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Bulgaria is one of the major wine producing regions in the world, a tradition originating with the Thracians, the earliest settlers on the Balkan Peninsula of more than 3000 years ago. The Thracian worshiped Dionysius, the God of wine and fertility, and considered wine a precious elixir. The Thracians believed that when sipping wine, God would inhabit their souls; hence the magic drink was enjoyed not only on the table, but was also used in many religious rituals. Further proof of the importance of wine in the Thracian culture is that the majority of the magnificent Thracian gold treasures found in archaeological digs were wine sets- rhytons and horns, decorated vessels or coins depicting scenes of wine drinking.

The tradition of winemaking endured during the Middle Ages. The monasteries owned most of the grape growing lands and inherited and continued the production of wine. Wine was used for more than complimenting the food, as it is a big part of the Christian religion, symbolizing the blood of Christ.

Bulgaria has several distinct wine regions as well as numerous pure Bulgarian grapes- Misket and Dimyat for the white wines and Gumza, Mavrud, Red Muscat, Rubin and Pamid for the red ones. Today the wine industry is as alive and vivid as ever- vine-growing and wine production is an important part of the Bulgarian economy.

So, are you ready for some wine tasting? Consider taking one (or all) of the recommended wine tours around Bulgaria. And remember- before you take a sip, simpy say “Nazdrave”.

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