There is no doubt that the most reliable and professional annual wine ranking in Bulgaria is being organized by DiVino. Renowned experts, transparent rules, fair approach… That all means respectively a real prestige and recognition for the awarded wines. For the tenth consecutive year, at the beginning of 2021, the tasting team of DiVino ranked the 50 best Bulgarian wines for the past 2020 – based on year-round regular tastings and evaluation of over 500 wines! The results were announced in March, and the big winner – on 25 March (on the day of our major Christian holiday – Annunciation).
Although critical and difficult for the winemakers (and not only), the situation in the past 2020 definitely has not affected negatively the quality of the wines. On the contrary, Bulgarian wines are getting constantly better! And our country could be presented on the wine market with all these high quality wines – as an interesting and attractive European wine producer. Another good point are the awards for different types/categories of wines (Best Local Grape Wine, Best Dessert Wine, Best Buy, etc.).
And the 2020 winners are:
- BEST BULGARIAN WINES:
- Red Church Estate Selection Individuelle 2018 (Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc), Western Thracian Lowland; resp. awarded as BEST RED WINE
- Midalidare Estate Grand Vintage Malbec 2018, Eastern Thracian Lowland
- Edoardo Miroglio Brut Blanc de Blancs Metodo Classico 2015, Eastern Thracian Lowland; resp. awarded as BEST SPARKLING WINE
- BEST WHITE WINE: Stefan Pirev Eager Top Blend White 2018 (six varieties), national project
- BEST ROSE WINE: Logodaj Nobile Rose Broad Leaved Melnik Vine 2019, Struma Valley
- BEST LIMITED EDITION WINE: Zagreus Minimum Mavrud 2019, Western Thracian Lowland
- BEST NATURAL WINE: Zagreus Minimum Mavrud 2019, Western Thracian Lowland
- BEST DESSERT WINE: Tsarev Brod Ice Riesling 2018, Dabube Plain
- BEST LOCAL GRAPE WINE – WHITE: Staro Oryahovo White Story Vrachanski Misket 2019, Black Sea
- BEST LOCAL GRAPE WINE – RED: Rossidi Nikolaevo Old Vines Nikolaevo Mavrud 2018, Eastern Thracian Lowland; #12 in Top 50
Besides the individual wine prizes there are three categories, which have been recently introduced:
- BEST NEWCOMER (awarded by The Bulgarian Association of Wine Professionals-BAWP): Damyanov Family Winery & Vineyards
- SPECIAL MERIT AWARD: Adriana Srebrinova, Borovitza Winery
- WINE TOURISM AWARD VIA VINO: Villa Yustina
On one hand I am really glad to be part of the wine travel award. On the other – as you well know – my focus is wine tourism. That’s why I will provide more details about the 2020 winner (just a quick reminder – the 2019 winner was Uva Nestum Wine & Spa).
Villa Yustina is the “founder” of the modern Bulgarian wine tourism. It may sound loud, but it’s a fact. The winery was established in 2006 in the village of Ustina, near Plovdiv in the so-called Rhodope collar – micro region of the Thracian Lowland. In 2013 it was renovated and transformed for wine tourism – tours in the cellar, walks among the vineyards with breathtaking views, an oenotheque and a wonderful tasting room. Perhaps the most valuable aspect has been also provided: a professionally working and inspired team.
It’s hard to be first and to climb the peak, but it’s even harder to stay there – to maintain quality and keep evolving. That is exactly the strength of Villa Yustina – in the increasing competition of attractive Bulgarian wine tour destinations and cellars they manage to upgrade: with a sparkling wine cellar, a cozy hotel complex with a restaurant next to the winery, and a SPA & wellness center (in progress). In the meantime, they support and initiate a number of activities, related to the development of wine tourism at regional level and conduct regular thematic events for wine lovers.
For this confused and extremely difficult 2020, we (DiVino & Via Vino) decided that there is no other suitable winner of the annual award for wine tourism than Villa Yustina – a kind of overall recognition for best contribution to Bulgarian wine tourism!