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винени спирки

Wine stops on the way to the seaside resorts

Wine stops on the way to the seaside resorts

винени спирки

Have you noticed that we spend longer choosing the destination or hotel of our summer holidays instead of looking at how we can make the journey there into an adventure? Based on our survey focusing on wine lovers, 48% of them visit a winery 2 to 3 times a year and 35% do so “every time they are in a wine region”. Are you one of them?

Bulgaria is lucky in that wherever you’re setting off from you make your way through at least 2 wine region en route to the Bulgarian Black Sea coast. And this doesn’t even include the actual Black Sea region where the opportunities abound. 

Don’t be quick to close down this page just because you aren’t headed to the Bulgarian seaside. We know, from personal experience, that many of the wineries in Greece en route to their resorts aren’t open on weekends and the route to the border with Greece is dotted with Bulgarian wineries that will gladly welcome you.

How could we possibly miss stopping at one of the wineries?

Before we get into specific examples and routes let’s list 3 reasons why you should plana  “wine getaway” on route to your summer vacation:

  1. The short breaks in the wineries are a chance for a much needed rest for the driver, they will predispose the other passengers to be a little more “at ease” and perhaps more cheerful for the remainder of the journey, but will also enrich everyone with some wine knowledge. Don’t forget to thank the driver with a bottle of wine.
  2. You can purchase wine for those long summer nights. Even better – you’ll get to choose between wines you have already tried minimising the risk of the unknown.
  3. You will bring some diversity to your trip – meeting new people, new wines, the nature in the area and you may even decide to stop by the nearest tourist site.

Destination Bulgarian Black Sea Coast

The roads to the Bulgarian Black Sea coast are so many and depend on where you are setting off from. If you are traveling from western Bulgaria and prefer to travel on the Trakia motorway there are plenty of tempting wine stops along the way starting as early as the region of Pazardzhik. 

Velis Vineyards is a unique Bulgarian-German wine project born out of love for wine, nature and art. Located in the village of Karabunar, Pazardzhik region, it is conveniently 90 km from the capital Sofia and 60 km from Plovdiv. As well as being a home to high quality wines and culinary treats, the winery hosts festivals, contemporary theatre performances, art exhibitions and concerts. A reservation prior visiting is recommended and don’t forget to taste both Bulgarian and German wines. 

Wine tasting for two at Villa Velis
Wine tasting for two at Manastira

Wine cellar Manastira is located in the village of Lisichevo and the name of the cellar is inspired by the spiritual centre that arose during the Second Bulgarian Kingdom along the waters of the Topolnitsa River, 3 km from the village. Surrounded by vineyards the winery offers beautiful views from its balcony while you taste their wines presented by their creator – the cellar technologist. Ilaya Mavrud rosé is their signature summer wine but make sure to ask for the Tamyanka and Sauvignon Blanc as well. White wines from the Thracian Lowland may surprise you.

It is even better if your wine stop is somewhere where you can get some lunch. In the region of Plovdiv you can do so in Villa Yustina. After a short tour through the winery (and the vineyards too) you can indulge in a wine lunch at the complex’s restaurant. The dishes on the menu are made with local products, some of which are even produced on their own farms – Boer goat meat, fish from their fish farm and others. It is unlikely that you will have time for the pool, but you can plan your next visit to the northern slopes of the Rhodope mountain. 

In the video below, which we made along with Visit Plovdiv, you can see the beauty of the region as well as what to expect in Villa Yustina and why should you stay in Plovdiv for at least one day.

Just 30 down the road you will find Dragomir Wine Estate which is impressive with its architecture, high class wines, but also with the fact that they are among the Best wineries in the prestigious ranking Top 100 World’s Best Vineyards 2022. The red wines here deserve the time and attention of the visitors and considering the summer season, the Sarva Dimyat and Natalie rosé are excellent representatives for the region.

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Wine tasting at Dragomir Wine Estate
Wine weekend at Edoardo Miroglio and Soli Invicto

We continue on our way and the possibilities for wine adventures continue to grow. Even if you don’t know that they are there big billboards on the motorway between Nova Zagora and Sliven will inform you that Wine cellar Edoardo Miroglio and hotel Soli Invicto and just a stone-throw away. Those who love Pinot Noir will quickly notice that is this “The land of Pinot Noir”. This could also be the “sparkling stop” for those who enjoy the bubbles. Wine, spa, bubbles and the option to spend the night will have you contemplating whether you should extend your vacation.

A relatively new destination is also conveniently in your way. Not so well known to wine travellers but famous to wine connoisseurs is the winery Chateau Avli. Their Traminer, Caladoc rosé and gorgeous Cabernet Sauvignon are good reasons to visit.

