Wine tourism is one of the fastest growing and becoming ever more popular types of tourism in Bulgaria. And this is no accident. Wine production and consumption have deep traditions in the Bulgarian lands dating back more than 5000 years. Long before this drink became a symbol of France, Spain and Italy, ancient authors have described the extraordinary qualities of a Thracian elixir, produced on the territory of modern Bulgaria. Together with cult vessels and the associated rites, Thracians have also left enough evidence of their wine cult. They used wine not only for consumption but also as a ritual gift to their gods, to unite with their deities. Among the many artifacts left from Thracian tribes, the most common are containers for storage or consumption of wine: jugs, ritons, and amphorae.
Several unique Bulgarian varieties have been preserved till nowadays, including Pamid, Red Misket, Dimyat, Gumza, Mavrud, Shiroka Melnishka loza (meaning broad-leaved vine from Melnik). Of the above listed, the fragrant mavrud is a vine type that can be tasted only in Bulgaria. In more recent times widely planted in Bulgaria are also other varieties such as Cabernet, Muscat, Merlot, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Traminer and the Georgian variety Rkatsiteli that in the 60’s has held nearly 40% of the production of white wines.
Over the past 20 years though, the overall picture of the wine business in Bulgaria has been gradually changing. On the territory of the whole country are springing more and more new small and medium-sized wineries with relatively small yields on one hand, but on the other - characterized by unique quality and attractive prices. Almost all of them have wine tasting premises where their customers have a variety of opportunities to enjoy fragrant and delicious Bulgarian red and white wines, along with beautiful scenery and good food.
The most typical wine varieties in Bulgaria are the red ones, which account for about 60% of the wine production. The largest is the share of Pamid, followed by Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Shiroka Melnishka loza. Among white wine varieties the ones most widely produced are Rkatsiteli, Dimyat, Red Misket, Muskat Ottonel and Chardonnay.
Bulgaria can be divided into five wine regions: southern Bulgarian region or the region of the Thracian lowland, Eastern Bulgarian region or the territory along the Bulgarian Black Sea coast, North Bulgarian region or the area of the Danubian Plain and the Northwestern part of Bulgaria, South-Western region or the territory along Struma river and Sub-Balkan region, or the so called Valley of the Thracian Kings.