Bulgaria is one of the countries with the oldest viticultural tradition in Europe. The origins on the territory of today's state indicate that it started 5,000 years ago due to archaeological finds and traditional texts. Thracian tribes cultivated north and south of the Balkan Mountains Wild vines and practiced a distinctive cult in honor of the wine god Dionysos, The Thracians are cultivated like the oldest Bulgarian grape varieties or their ancestors Mavrud. Pamid. Dimyat, Melnik ( Shiroka Melnishka ) and Gamza ( kadarka ) attributed. Wine was out at the time of the Roman Empire Thrace a coveted export item Greece. Sicily, Asia Minor (Anatolia in today's Turkey ) and Egypt,
In the Middle Ages, viticulture reached a peak through the monasteries with their extensive vineyards. The Bulgarian empire was conquered by the Turks in 1393 and remained under Islamic rule for almost 500 years until 1878. It was just the production of table grapes allowed. The alcohol ban ultimately led to a strong threat to viticulture. The importance of viticulture from the state shows that a wine law was passed immediately after the Ottoman rule in 1879, before a constitution was passed. Viticulture was only resumed on a larger scale after the First World War and only by small winegrowers autochthonous Varieties operated.
After the Second World War, wine production was gradually industrialized in the years of socialism. A collective system was introduced, wine-growing schools were founded and European grape varieties were planted. In the 1960s Bulgaria developed into an important wine export country. Until the 1960s, the largest amounts of wine were made from the traditional varieties. Temperature-controlled fermentation tanks were rather the exception. The share of the Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Merlot and Sauvignon Blanc varieties then rose with the export economy. As a result, as well as the introduction of high pole education and modern cellar technology, the great export successes came. In 1970, the vineyards for wine production comprised around 150,000 hectares.
The political change in 1989 led to a rethink. In 1990, the state wine monopoly VINPROM was dissolved and most of the businesses were privatized. This unprepared surprised the new owners, who often had no knowledge of viticulture. From the year 2000, however, things went uphill. Since then, the focus has not been on quantity but quality. Many family wineries were created. In addition, many foreign investors came to Bulgaria due to the excellent wine-growing conditions. By joining the EU in 2007, there were good sales prospects on the European market. The simultaneous loss of other markets (Russia, North Africa) reduced the need for lower wine quality.
There are five wine-growing regions, which are divided into sub-regions. The climate and the soil quality offer excellent conditions for viticulture. The country lies in the center of the Balkan Peninsula at the same latitude as that Tuscany and Bordeaux between the temperate continental and the Mediterranean climate belt. The various mountain formations such as Pirin, Rhodope Mountains and above all the Balkan mountain range running east-west across the country protect the country from Aegean and Adriatic climatic influences. The damp Atlantic influences have the greatest climate-determining role.
Dunavska Ravnina (Danube Plain) - north
The gently undulating landscape between Danube and Balkan Mountains are crossed by many rivers. The vineyards cover around 15% of the total area. Important red wine varieties are Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Evmolpia, Gamay, Gamza (90% of the area of this variety), Merlot, Pamid, Pinot Noir and Syrah. Important white wine varieties are Aligoté, Chardonnay, Dymiat, Misket Vrachanski, Muskat-Ottonel, Riesling, Rkatsiteli, Sauvignon Blanc and Tamianka (Muscat Blanc). Known growing areas are Biala, Dve Mogili, Ljaskovetz, Lom, Magura, Nikopol, Novo Selo, Orjahovo, Pavlikeni, Pleven, Rousse, Suhindol, Svischemov and Vidin. The region is known for its red, dessert and sparkling wines.
Chernomorski Rayon (Black Sea region) - east
The region borders on the Danube and in the north Romania and in the west to the Black Sea coast. The vineyards cover 25% of the total area. Important types of white wine are Aligoté, Dymiat, Gewürztraminer, Misket Cherven, Muskat-Ottonel, Riesling, Rkatsiteli, Sauvignon Blanc, Ugni Blanc (Trebbiano Toscano) and Viognier. Important red wine varieties are Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pamid and Pinot Noir. The area includes the geographical units Dobrudja Plain and the Ludogorie Hills in the north to the Strandjagebirge in the south. Known growing areas are Burgas, Euxinograd, Kableschkovo, Kavarna, Khan Krum, Novi Pazar, Pomorie, Preslav, Razgrad, Shumen, Silistra, Targovischte and Varn. The best Bulgarian white wines come from here.