Once you have reached the region of the Southern Black Sea make sure to set aside an afternoon to enjoy the beautiful lavender fields over at DiVes Estate and get to know the region with their Wine tour and lavender aroma sampling. Luckily they are located so close to Nessebar and Aheloy that you’ll still have the sea breeze at hand and that overall summer vacation feeling. 

Wine tour and lavender aroma sampling in DiVes Estate
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Wine tasting for two in Stratsin, Pomorie region

Wine cellar Stratsin are sure to make your summer wine adventure all the more interesting with their varieties including Grenache Blanc, Vermentino, Sauvignon Blan rose and their impressive Merlot from 2017. The view of animals roaming around freely in the background while you sip away your wine in their tasting room is bound to bring back memories of care-free summers.

Destination Northern Black Sea Coast and getting there

If your choice of route is the “Hemus” motorway then we cannot miss pointing out the first wine stop on the way – Tipchenitsa Winery. Just 30 km north of Botevgrad, in the foothills of the Vrachanski Balkan is where the winery is nestled, preserving the history of viticulture and winemaking in the area but is also one of the few that grow their vineyards organically. Their wine pouring/tasting system is interesting, and if you’re a “0 Waste” follower this is the place you shouldn’t miss. We recommend trying Vrachanski Misket and you will be truly lucky if you taste the one aged in oak barrels. Make sure to stock up as it usually sells out quickly.

Wine tasting of local varieties in Tipchenitza and 2 wines to take home
Tasting of Old School Wines for two near Veliko Turnovo

Други спирки, които спокойно могат да приполовят пътя до Северното Черноморие, са съсредоточени в района на Велико Търново. А защо не и да прекарате ден в този красив град и да се отдадете на историята, която пази. Винарна Ялово, която е превърнала старото и изоставено училище в с. Ялово в изба, съхранява традициите и опазва стари местни сортове. Пет-Нат, пелин, рубин, димят, гъмза, чудесно шардоне “Златни ръце” и много други “Old School wines” ще откриете тук.

Other wine stops around the halfway mark to the Northern Black Sea coast are concentrated in the area of Veliko Tarnovo. And why not spend a day in this beautiful city and indulge in the history it preserves. Yalovo Winery which converted the old and abandoned school in the village of Yalovo into a cellar, preserves traditions as well as old local varieties. You will find Pet-Nat, Pelin, Rubin, Dimyat, Gamza, wonderful Chardonnay “Golden hands” and many other “Old School wines”.

Another one near Veliko Tarnovo is the small wine cellar “Dragoshinov” owned by the Dragoshinov family, which opened their doors to tourists just last year. Tastings here take place outdoors in the garden of the cellar and their proximity to the Kilifarev Monastery makes them an even more preferred destination. We’ll never forget the homemade bread and local appetizers they paired their wines with during our tasting while a stork peered curiously at us in the courtyard.

Tasting in Dragoshinov Wine Cellar near Veliko Tarnovo
Wine tasting for two in Tsarev Brod

Further north in another area that inspires pride in every traveller as well as curiosity, is wine cellar Tsarev Brod – very close to the Madara Rider landmark. How wonderful is it to combine wine, history and nature in your journey to the sea?! Sparkling or still Gergana, dessert, sparkling or still Riesling, and why not Northern Pinot Noir – a wealth of styles for every wine connoisseur.

Not far from Varna, just 24 km from it, we are given the opportunity to visit a not so well-known destination but certainly popular among wine lovers for its Dimyat – Devina – vineyards and wine. Located on the road between Devnya and Varna, the location opened its doors this year and is quickly becoming a favourite place to drink a fresh and well-chilled Dimyat among the vineyards. Make sure to visit the museum of mosaics in Devnya.

In the village of Ezerovo, just 10 km from Varna you will find  a small but with impressive with its 1600 decares of vineyards wine cellar Chateau Boshnakoff. Here you will find small batches of wines with character, reflecting the specificity of the Black Sea region which you can taste in their cosy tasting room.

Wine tasting for two at DeVina - vineyards and wine
Wine Tasting for two in Chateau Boshnakoff

Izba Odessos is located in the city of Varna itself, conveniently located near public transport stops in the Vladislavo district. It’s a small-town craft winery whose craft wines represent the best of Northeast wine. After several vintage campaigns in some of the most prestigious wineries in Australia, New Zealand and Chile, the brothers Georgi and Vladislav Vankovi decided to return to their hometown and put their experience into their own wines, carrying the terroir of the area, the courage of youth all with a new, modern twist. Experience the urban spirit and bold artisanal approach of the Vankovi brothers and the wines of Odessos Cellar. Visit them for an exciting tasting.

 

Wine tasting in Craft Winery Odesos for two
Wine tasting in Craft Winery Odesos for two

The Northern Black Sea coast is an exceptional wine region, and you can enjoy the wines of the cellars that you cannot visit at Wineground Bottles & Beans with friends.

