Velis Vineyards is a unique Bulgarian-German wine project, born out of love for wine, nature and art. The story begins in 2010, when the recultivation of old vineyards in the Upper Thracian lowland, which had been left unattended for a long time, began. Today in Bulgaria, Velis Vineyards grow traditional French grape varieties – Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Pinot Noir, Syrah, Petit Verdot and Merlot in the Western Thracian Plain and vinify them in their own winery, Villa Velis, in the village of Karabunar. In Germany, they grow Riesling, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, which are processed in their own modern cellars in Flörsheim-Dalsheim.
The main priority of Velis Vineyards is high quality grapes. To achieve this the maximum yields are limited to 5,000 kg per hectare and the grapes are harvested entirely by hand in 10 kg boxes. Bulgarian grapes are transported by refrigerated vehicles to their cellar in Rheinhessen, where the grapes are vinified and aged in French oak barrels. The secret of the magical wines of Velis Vineyards is gentle and delicate processing of the grapes.
Velis Vineyards produces whites, rosés and reds with incredible aging potential. They impress with structure, variety of flavours and potential to surprise over time. Reserves are aged in French oak barrels for 12 months. The subsequent aging of the red wines in the bottle also contributes to the perfect balance of the wines and their complexity.
Villa Velis is the Bulgarian series of wines produced by Bulgarian technologists in close proximity to the vineyards in Karabunar. The series is inspired by the return to the roots and the rediscovery of the forgotten and lost. It is a tale of how nature and man become one and how terroir and winemakers influence each other.
The Villa Velis series includes white wines from Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay, Rosé from Pinot Noir, as well as red wines, single varietal and blends, from Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Petit Verdot and Merlot. The wines from the series are gastronomic and can be a suitable aperitif or combined with a variety of culinary recipes.
The Velis Vineyards series presents the Reserves of the wine project, aged 12 months in French oak barrels and 12 to 14 months in the bottle or wines that have a long aging potential – between 10 and 20 years depending on the vintage. They include both single-varietal wines from Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot, as well as blends such as Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah.
The wines of the HEAVEN’S DOOR series are synonymous with fun and pure enjoyment of drinking. Those wines that bring pleasure but without the need for longer aging. The HEAVEN’S DOOR series includes various wines, mainly blends. Red wine from Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah or Rosé from Syrah and Merlot – the wine has distinct fruit flavours and the proportions of the specific varieties vary each year to produce a harmonious wine according to the climate and the vintage. To fully balance the flavours, HEAVEN’S DOOR reds have a brief contact with French oak barrels.
Villa Velis has been welcoming guests for tastings since 2021 and the restaurant adjacent to the winery is open from Thursday to Sunday, except on days when there are private events. The owners’ attitude to products from local producers is exemplary – they include dairy and meat delicacies from farms in the area which are served to guests at tastings and are part of the restaurant’s menu. The large yard of the cellar is extremely suitable for wine festivals, weddings, and knowing the innovative approach of the team, we expect interesting Wine & Art events in the open air.
During the visit, you will explore the production room and the wine aging room, accompanied by a short story about them. The tasting of wines from Villa Velis takes place in the tasting room – the future Wine & Tapas bar. Wines from German cellars are also available for purchase in the shop.
Located in the Batashka mountain in the Western Rhodopes, 5 kilometres from the town of Peshtera, “Snezhanka” (the Bulgarian name for Snow White) boasts the most beautiful glacial forms found in Bulgaria. She will take you to the fairy-tale world of the beloved children’s heroine and reveal her secrets which are more than 3.5 million years old. “Snezhanka” is a relatively small cave (145m long) but it contains several uniquely beautiful halls with sinter pools.
Trayanovi vrata (also known as Gate of Trayan or Stenos Fortress) is a pass located in Sredna Gora, connecting the Ihtiman valley with the Thracian lowland. The Stenos fortress in Trayanovi vrata pass is located about 15 kilometres from Kostenets near the Trakia highway. The fortress is located on the old Roman road Via Militaris. It is assumed that the construction of the Stenos fortress began in the 2nd century, during the time of Emperor Trajan. On August 17, 986, the Bulgarians led by Tsar Samuil inflicted a crushing defeat on the Byzantine emperor Basil II in Trajan’s Gate pass, near the fortress.
One of the most visited places in Panagyurishte is the house-museum of Rayna Futekova – head teacher at the girls’ school, who was only 20 years old when she sewed the main flag in the April uprising in 1876. On April 22, 1876 – the day of its consecration, at the request of the citizens, she led the solemn procession, mounted on a chosen horse, girded with a sabre and a revolver. In the former craft workshop “Kerena”, on the first floor, a documentary-material exposition dedicated to the life and role of Rayna Knyaginya during the April Uprising is presented. The ethnographic exposition on the second floor gives an idea of the environment in which the distinguished Bulgarian woman was born and grew up.