My name is Ivaylo Katerski, and I was born and raised in Sofia, Bulgaria. My interest in wine developed over a number of years, and I regularly visit fairs, courses, wine tastings and other events in Bulgaria and abroad, all dedicated to the wine culture. Nowadays, I could definitely describe myself as a wine connoisseur, very well acquainted with the “wine map” of Bulgaria. Not only that, but I ensure that my knowledge and my wine-savvy remain up-to-date. Incidentally, all of this coincides with my passion for travelling. I am a WSET® CERTIFIED Level 2 Wines & Spirits (passed with distinction) by the London Wine & Spirit School, also a certified tour guide and member of The Association of Bulgarian tour guides. However, although wine is a passion, a hobby, and an interest, it is not my profession – and this is so on purpose. The rigors and demands of a profession could invisibly turn it into a routine, and routine kills passion. Thus, I’m determined not to lose the pure pleasure of drinking and enjoying wine, and ultimately and most importantly share the experience with you!
I take pride in having a network of Bulgarian friends who live abroad. Rather often in the past, the spirit of our conversation has revolved around the notion of the tasty Bulgarian wines and our beautiful nature. Evidently and not surprisingly, both of these are among the things they miss the most when away from home. Subsequently, the idea popped in my head – organize tailor-made wine adventure tours in my country for people from abroad who would definitely enjoy such a fabulous experience, one which would carve a milestone down their memory lane. Ever since, the concept has matured, ripened, and developed, contemplating coming to fruition… all the while, I kept on drinking and admiring the impressive Bulgarian wines. After conducting a few meeting with my partners and now friends from Odysseia-In tour agency – surely avid adventurers and travelers like me – I am very pleased and excited to announce: “the blend” is ready, and the wine adventure Via Vino may commence!
But why actually Via Vino™? Viticulture in Bulgaria dates back to the time of the Thracians. There are evidences that wine has been produced in this area for more than 5 000 years. Later, thanks to its high quality, modern viticulture and wine methods Thracian wine became famous throughout the whole Roman Empire! Therein lies the inspiration for my project to call it “Via Vino” (from Latin: “the road of wine”, already a registered trademark ™). It is a name worthy of exemplifying the spirit of travelling, exploration and sharing my passion for wine…
Last but not least, allow me to introduce Odysseia-In / Zig Zag Holidays. Together, we organize all wine trips, and their support in this endeavor is infallible. Odysseia-In is the leading travel company in Bulgaria for culture, active & adventure tours. The company (located in Sofia) operates since 1990 and is dedicated to provide unique opportunities to experience mountains and nature, villages, monasteries, culture and history through tailor-made trips with professional multilingual guides. Odysseia-In is recommended in Rough Guide, Lonely Planet, Let’s Go, Le Petit Fute, Elmar guides, Reise Know-How and other international guidebooks. The company is an assoc. member of The Bulgarian Association of Independent Winegrowers (BAIW), a Travelife Partner, member of The Adventure Travel and Trade Association (ATTA) and Union of International Mountain Leader Associations (UIMLA), founder of the Bulgarian Association for Alternative Tourism (BAAT), co-founder of Danube Competence Centre (DCC) and sponsor in different projects of the campaign “Let nature remain in Bulgaria”. Zig Zag Holidays is a subcompany of Odysseia-In.