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Thinking of an off-the-beaten-path destination for your next wine tour? Think of Bulgaria. Gorgeous nature and glorious wines await you on this wine and nature tour. You will experience the rich cultural heritage and pristine nature of the Sakar and Eastern Rhodopes mountains – the region with the highest number of endangered bird species in Europe. Some even call the Sakar and Eastern Rhodopes wine region - the Bulgarian Napa Valley - because of the landscape dominated by vineyards and the multiple wineries situated close to each other.
During the tour, you will stay in a three-star, centrally located hotel in Plovdiv for one night, and spend the rest of the tour in The Wild Farm guesthouse in the village of Gorno Pole.
During the wine tour, you will visit some culturally-significant sites such as the ancient Thracian tomb of Mezek and the medieval fortress. You will also visit the following wineries:
Bratanov is a typical family winery. It was created through the hard work of a father and his sons. The family of the father, Stoycho Bratanov, is not new to winemaking. His great-grandfather used to have vineyards in the very same area where Bratanov’s own vineyards now stand. Situated almost at the point where the Maritsa River divides the Rhodope from the Sakar Mountain, this relatively new winery has boldly entered the Bulgarian wine market.
Some of Bratanov family's wines have been awarded medals from prestigious competitions such as Decanter and the Balkan International Wine Competition. Such recognition has not shifted the focus and ambition of Bratanov family winery. it still remains very much a family affair and as such everyone is deeply connected to the winery. So, don't be surprised when the Bratanov family welcome you to their winery as if they are welcoming you to into their home.
Castra Rubra winery is situated in the village of Kolarovo and is named after one of the most important roads in the Roman empire, Via Diagonalis, that connected Rome with Constantinople. Castra Rubra has rightly become one of the most famous Bulgarian wineries because of its unique architecture, technology, and of course, excellent wines.
Castra Rubra is also the only Bulgarian winery that the prominent French oenologist, Michel Rolland, consults. Michel Rolland says that the terroir, the 40+ year old vineyards, and the ambitious team at Castra Rubra are all prerequisites for the making of great wines.
Chateau Kolarovo was established in 2009 by Stoyan Stoyanov. Originally from Stara Zagora, his family heritage brought him to the area and urged him to produce wine. As the name suggests, Chateau Kolarovo is located in the village of Kolarovo in the southern Sakar Mountains. The village of Kolarovo has about nine permanent inhabitants. However, there are four wineries in the village. This fact hints towards the fact that the area is highly suitable for viticulture.
Chateau Kolarovo does not dazzle with appearance. The building, where the winery is at present, used to be an old cheese-manufacturing facility. It is quite possible that you might pass by Chateau Kolarovo without realizing that this is an actual winery. However, once you try the wine that is being produced here, it will certainly leave an impression on you and you will be coming back for more.
Katarzyna Estate is yet another proof that the Eastern Rhodope and Sakar wine region has the potential to make Bulgarian wine famous worldwide. If you miss the turn to the neat iron gate on the side of the road, you will end up at the border with Greece. Katarzyna Estate is located in the southernmost tip of the Eastern Rhodope that roll over to Greece from here.
The vineyards that surround the winery are located on plots of lands with various soil types and enjoy the highest number of sunshine hours in Bulgaria. The architecture, equipment, and artistic elements of the winery itself are a testimonial to the meticulous work put into Katarzyna Estate. However, it is the wine and the stories behind it that leave the most lasting impressions here.
Each label and each name has a fascinating story like one of Katarzyna’s most successful brand, question mark. It was the first wine to participate in a wine competition and the Katarzyna team did not expect much. They did not even have a name for the wine yet, so they just put a question mark instead of a name on the identifying label.
Surely, the wine won the gold medal and the name (and label) remained. If you are still asking how good Bulgarian wine could be, then maybe Katarzyna Estate has the answers for you.
Malkata Zvezda or The Little Star stands at the crossroad of four ancient Roman roads, including the most important one, Via Diagonalis. Hence, the name comes from the star-like shape of the place where these roads meet. Because of this strategic location, this area was a "duty free" area in Roman times where the main commodity sold was wine.
Malkata Zvezda exploits the best of their 30+ year old vineyards and produces remarkable red wines. These wines have also become popular in the sacred Mount Athos (Greece), where Malkata Zvezda annually sends shipments of their special brand "Sveta Gora," dedicated to the Bulgarian monastery in Athos. The team at Malkata Zvezda boldly experiments with the local varieties Mavrud and Pamid and its little star is shining ever brighter on the Bulgarian wine horizon.
Zagreus was the god of wine, one of the most important Thracian gods, which some historians believe was the inspiration for the Dionysus’ cult. Preserving the tradition, Zagreus winery focuses on working with the local red grape variety, Mavrud. Apart from making high-quality red wines from Mavrud, Zagreus is a producer of an unusual white wine, as well as dessert wine from Mavrud. Most of Zagreus’ vineyards are also certified as organic.
This wine tour takes place in Sakar and eastern Rhodope Mountains area, Bulgaria. Some call the Sakar and eastern Rhodope wine region the Bulgarian Napa Valley because of the landscape dominated by vineyards and the multiple wineries situated close to each other.
During the tour, you will be served daily breakfast, one lunch, and three dinners. Therefore, you will have many opportunities to sample local cuisine. Your tour guide will be happy to give you recommendations on traditional dishes and their favorite restaurants.
Prepare yourself for a true foodie discovery of the Bulgarian cuisine. Bulgarian cuisine is diverse, hearty, fresh, and traditional. The cuisine is influenced by Turkish and Greek cuisine, but also has many Slavic and Balkan elements. There is, of course, influence from traditional Bulgarian recipes that have been passed down from generation to generation.
It is highly recommended to find a local "mehana" and sample some of the most popular traditional dishes such as shopska salad, hotchpoth, kavarma, kapama, kyufte, and kebapche. Vegetarian meals are also available. Please specify dietary or allergic information upon booking.
Please book your flight to arrive at Sofia Airport (SOF). Transfer to and from the airport is included. Bulgaria Wine Tours will pick you up from the airport.
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