Where to go wine tasting in Sofia?
Sofia’s restaurants are undoubtedly sporting more diverse wine lists than those in smaller cities even in Bulgaria’s most wine-rich regions such as Plovdiv. And if the choice of wine for dinner is leading, the choice of restaurants in the capital is also vast. Help is on the way for wine enthusiasts of Bulgarian wines – the recently created City Wine map covers all restaurants whose wine lists are dominated by quantitatively high-quality local wines.
Sure, many residents of the capital will immediately disagree so let me paraphrase a favourite French expression and reassure them – “Get lost among the countryside and see…” It is no surprise that wine places where you can go for a wine tasting are far from few. Here are some ideas where to indulge in a wine tasting of Bulgarian wines in Sofia as well as get interesting information about the wines, the cellars and the regions, learn about what food to combine them with, and even choose your next wine destination to visit.
Vino Orenda Wine Shop
Vino Orenda is the first specialised store offering exclusively Bulgarian wine, whose selection includes over 300 wines from over 50 producers – small, family, boutique wineries, limited series and small projects. For more than 12 years now, they have been searching, selecting, looking for and admiring the products of work with typical rare Bulgarian varieties. The owner of the store is Asen Tsekov – a wine specialist, sweet talker and fond lover of Bulgarian wine, leads wine tastings and introduces wine lovers to rare Bulgarian wines. If you have not yet taken part in Sofia’s neighbourhood Tour de Zarezan, organised by Vino Orenda, make sure to attend this year’s event on February 10th. Don’t wait for an occasion, you can always visit the shop located at 50A Macedonia Blvd. for a wonderful experience with Asen and his selection of 5 wines for tasting.
Cellar 52 is a place where the stories of selected and exciting wines from small artisan producers from around the world are told. A wine selection of over 1000 wines that they select and import to Bulgaria themselves, travelling all over the world.
The team consists of wine professionals only: Blagoy, sommelier and wine buyer; Nikola, restaurant owner; Denitsa – wine expert and Rositsa – wine traveller and expert. The space is both a wine shop, where one can choose a wine from the extensive selection, and a wine bar with a selection of 150 wines by the glass. Wine lovers have access to rare wines that they can sample before buying, enriching both their palate and their wine culture. All this is possible thanks to Coravin – the wine system for long-term storage of wines.
In Cellar 52 you can taste both magnificent Bulgarian wines from small producers and travel through classic wine regions, such as Burgundy, Tuscany, California, Loire, Douro Valley etc. They often organise thematic tastings, led by Blagoy Kuzmanski himself.
The wine shop is located at 52 Oborishte St., Sofia and is open from 11 AM until 10 PM.
If you are a true wine fan you must have come across Apollowine’s online store. Its creators have already been promoting Bulgarian wines with their online store for 10 years, conducting wine training, judging international wine competitions and are true ambassadors of our native wines. They have their own brand “Wine hippies” and they also make an Apollowine Online Selection every year which you can also find locally now.
In 2023 they also opened their first physical store which is also a great location for wine events, tastings, training and presentations. The wine selection of Bulgarian and foreign wines is remarkable while the tastings are delicious, educational and certainly fun. Whether you will get to know Bulgarian wines or prefer meeting some “unknown classics” is entirely up to you. You can find the store at 49 Konstantin Velichkov Blvd., and their exclusive tasting offers here:
Tempus Vini Wine Point
Tempus Vini Wine Point is a wine shop located just a few blocks from the pedestrian boulevard of the capital, in an area known for its fine restaurants and boutiques – 81 Knyaz Boris Street. They offer an abundance of quality wines, which are stored in their own cellar. You can get to know them during a wine tasting led by the owner of the place. Here you can explore and learn about the different wine regions, the history and the wine culture of beautiful Bulgaria, tasting 5 authentic to Bulgaria varieties such as a vairy of Miskets, Shiroka Melnishka Loza and its children, Mavrud, Gamza and Rubin. The wines are accompanied by local cheeses, artisan bread and mineral water.
Sofia Wine Walk
Sofia Wine Walk is not a place but a journey through several wine sites in Sofia located within walking distance of each other. During the tour you will get to know 3 of the urban wine establishments in the capital with an affinity and professional attitude towards Bulgarian wines. You will taste 2 wines in each wine bar/restaurant, served with appropriate small bites in places, and the wine specialist and founder of Sofia Wine Walk – Pavlin Ivanov will tell you all about Bulgarian wine, varieties, cellars, regions and other interesting information.
Spend around 2 and a half hours in the world of Bulgarian wine with a short walk between the sites – no more than 10-20 minutes. Enough time to refresh your mind and enjoy beautiful Sofia. The ultimate goal is an unforgettable experience for each guest and personal treatment.
Wine Generator – Wine Bar & Shop
Located in a very communicative place, the Wine Generator wine bar is the latest creation of the DiVino team. A wine shop and bar where every wine region in Bulgaria has found its place on the walls and the selection of over 150 wines was created by wine experts who travel and write about their wine experiences in their magazine DiVino Magazine, annually ranking Bulgarian wines in their prestigious chart DiVino TOP 50. In addition to the large selection of bottles to take home or to consume on the spot, there are plenty of options for wine by the glass. Every week they organise events to introduce different wine cellars to the people of the capital, giving the winemakers a platform to present their wines in person. In addition to small Bulgarian wine producers, here you will also find farm products that come together in delicious plates for a harmonious pairing with the wines.
As we mentioned in the introduction the choice of places is vast and the ones listed here barely scratch the surface. We are eagerly awaiting the opening of the new bar “More Wine” and we can confidently recommend “Grape Central” and “Mini.Bar”. As for those not mentioned, we can only wish to visit them soon and share personal experiences and impressions with you.