29.02.2016 The Struma valley wine region (Part 1)

As Peter (a business partner from Germany currently living in France) started the car’s engine the thermometer showed -11°C in the misty winter morning. And the degrees were even expected to drop to the freezing -17 (!)… Well, we were in Sofia, ready to head to the South for an exciting wine trip to the best wineries in the Struma river valley! Peter is preparing an online wine tourism platform and this was his first specialized tour to some distinguished wine cellars which I have carefully selected in advance. But that’s not the point of my article. I would like to present you shortly these wineries which are definitely worth paying a visit and are certainly included in our wine tours!


Let me start with a quick introduction to the Struma valley wine region. Found in Bulgaria’s southwest – between the River Struma and Pirin Mountain, close to the Aegean Sea – this tiny but significant wine area is home to the smallest Bulgarian town – Melnik with 325 inhabitants (2015). People here are keeping passionately wine making traditions and are passing them on the new generations. Actually, almost every single house offers its homemade wine…


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2016-01-23 12.49.41So, no surprise that Melnik (famous also for the natural phenomenon – the sand pyramids) is a nation-leader in producing strong reds, well developing in contact with oak – the autochtonic pride is called Shiroka Melnishka Loza (it was a favourite of Winston Churchill who used to order it by the barrel!), also the hybrid variety Melnik 55 (a cross between Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiroka Melnishka) but also Merlot and Cabernet Savignon, and recently some whites (mostly Viognier, Chardonnay and the local aromatic “star” Sandanski Misket).



And the wineries are…




Georgievi Brothers Winery is a tiny, charming, artisan winery managed by two energetic brothers and entrepreneurs.

We have been warmly welcomed with barrel sampling of the new vintage red wine…

Let me mention only two things more to arouse your curiosity – Winemakery club and orange wine. In addition, there is a nice, modern guest house at visitor’s disposal, just a few steps away from the production facility!









Sintika2Have you heard about CTS or “Complex Testing Station”? No? Well, you have probably had the chance to “skip” the communism but you should not skip Sintika or the ex-CTS of Sandanski. This was a place where lots of experiments have been made, including also creation of new wine grape varieties and wine blending. Nowadays it is a nice winery, still keeping the spirit of those times…


to be continued…