards covered about 150 000 hectares for wine production.
The political change in 1989 led to a rethink. In 1990, the state wine-growing monopoly VINPROM was dissolved and most companies privatized. This surprised the new owners unprepared, who often brought with them no viticulture knowledge. From the year 2000, however, things went uphill. Since then, not mass, but quality is in the foreground. There were many family wineries. In addition, due to the excellent winemaking conditions, many foreign investors came to Bulgaria. By joining the EU in 2007, there were good sales prospects in the European market. The simultaneous loss of other markets (Russia, North Africa) reduced the need for lower wine quality.
There are five winegrowing regions divided into subregions. The climate and the soil quality offer excellent conditions for viticulture. The country is located in the center of the Balkan Peninsula on the same latitudes as the Tuscany and Bordeaux between the temperate continental and the Mediterranean climate belt. The various mountain formations such as Pirin, Rhodope and, above all, the Balkan mountain range that runs through the country in an east-west direction protect the country from Aegean and Adriatic climatic influences. The humid Atlantic influences have the largest climate determining role.
Dunavska Ravnina (Danube plain) - North
The gently rolling countryside between Danube and Balkan Mountains are criss-crossed by many rivers. The vineyards cover about 15% of the total area. Important red wines are Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Evmolpia, Gamay, Gamza (90% of the area of this variety), Merlot, Pamid, Pinot Noir and Syrah. Important white wines are Aligoté, Chardonnay, Dymiat, Misket Vrachanski, Muscat Ottonel, Riesling, Rkatsiteli, Sauvignon Blanc and Tamianka (Muscat Blanc). Well-known growing areas are Biala, Dve Mogili, Ljaskovets, Lom, Magura, Nikopol, Novo Selo, Orjahovo, Pavlikeni, Pleven, Rousse, Suhindol, Svishtov and Vidin. The region is known for its red, dessert and sparkling wines.
Chernomorski Rayon (Black Sea Region) - East
The region is bordered on the north by the Danube and Romania and in the west to the Black Sea coast. The vineyards cover 25% of the total area. Important white wines are Aligoté, Dymiat, Gewürztraminer, Misket Cherven, Muscat Ottonel, Riesling, Rkatsiteli, Sauvignon Blanc, Ugni Blanc (Trebbiano Toscano) and Viognier. Important red wines are Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pamid and Pinot Noir. The area includes the geographical units Dobrudja Plain and Ludogorie Hill Country in the north to Beach Hunting Mountain in the south. Well-known growing areas are Burgas, Euxinograd, Kableschkovo, Kavarna, Khan Krum, Novi Pazar, Pomorie, Preslav, Razgrad, Shumen, Silistra, Targovishte and Varn. This is where the best Bulgarian white wines come from.
Rozova Dolina (Rosental or Lower Balkan region) - center
The region (also south flank of the Balkan Mountains) stretches to the east on all flat foothills of the Balkan and Sredna Gora mountains. The main areas are located in the vicinity of the cities Karlovo, Karnobat, Nikolaevo, Schivatchevo, Slaviantzi, Sliven Straldja and Sungurlare. The vineyards cover about 15% of the total area. Important red wines are Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Mavrud, Merlot and Pinot Noir. Important white wines are Chardonnay, Gewürztraminer, Misket Rozov, Rkatsiteli, Riesling and Viognier. The region is known for its dessert white wines and grape distillates (Elenovo, Straldja, Karnobat, Sungurlare).
Trakijska Nizina (Thrakiatal) - south
The region extends to the border with Turkey across the Thracian lowlands, south of the Balkan and Central Mountains, in the large valleys of the Maritza and Tundsha rivers. In the southeast, it is delimited by the foothills of the Sakar Mountains. There is a temperate continental climate. The vineyards cover about 30% of the total area. Known growing areas are located around the municipalities Assenovgrad, Brestovitza, Brezovo, Elhovo, Harmanli, Haskovo, Ivaylovgrad, Yambol, Ljubimetz, Nova Zagora, Ognjanovo, Orjahovitsa, Parvomay, Pazardjik, Perushtitsa, Peshtera, Plovdiv, Saedinenie, Septemvri, Sliven, Stambolovo, Stara Zagora and Tchirpan.