Destination Greece and Struma Valley

You’ve got your eyes set on a vacation in Greece? Regardless as to where you cross the border with our southern neighbour there are plenty of choices for stops along the way.

The road to the Kulata checkpoint is beautiful, the nature is amazing, and there are legends about the wine from Melnik. No, we won’t be encouraging you to stop in the actual town of Melnik itself but in one of the modern wine cellars along the way to get to know the varieties characteristic of this region: Shiroka Melnishka Loza (Broadleafed Melnik), Melnik 55, Melnik 1300, Sandanski Misket and others.

There are many different wineries and here is some of them and what they offer:

Villa Sintica is situated in Sandanski and offers wine tastings, restaurant with exceptional dishes and a complex with a hotel and new luxurious Spa Villas. It is definitely worth exploring all the amenities here but if you haven’t planned to do so a wine and gourmet lunch at the restaurant will surely inspire you to plan a longer stay during another summer weekend. 

If you have seen the TV series “Vina” (“The Grapes of Guilt”) on BNT 1 you surely remember the picturesque road winding around vast vineyards and green fields and the bizarre shapes of the Melnik pyramids along which the actors drove vintage cars and reached the wineries. Just for these views alone it is worth deviating to the village of Kapatovo and then reaching the very “Markova Izba” from the series.

Wine tasting for two in Zlaten Rozhen winery near Melnik
Tasting and visit to the Vintage Car Museum in Zlaten Rozhen for two

Wine cellar Zlaten Rozhen in the village of Kapatovo is a paradise for both wine lovers and travellers for whom wine is not such a big passion. And for the drivers too of course. While some are exploring the winery, tasting wines outdoors in the gazebo or in the chilled tasting room, those driving can spend plenty of time with each vintage car stored in the Zlaten Rozhen Vintage Car Museum. Be sure to taste their Sandanski Misket, Rosaspina Rosé, Cabernet Franc Parallel 42, as well as any of their exclusive series. And for the driver, get a Melnik Sepage so that they also get a chance to enjoy the wines of the cellar. You can also charge your electric cars here!

Many also recognise the name of the village from Kapatovo Family Estate whose wines you can get know better in their new tasting room located next to their new guest houses. Making sure we don’t miss a wine recommendation here too – the Sauvignon Blanc x Viognier blend as well as the Syrah x Petit Verdot x Primitivo red blend are worth the detour. Of course they’re not the only reason to pay the estate a visit but it’s worth noting that not many wineries work with these varieties.

Четири бутилки вино подредени на кръгла дървена маса, с положена легнала, празна чаша за вино пред тях, до голям, откъснат грозд от тъмно грозде и от ляво на чашата лозичка на масата. За фон лозя
Vineyard vacation at Kapatovo Family Estate
Wine tasting for two in Villa Melnik

They won’t give you a retro car to drive to “Markova Izba” a.k.a. Villa Melnik but you will feel like part of the series with your own car. When you get there you will walk through the tunnels under the cellar, the production base itself, where Elena Telbis and Gero often argued about oenological issues, and finally you will taste the wines in the tasting room. There are some bold wines here and we recommend trying those from local varieties.

And do you remember the drone-shot landscape that was revealed from the roof of Aleni Hulmove (Scarlet Hills) which Gero and Lilia Maravilia admired? It’s worth visiting the newly-built Aya Estate Vineyards for those views alone. Aya Estate Vineyards is the newest wine treasure in the region of Melnik and the first project of its kind in Bulgaria which can rightly be called a Wine Gallery. It is called the “invisible building” because it follows the natural curves of the terrain and is in complete harmony with the landscape making it hard to stand out at first glance. The facade gives a feeling of a vertical cross section of the terrain and resembles the sand formations near Melnik. The complex will include a winery with a gourmet restaurant, biodynamically cultivated vineyards, a gallery with art points created by the artists especially for the winery and all this will be harmoniously woven into their surroundings. And although the cellar has not yet been officially opened, it can be visited by tourists providing they make a reservation in advance.

Aya Estate Vineyards
Wine gallery "The Eye" by Stoyan Dechev

Further south in the village of Dolno Spanchevo is Rupel winery. A walk through the vineyards opens up incredible views. Those who are fans of mountain biking will be surprised by some exciting routes. Wine tastings can take place in the winery itself where there is also a shop as well as in a small chateau with a hall for 40 people or in the gazebo behind the vineyards. Ask about Vermentino x Viognier Rusalii, Marcellin Gramatik, as well as Melnik 55 Rusalii.

Transform the journey into an adventure and don’t forget to keep the driver away from the temptations. Contact us to organise your wine detours quickly and responsibly!

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