This article has links to products and services we recommend, which we may make a commission from.
In one of the oldest winemaking countries in the world, Bulgarian wineries are drawing on their rich heritage to make amazing wines.
Bulgarian wineries are reviving indigenous varieties like Mavrud, Rubin, Pamid, Ruen, Melnik, Gamza, and others to produce award-winning wines.
While exploring the authentic food specialties in the country, we visited a handful of Bulgarian wineries to discover the local wines.
Though not exhaustive, consider this your guide to the regions and Bulgarian wineries not to miss.
Nazdrave! (or Cheers in Bulgarian)
Bulgarian Wine Regions With Map
The country is divided into five main Bulgarian regions each with its own terroir and characteristics.
The Danubian Plain region is home to many of the most famous white wines, while most reds are produced in the Thracian Valley and Struma Valley.
The Thracian Valley is considered the most important wine region and by some, as the wine capital of Bulgaria.
AUTHENTIC FOOD QUEST TIP: If you are a wine enthusiast and wand to dive deeper into Bulgarian wines, consider this 6-day private wine and history tour of Bulgaria. This wine tour takes you across the country to visit three of Bulgaria’s main wine regions – the Thracian wine region, the Danubian Plain, and the Rose Valley. Departing from Sofia, with transportation and private guide, sample great wine and learn more about Bulgaria’s rich wine-making history.
How To Plan Your Winery Tour in Bulgaria
- Public transportation being limited, renting a car is the best option when traveling to wineries and from one winery to another. You also have the flexibility to spend as much time as you want at your favorite wineries.
- Another alternative is to consider taking a private tour or joining a small group tour. You’ll have personalized attention from your local guide and not need to worry about drinking and driving.
- The closest regions to Sofia are Struma Valley and Thracian Valley. Both are easily accessible by car or on a tour and are a 2 to 3-hour drive from the capital.
- We recommend not visiting too many wineries in one day. The tastings are generous, and the pace is slow and relaxed. Aim for no more than two to three winery visits per day.
AUTHENTIC FOOD QUEST TIP: If you are in Sofia and would like to explore Bulgarian wines, consider taking this private Sofia wine walk. Spend about 2.5 hours with a local wine expert visiting three different wine bars and shops discovering Bulgarian wines. Along the way, you’ll learn about the country’s rich wine heritage and which wines to enjoy or seek out during your Bulgarian stay.
1. Thracian Valley Wine Region
The Thracian Valley is one of Bulgaria’s oldest wine regions. Ancient Thracian tribes introduced wine-making to the region, and the wines were even mentioned by Homer in his works.
Plovdiv, Bulgaria’s second-largest city is the best place to explore this wine region that borders Bulgaria, Greece, and Turkey.
This Bulgarian wine region is mostly known for red wines with local varieties like Mavrud, Rubin, and Pamid.
You’ll also find international grape red grape varieties like Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, or Cabernet Franc.
Wines from the Thracian Lowlands have Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) status.
Top Bulgarian Wineries in The Thracian Valley
- Villa Yustina: Located about 16 miles ( 26 km) drive from Plovdiv, this award-winning boutique winery is renowned for making wines with the ancient Mavrud grape variety. Offering warm hospitality, enjoy exceptional views with mountainous backdrops, traditional gastronomy, and delicious wines from indigenous grape varieties.
- Bessa Valley Winery: Known for premium wines and innovative winemaking techniques, Bessa Valley produces high-quality red wine including their award-winning Enira wine and Domaine Bessa Valley wine.
- Dragomir Winery: This family-owned winery is situated near Plovdiv and focuses on crafting limited-edition wines, often aged in oak barrels. This newer winery offers uncompromising quality while championing indigenous grape varieties such as Rubin and Mavrud.
- Castra Rubra Winery: Producing wines with a focus on Bulgarian indigenous grape varieties, Castra Rubra is renowned for its Mavrud and Rubin wines.
