In the very beginning of The New Year I decided to summarize some interesting articles, blog posts and other online reading materials. Though the topics are various, I am sticking to the Via Vino main point – Wine Tourism in Bulgaria. Actually I am happy to share with you that I had to select the best readings – a proof that Bulgaria is a trendy wine travel destination and people around the globe are writing exciting, inspiring materials after visiting the country. Ladies and gentlemen, enjoy reading the best 17 as a start of 2017!
- Deliberately I begin with one brand new ranking – The 10 Best Wine Travel Destinations of 2017 according to the prestigious Wine Enthusiast Magazine. The Bulgarian Wine Region THRACIAN LOWLAND has been ranked second! That’s simply amazing and definitely one of the best “awards” for Bulgaria as a wine travel destination ever… “Bounded by the Black Sea to the east and Greece to the south, Bulgaria’s Thracian Valley combines archaeological wonders with modern wines.”
- Another “fresh” recognition of Bulgarian wines, this time coming surprisingly from… sunny Andalusia! As a colleague of mine said: “What’s going on? Articles about Bulgaria as a wine travel destination are just popping up?! And that’s great!” Extensive and informative material with many pictures, presenting in details a cupple of excellent wineries!
- Are you hungry? Well, this is a read which will make you starving and hopefully choosing Via Vino&Odysseia-In “tasty” FOOD&WINE tour! I always say that the good food is the best friend of the good wine and vice versa, isn’t it? Bulgarian cuisine is influenced by the Greek, Turkish, Serbian, etc., so you will recognize lots of similarities while being and eating in the Balkans.
- The next post is not focused on wine only. But because of its impressive picture and I confess – I like so much the depicted region – I decided to include it here. Things are never fair, aren’t they J It’s about the Rozhen Monastery, the fascinating tiny village Melnik and the area around with stunning nature – part of the Struma River Wine Region with its flagship autochthone variety Shiroka Melnishka Loza (Broad Leave Melnik)
- Sofia, Bulgaria will host the 40th World Congress of Vine and Wine and the 15th General Assembly of the International Organisation of Vine and Wine (OIV) between 29 May and 2 June 2017. They will be held in conjunction with the sixth edition of the BALKANS INTERNATIONAL WINE COMPETITION AND FESTIVAL (Sofia, 1-4 June 2017). Check oiv.int for more details about this major wine event!
- Are you looking for a brief presentation of the Bulgarian wine in general? If so, that’s your “cup of tea”! There is also a good map of the wine regions in the country – also quite useful when picking up some of our wine tours “Have you had Bulgarian wine before? If not, give it a try, you will not be disappointed.” Nazdrave=Cheers!!
- No way to skip probably the best video about Bulgaria I have ever watched! No more words needed here, just watch!
- One more “ranking” (by the mighty Forbes) in which Bulgaria is appearing – “The 30 Cheapest Places to Travel In 2017”. You will definitely be very happy to visit Bulgaria if you are keen on travelling on a shoe string! “From wine country to snowy peaks to the Black Sea coast, it’s an adventure playground that every budget can afford.” How about a wine tasting for less than $ 10 including wine, water, bread and most probably some local appetizers? Last but not least, in September 2016 Ryanair started operating flights between Sofia airport and 21 European destinations (in addition to WizzAir with nearly 40 destinations from/to Bulgaria)!
- Sprechen Sie Deutsch? Für unsere deutschsprachige Weinfreunde – ein schönes Artikel in Süddeutsche Zeitung über Weinreisen weltweit! Ich mache euch besonders aufmerksam auf “Die Reben der Thraker”… Mit vielem Dank an Odysseia-in Bulgarien für die organisierte Journalistenreise und Villa Melnik für die Gastfreundschaft (wie immer)!
- Lonely Planet is also talking about Bulgaria! The post is relatively old (2014) but to a large extent – up-to-date. Moreover it is well structured with regard to the Bulgarian wine regions, informative and… true: “Forget France, ignore Italy and give Spain the shrug: for oenophiles in search of a veritable vino, Bulgaria can’t be beaten. One of the oldest winemaking countries in the world, this Balkan nation has been stomping grapes since the time of Thracians who, unsurprisingly, were big fans of Dionysus.” This statement makes my day every time I am reading it!
- Lonely Planet is also talking about Bulgaria – Part 2. This time the article has been written by a participant in a FAM trip, fully organized, sponsored and guided by Odysseia-In in 2016. The read is really comprehensive and actually is not about wine only but it is starting with… wine. Yay!!
- 8 reasons why Bulgaria is Europe’s next big thing! Guess reason # 4! The post is making one familiar with Bulgaria, bringing various attractive sights to light in an amusing way, e.g. “The UFO building” and “The Lord of the Rings fortress”. “Bulgaria is the European gem many people are looking for. They just don’t know it yet.” Fully agree!
- I adore cycling, probably as much as wine. Combining both is like a dream coming through! J This article is drawing our attention to Bulgaria mostly as a cycling destination, adding to the story stunning pictures. Of course, wine is in as well, mentioning 2 of my favourite wine cellars close to Melnik. And don’t forget to check Via Vino&Odysseia-In. BIKE&WINE tour
- Once again a few reasons to visit Bulgaria… “Wineries are everywhere in Bulgaria and the wine is delicious. Melnik is a popular area for wine, which is where we enjoyed this wine. Probably the favourite drink of Bulgarians though is “Rakia”, a type of fruit brandy that can be very strong in alcohol content especially if it is home-brewed.” In addition, this is arguably the best photographic report about Bulgaria, absolutely top professional quality, made by Odysseia-In friends from Creative Endeavors.
- Traumurlaub Bulgarien? Noch ein Material auf Deutsch, diesmal ein Video-Bericht von einer Journalisten-Reise im Jahre 2016, geleitet von meiner Kollegin in Odysseia-In Radi Yotova. „Denn Bulgarien hat viel mehr zu bieten als Pauschalreisen zum Goldstrand. Wir entdecken für Sie Land und Leute.“ Zum Beispiel WEIN!
- Are you interested in statistics? That’s a remarkable article starting with the staggering statement: “Wine tourism is one of the fastest growing travel trends of 2016” The guys have created the 2016 Wine Price Index, comparing the average cost of wines in 65 countries across the globe. Bulgaria has been ranked 8th (!) as one of the least expensive destinations for wine, with an average cost of £8.48 for a 750ml bottle of wine. No need to say but low average price doesn’t mean bad quality!
- I am closing my selection with a look back to the history. But by saying back I mean thousands of years! And I am more than proud that this reputable article about the “cradles of wine” is starting with Bulgaria. “Archaeological evidence of Bulgaria’s wine history extends as far back as 5,000 years or more”. Let’s go together on the trails of ancient civilizations and wine with our Wine & Thracian Discoveries Tour!
In conclusion, I would say that 2016 was a successful year. Concours Mondial de Bruxelles took place in Plovdiv in April. Vintage 2016 is a promising according to the most winemakers with whom I have talked. Divino Taste 2016 (the leading Bulgarian wine event, held annually) has set another record – 73 participating wineries, more than 500 wines, 6 000 visitors. Wine quality, wine places, wine culture are all improving… And as you see clearly above – Bulgaria is definitely winning recognition as a wine travel destination worldwide. I am looking forward to an even better 2017!