This year’s edition of the leading Bulgarian wine event took place between 22 and 24 November in Sofia. It went in a more different (and intensive) way for me, that’s why I have decided to split my post in 3 parts… Of course, the tastings and exploration of new good Bulgarian wines were, as usual, quite exciting, but two more essential aspects should be highlighted!
- The Conference
For the first time a conference under the name “The Bulgarian Wine in the 21st century” preceded the tasting event. It took place on 22 November and I am delighted that it was visited by many wine professionals. There are lots of issues and critical aspects in the development of our vine-and-wine sector. The main purpose was to draw the attention on them (predominantly by the state/local authorities) and to start solving those afterwards (a Declaration with exact measures was announced at the end of the day). The lectures were various, so were the topics – wine law, wine trade, wine production and what was important for us – wine tourism. I and two more wine travel experts have been invited to close the plenary session and talk about wine tourism in Bulgaria. We have called our lecture “Why should we build a sustainable strategy for the wine tourism in Bulgaria”. The presentation could be downloaded from the link. Besides that, we have prepared a comprehensive and informative report on the topic in advance… All in all lots of work, but what matters, is that we have done a good job and we have received mostly positive feed-back!
- The Elegance
I haven’t missed any edition of DiVino.Taste – starting in 2011 with 37 wineries in the aristocratic Military Club in Sofia and reaching in 2019 more than 80 wineries and wine projects or nearly 600 Bulgarian wines, adequately spread in the main exhibition center of Sofia – IEC. The number of visitors doubled – from 3000 in the beginning to over 6000 wine lovers and professionals. Every time there is a wine or winery, a moment, a speech, a person or simply an emotion which remains and turns to be my personal highlight. This time? The elegance, the cleanliness, the emotionality of the wines from North Bulgaria! Of course, there were excellent samples among the “usual suspects” from the South – don’t forget that more than 2/3 of all Bulgarian wineries are located solely in the Thracian Lowland! However I am quite happy that this year much more wineries from the North have been presented – showing well the unique terroir of the different parts of The Danube Plain! Also Caroline Gilby MW (a true Bulgarian and Balkan wine expert) has told me that she found more cleanliness in the presented wines compared to previous years, when the full-bodied, higher in alcohol and overwhelmed by oak wines were much more common! Let’s hope that our winemakers will keep further this trend, which in fact is well pronounced and apparent worldwide!
- The Association
DiVino.Taste 2019 is the place where The Bulgarian Association of Wine Professionals (Българска Асоциация на Винените Професионалисти) was officially “born”. And our first common event happened – the presentation at the conference. I am delighted and proud to be in the Managing Board, but mostly to work with other like-minded wine experts towards our common goal – to put again (!) Bulgaria on the world wine map where it deserves to be. Sommeliers, winemakers, traders, journalists, lawyers, wine travel experts – the union is diverse which brings positive and negative aspects. But I am sure that the broad expertise of the members and the sharing of similar visions is the main strength of this association! Being part of the division “Wine Tourism” we have many ideas, respectively much work needs to be done. Bulgaria as a wine travel destination is not improving well enough due to the insufficient support from the state – Ministry of Tourism, local authorities, municipalities, etc. Another reason is the disunity between the “players” in this complicated process where many different objects need to be involved. And last but not least there is a lack of competence, expertise regarding wine tourism. So, as I said, we should work hard. However I believe that the result will come!
DiVino.Taste is exciting and well organized. DiVino.Taste is useful and important. DiVino.Taste is inspiring and the benchmark setting Bulgarian annual wine event! See you in 2020!
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from Via Vino, dear wine lovers!