Here are cultivated to 70% red varieties, which are next to the particularly well-thriving Mavrud, as well as Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot almost all of those listed in the table below. Important white wines are Chardonnay, Dymiat, Gewürztraminer, Muscat Ottonel, Rkatsiteli, Pinot Gris, Sauvignon Blanc, Tamianka (Muscat Blanc) and Viognier. The region is known for its white and rosé sparkling wines.
Dolinata na Struma (Strumatal) - Southwest
The region is located in the narrow valley of the Struma River on the border with Greece and Northern Macedonia, It is especially for the red wines from the varieties Shiroka Melnishka (Melnik) and Ranna Melnishka Loza (Premature Melnik) known. The vineyards cover about 15% of the total area. Well-known growing areas are Blagoevgrad, Boboschevo, Damjanitza, Gotze Deltchev, Harsovo, Kapatovo, Kresna, Kulata, Levunovo, Melnik, Petrich, Sandansky, Smotchevo and Vinogradi. Here are cultivated on about 75% of the area mainly red wines. The most important are Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Grenache Noir, Marselan, Mavrud, Merlot, Mourvèdre (Monastrell), Petit Verdot, Pinot Noir, Roubine, Ruen and Sangiovese. Important white wines are Chardonnay, Gewürztraminer, Keratsuda (local specialty), Pinot Gris, Tamianka (Muscat Blanc) Sauvignon Blanc and Viognier.
The vineyards are located on the numerous mountain foothills, in the side valleys and the lowlands of countless rivers. In 2016, the vineyard area was around 60,000 hectares. This is more than a halving of the EU accession year 2007 with 130,000 hectares.
|vine||colour||Synonyms or Bulgarian names||hectare|
|Muscat Ottonel||White||Musket Otonel, Misket||4299|
|Misket Cherven||White||Cherven Misket, Misket Rozov||4277|
|Dimyat||White||Dymiat, Misket Slivensky, Smederevka||3071|
|Mavrud||red||Mavroudi, Mavroudi Voulgarias||1179|
|kadarka||red||Gamza, Gumza, Gymza||1113|
|Shiroka Melnishka||red||Melnik, Shiroka Melnishka Loza||1103|
|Trebbiano Toscano||White||Ugni Blanc||872|
|Alicante Henri Bouschet||red||Alicante Bouschet||?|
|Garnacha Tinta||red||Grenache Noir||?|
|Misket Dunavski||red||Dunajski nutmeg||?|
|Misket Plevensky||red||Muscat de Pleven||?|
|Misket Varnenski||White||Muscat de Varna, Muscat Varnenski||?|
|Misket Vrachansky||White||Mirizlivka, Misket Vratchanski||?|
|Ruby Bolgarskii||red||Roubine, ruby||?|
|Ranna Melnishka Loza||red||Early Melnik, Melnishka Ranna||?|
In August 2009, the EU wine market regulations became valid for all member countries with fundamental changes to the wine names and quality levels. Since 2012, the following new names and quality grades have been issued in Bulgaria (see also detailed under quality system ):
PGI (Protected Geographical Indication)
A country wine with protected geographical indication. The old name RV (Regionalno Vino) is no longer in use. There are the two rural wine areas PGI Danube plain (Northern Bulgaria) and PGI Thrakiatal (Southern Bulgaria).
PDO (Protected Designation of Origin)
A quality wine with a protected designation of origin. The old names GNP (Garantirano Naimenovanie sa Proischod = guaranteed) and GKNP (Garantirano i Kontrolirano Naimenovanie sa Proischod = guaranteed and checked) are no longer in use. There are around 50 PDO areas.
The additional quality designations indicate grape ripeness, maturation and maturity. For PGI wines these are Premium, Reserve and Barrique. For the PDO wines these are premium barrique (first occupation), reserve (1 year), special reserve (1 variety, 2 years), special selection (1 variety, 3 years), collection (1 variety, 4 years), liqueur wine ( 15% vol) and wine from overripe or botrytis grapes.
Well-known producers are Assenovgrad, Belvedere Group (Domaine Katerina, Domaine Menarda Stara Zagora, Sakar, Oriachovitsa), Bessa Valley, Black Sea Gold, Domaine Boyar (Blueridge, Korten), Burgas, Damianitza, Haskovo, Magura Winery, Miroglio, Peshtera Group, Pomorie, Rousse, Stork Nest Estates (formerly Svishtov), Stambolovo, Suhindol, Targovishte, Todoroff, Vinex Slavyantzi, Vini Sliven and Yambol.