The first traces of vines in Bulgaria date back more than 3000 years. The Thracians planted the first vines on the slopes of the Balkans.
Bulgarian wine production has gone through several ups and downs.
It really expanded during the 1950’s, to supply the Soviet Union with wine.
And Bulgarian wine became quite popular in the 1970’s, before falling into neglect in the 1980s, notably because of Gorbachev’s anti-alcohol campaign. Naturally exports collapsed as did the economy, leading to a sudden abandonment of the vineyards.
The work of ambitious winemakers and of many investors, gave a fresh vigour to Bulgaria’s wine production in the 1990’s.
In fact, Bulgaria is blessed with a climate similar to Tuscany’s.
And in 2015, the vineyards extended to some 62,700 hectares.
The main wine regions are:
Thrace Valley: According to Greek mythology, the god of wine Dionysus originated in Thrace, which is the most important wine region in Bulgaria.
The Black Sea: This region concentrates almost ⅓ of the vineyards.
The Danube plain: The land of full-bodied reds.
Grapes used to make red wines are mostly Merlot, and Cabernet Sauvignon. Still, it is possible to find Malbec, and Cabernet-Franc, originating from south-western France. Syrah and Pinot Noir are also very well adapted to certain soils.
There are also many indigenous grape varieties to be found throughout the country; as Pamid and Mavrud for exemple, that produce powerful red wines.
Concerning white wines, the most common grape varieties are Chardonnay, Muscat, Viognier and Sauvignon Blanc.