Bulgarian Wine



Vine-growing has been known since 7000 BC. in ancient Egypt, Syria, Babylon. Vine-growing on the Balkan Peninsula dates far back into antiquity - 3000 BC. The oldest information about wine-production is contained in Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey.
The most interesting and most worshipped god by the Thracians was Dionysus - the gay god of vines and wine. The wide-spread cult of Dionysus was reflected on monuments depicting vines, bunches of grapes, vintage scenes, grape squashing, wine transport, etc. The murals of the Kazanluk tomb, the Panagyurishte gold treasure testify to the fact that grapes and wine occupied an important place in the life of the ancient Thracians. In vine-growing and wine-production the Thracians used various tools such as sowers, hoes, pruning knives, baskets, barrels, wine-skins, amphoraes, wine cellars, etc.
Vine-growing and wine-production spread particularly widely during the rule of Bulgarian Khan Kroum, but owing to wide spread drinking he was forced to issue a law for the destruction of vines in the country.
The following legend is told in this connection: during a dark night one of the Khan’s lions escaped from his cell. That caused panic in the city and nobody dared to go out into the streets. Soon, however the lion was found killed. Khan Kroum then decreed that he would distinguish the one who had shown courage and killed the lion. A woman came to Khan Kroum and told him that her son Mavrud had killed the lion. Khan Kroum wanted to know the reason for the great strength and fearlessness of her son. The mother had to admit that she had not obeyed the law on the destruction of the vines and had kept one vine in her yard. From it she secretly prepared wine and gave it to her son. The wine gave courage and strength to her son. Khan Kroum then revoked the law of the extirpation of vines and vine-growing spread once again. In honour of the son, the vine from which the wine had been produced was called Mavrud.
Viticulture and wine-production occupy and important place in the life of the Bulgarian people. It is a constant attribute accompanying any Bulgarian celebration.
Vine-Grower’s Day - Trifon Zarezan (Trifon the Pruner) - is celebrated particularly festively. Every year on February 14th the vine-growers, dressed in their best clothes and decorated with crane’s bill and boxwood, go to the vineyards accompanied by the sounds of music. The best vine-grower symbolically prunes a vine from all parts of the vineyard, pours wine on them and wishes for a rich vintage. Later the celebrations continue in the village where the master of each home carries out wine and treats the guests to it.
The International Organization of Wine-producers has been established in 1924 in Paris. 45 countries in the world produce wine. The biggest producers in the world are France and Italy (5mlrd liters of wine annually).  In the 1960s Bulgaria occupied 9th place in Europe and 13th place in the world in terms of wine production. 87% of the grape produced in the world and 78% of this is used for wine production.
The first wine-cellar in Bulgaria was founded in 1909 in Suhindol. In the 1960s there were more than 150 cellars in the country with total capacity of 400 mln liters. The largest cellars are Lyaskovetz (10 mln l), Euxinograd (6 mln l) and Sofia (20 mln l).
The territory of Bulgaria is divided into 4 vine-growing regions. Pomorie belongs to the Black Sea vine-growing region.
Pomorie Cellar No. 3 has been in operation since 1935-36. It is one of the 6 wine-maturing cellars in the country. The grapes from 34000 ha vineyards in the vicinity (Nessebar and Pomorie) is produced in other cellars, where about 25-35000 tons of grapes are processed. 65% of the produced wine is white - Dimyat, Uni Blanc, Mouskat Otonel, Misket, Chardone. Red wine is Merlot, Caberne, Pamid. The maturing period of red wine varies between 2.5-3 years, while maturing of 1 year is enough for the white wines.
The wine cellar has favourable conditions for wine maturing due to the firm temperature in the premises. The walls and the floor of the building are double thus providing isolation from outer temperature variations. The temperature in the ground floor is between 8-16o C while in the premise on the first floor varies between 8-25o C. White wine ferments at a temperature of 18-22oC, and red wine - 22-26o C
There are 84 barrels in the cellar - 42 of them on the ground floor and 42 on the first floor. The figures on the barrels show their number and capacity. The total capacity of the barrels is 600000 l. Every month a wine-taster tastes the wine from the barrels. When it is already matured the wine from the different barrels is mixed in cement reservoirs and bottled in another cellar.