Bulgarian Wine Tours in The Thracian Valley
From Plovdiv, this 3-hour private wine-tasting tour takes you on an exclusive wine-tasting experience at Villa Yustina winery. With transportation, this wine tour includes visits to the wine cellars, vineyards, and tasting room. Tastings of five local wines, including Rubin and Mavrud are included and paired with local Bulgarian food specialties. This is one of the best Bulgarian wineries in the Thracian Valley to learn about Bulgarian wines,
This private all-day wine-tasting experience takes you to Brestovitsa Winery for a sampling of Thracian Valley wines. At Brestovitsa Winery, you will visit the wine cellars and enjoy wine tastings of five local wines including Mavrud and Rubin. You will also have the opportunity to create your own blend of wine and enjoy a picnic lunch in the vineyards. This wine tour concludes with a visit to Plovdiv Old Town with a local guide. Designed for wine lovers, this experience offers unforgettable memories in the Bulgarian Thracian Valley.
2. Struma Valley Wine Region
The Struma Valley wine region is located in the southwest region of Bulgaria easily accessible from Sofia.
The small town of Melink in the heart of the region is a great base to explore wine production in the area.
The star of Struma Valley is the Melnik grape, also known as Shiroka Melnishka Loza or Broadleaved Melnik Vine.
This bold and powerful red wine is one of the most popular Bulgarian wines.
Other local grape varieties include hybrid varieties like Melnik 55, and Melnik Ruen Local white varietals include Sandanski Misket and Keratzuda.
Top Bulgarian Wineries in Struma Valley
- Villa Melnik: One of the most renowned wineries in Melnik, this family-owned wine house is famous for its Melnik, Mavrud, and Ruen varieties.
- Orbelia Winery: Boutique family-run winery that focuses on preserving indigenous Bulgarian grape varieties. One of their most famous bottles is the award-winning Orbelia Melnik 55.
- Rupel Winery: Named after Rupel Gorge, a picturesque ravine, the winery produces a variety of regional wines like Melnik 55, Marselan, Tamianka, and Sandanski Misket. Purity is at the core of their winemaking process.
Bulgarian Wine Tours in Melnik
From Sofia, this small group wine tour takes you to discover Melnik wineries and the region. You’ll visit highlights in Melnik town including the wine museum. From there head to Villa Melnik, an award-winning winery for a variety of tastings including their award-winning Broadleaf Melnik wine. Enjoy a visit to the wine cellar and vineyards and a delicious lunch paired with the local wines.
3. Black Sea Coast Wine Region
Bulgaria’s Black Sea Coast wine region is the center of white wine cultivation in the country.
The long coast is broken up into two sub-regions, North and South Black Sea Coast is known for its mild climate.
The wines from this region are fresh and vibrant white wines with both regional wines and international varieties.
One of the best wines from the region is Dimyat, a native variety, producing a refreshing dry white wine.
Other white varieties from the Black Sea Coast include Traminer, Muscat Ottonel, Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, and Uni Blanc.
Top Bulgarian Wineries on The Black Sea Coast
- DiVes Estate: Offering stunning views of the Black Sea, DiVes Estate is an award winning winery. Their flagship wine is a Rosé made from the indigenous Pamid grape variety. Other notable wines include Muscat and Sauvignon Blanc.
- Black Sea Gold Estates: Located in the region of Pomorie, Black Sea Gold is a renowned winery and one of the oldest in the region. With more than 650 hectares of vineyards, you’ll find a variety of wines including Traminer, Rosé, Dimyat, and many more.
Bulgarian Wine Tours On The Black Sea
Enjoy a special history and wine tour at DiVes Winery. Located in Burgas, this exclusive wine tour takes you through the winery along with a tasting of 5 different wines. Each wine is paired with a traditional Bulgarian specialty starting from light body wines, refreshing rosé wines, and delicious full-bodied red wines.
4. The Danubian Plain Wine Region
Located in the hilly northwest corner of Bulgarian, the Danubian Plain is home to about 30% of the country’s vineyards.
A diverse range of grape varieties, both white and red, thrive in the Danube Plain as a result of the continental climate and more than 40 micro-climates.
The most famous varietal is Gamza, a red wine with forest fruit aromas, spices, and vanilla. Among the white wines, Pamid and Muscat Ottoel are two of the popular native grape varieties.
International grape varieties such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Chardonnay, and others are also grown here. Wines from the Danubian Plain have PGI or protected geographic status.
