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Divine wines…

Don’t cry, France, but Europe’s first vintners were the (Proto)Bulgarians. As early as 5,000 years before the birth of Christ, they, the Thracians, brought the first vines with them from Asia and in the Mariza valley (today’s city of Plovdiv) grew the Pamid – one of the oldest varieties of wine...

The wine tradition was continued in the east of Bulgaria with many variations. Early “press reports” in Homer’s “Iliad” and “Odyssey” testify to the first practically professionally-run viniculture of the Thracians. And to the Greeks and Phoenicians who imported and cultivated new types of vine from their (war)travels in today’s Bulgaria.

The success story continues …

In the Middle Ages the Bulgarian clergy was constantly expanding the wine trade. Almost all the Bulgarian monasteries had vineyards even during the Ottoman occupation (1396-1878). In other words, for just under 500 years they succeeded in ignoring the Koran’s ban on alcohol production and by the end of the 19th century created over 50,000 hectares of wine-growing land.

With the commencement of industrialisation, Bulgarian wine production galloped unchecked into the 20th century and was also not halted by the Second World War or by the subsequent collectivisation under socialist principles.

When the “Summer of Love” was being celebrated in America’s Woodstock in 1968, the Bulgarian wine trade celebrated the meeting of the planned production targets for vines to 200,000 hectares of area under cultivation.