Rozova Dolina (Rosental or Lower Balkan region) - center
The region (also the southern flank of the Balkan Mountains) extends to the east on all flat foothills of the Balkan and Sredna Gora Mountains. The main areas are in the vicinity of the cities of Karlovo, Karnobat, Nikolaevo, Schivatchevo, Slaviantzi, Sliven Straldja and Sungurlare. The vineyards cover around 15% of the total area. Important red wine varieties are Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Mavrud, Merlot and Pinot Noir. Important white wine varieties 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 (Thracia Valley) - south
The region extends on the border with Turkey across the Thracian lowlands, south of the Balkan and low mountain ranges, in the large valleys of the Maritza and Tundsha rivers. In the southeast it is delimited by the foothills of the Sakar Mountains. The temperate continental climate prevails. The vineyards cover around 30% of the total area. Known growing areas are around the municipalities of Assenovgrad, Brestovitza, Brezovo, Elhovo, Harmanli, Haskovo, Ivaylovgrad, Jambol, Ljubimetz, Nova Zagora, Ognjanovo, Orjahovitza, Parvomay, Pazardjik, Peruschtiza, Peshtera, Plovdiv, Stambovolie, Saedinenolieie, Saedinenolie Stara Zagora and Tchirpan.
70% of the red wines are cultivated here, which besides the Mavrud, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, which thrive particularly well here, are almost all of those listed in the table below. Important white wine varieties are Chardonnay, Dymiat, Gewürztraminer, Muskat-Ottonel, Rkatsiteli, Pinot Gris, Sauvignon Blanc, Tamianka (Muscat Blanc) and Viognier. The region is known for its sparkling wines in white and rosé.
Dolinata na Struma (Struma Valley) - southwest
The region lies in the narrow valley of the Struma River on the border Greece and Northern Macedonia, It is especially for the red wines from the varieties Shiroka Melnishka (Melnik) and Ranna Melnishka Loza (Early maturity Melnik) known. The vineyards cover around 15% of the total area. Known growing areas are Blagoevgrad, Boboschevo, Damjanitza, Gotze Deltchev, Harsovo, Kapatovo, Kresna, Kulata, Levunovo, Melnik, Petrich, Sandanski, Smotchevo and Vinogradi. Mainly red wine varieties are cultivated here on around 75% of the area. Important ones are Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Grenache Noir, Marselan, Mavrud, Merlot, Mourvèdre (Monastrell), Petit Verdot, Pinot Noir, Roubine, Ruen and Sangiovese. Important types of white wine are Chardonnay, Gewürztraminer, Keratsuda (local specialty), Pinot Gris, Tamianka (Muscat Blanc) Sauvignon Blanc and Viognier.
The vineyards are located on the numerous foothills, in the side valleys and in the lowlands of the countless river courses. In 2016 the area under vines was around 60,000 hectares. This is more than a halving compared to 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 Slivenski, 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 Plevenski||red||Muscat de Pleven||?|
|Misket Varnenski||White||Muscat de Varna, Muscat Varnenski||?|
|Misket Vrachanski||White||Mirizlivka, Misket Vratchanski||?|
|Rubin Bolgarskii||red||Roubine, Ruby||?|
|Ranna Melnishka Loza||red||Early Melnik, Melnishka Ranna||?|
In August 2009, the EU wine market regulations came into force for all member countries, with fundamental changes to the wine names and quality levels. The following new names and quality levels have been available in Bulgaria since 2012 (see also in detail under quality system ):
PGI (Protected Geographical Indication)
A country wine with a protected geographical indication. The old name RV (Regionalno Vino) is no longer in use. There are two rural wine areas, PGI Donauebene (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 controlled) are no longer in use. There are around 50 PDO areas.
The additional quality designations provide information on the ripeness, type of aging and ripening time. For PGI wines, these are Premium, Reserve and Barrique. For PDO wines, these are Premium Barrique (first use), Reserve (1 year), Special Reserve (1 grape variety, 2 years), Special Selection (1 grape variety, 3 years), Collection (1 grape 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, Oriachovitza), 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.