Top Bulgarian Wineries in The Danubian Plain
- Yalovo Winery: Using old cultivation techniques, Yalovo Winery is a boutique winery that focuses on bringing back traditional indigenous varieties like Gamza, Pamid, Dimyat, Kokkorko, Varna Mavrud or Vinanka.
- Seven Generations Winery Hotel: Set amongst rolling hills, this winery and hotel has a rich wine-making history dating back to 1882. More than 20 wine varieties are produced including Muscat Ottonel, Chardonnay Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and others.
- Rumelia Winery: Specializing in organic wines since 2006, Rumelia Winery is committed to sustainable viticulture and produces a diverse selection of wines. Their wines include varieties like Mavrud, Syrah, Muscat Ottonel, or Rose Cabernet Sauvignon.
AUTHENTIC FOOD QUEST TIP: While exploring wines in the Danubian Plain, enjoy a stay at the Seven Generations Winery, Hotel, and Spa. This boutique hotel with spectacular views over the vineyards and the Danube River has a swimming pool, spa facilities, and restaurant for a relaxing stay. Enjoy wine tastings and explore the town of Ruse, known as “Little Vienna” which is only a 30-minute drive away.
5. The Rose Valley Wine Region
The Rose Valley is located in central Bulgaria, between the Sredna Gora Mountains and the Balkan Mountains.
This region gets its name from rose growing, a Bulgarian tradition dating back more than five centuries.
Besides rose growing, this region is famous for winemaking, also an ancient tradition.
Wines from this region are fresh and crisp with excellent white wines, Rosé wines, and lighter red wines.
Red Misket, a white wine despite the name, is the most iconic wine, not found anywhere else in the country.
Pamid red wines, including Traminer, Muscat Ottonel, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Merlot are also found in the Rose Valley wine region.
AUTHENTIC FOOD QUEST TIP: Starosel Winery located between the Thracian Valley and Valley of Roses is another one of the most popular wineries in Bulgaria to visit. Enjoy Starosel wine-tasting packages of several local wines as you tour the vineyards and learn about their wine production techniques.
Top Bulgarian Wineries in The Rose Valley
- Chateau Windy Hills: This Rose Valley winery is popular for producing high-quality French red and white wine varieties. Find exceptional Sauvignon Blanc, Muscat, Chardonnay, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and Alexandria Muscat.
- Minkov Brothers Wine Cellar: The Minkov Brothers Winery is one of the most awarded wineries in Bulgaria producing a variety of complex and elegant wines. Combining Bulgarian tradition with the latest winemaking technology, they produce a variety of wines like Rubin, Sauvignon Blanc, Muscat Ottonel, Cabernet Sauvignon, and more.
AUTHENTIC FOOD QUEST TIP: Make your culinary travels worry-free! With the right travel insurance, you’ll enjoy a delicious experience. From medical emergencies, flight cancelations, car rental protection, or tour cancelations, a good travel insurance has got you covered. Check out our travel insurance review for food lovers to get started.
Wine Festivals and Events: An Excellent Way to Explore Bulgarian Wines
The Rose Festival in Kazanlak
Combining wine and culture, attending the annual Kazanlak Rose Festival held in June is a wonderful way to explore Bulgarian wines.
Started in 1903, this festival celebrates the Bulgarian Rose, also known as Rosa Damascena.
The rose is used in the production of rose oil of which Bulgaria is the world’s largest producer.
During this festival, a Wine Expo is organized in the halls of Kazanlak Theater, where wine lovers can enjoy a Bulgarian wine tasting.
There are several wine competitions like the “Golden Kylikes,” a national competition for the best Rosé wine.
As well as workshops and master classes where you can learn about the interesting wines from the region.
AUTHENTIC FOOD QUEST TIP: If you are interested in visiting the Rose Valley, consider this Valley of Roses day trip from Sofia. In addition to exploring the Rose Valley, you’ll also sample rose oil products, explore Thracian tombs, and visit historic landmarks.
DiVino.Taste Wine Festival
DiVino.Taste is one of Bulgaria’s most important wine festivals, showcasing more than 500 Bulgarian wines.
This 3-day wine exhibition takes place in Sofia, attracting Bulgarian wine experts, international winemakers, and wine lovers from around the world.
Masterclasses, seminars, and presentations are available for wine tourism and those interested in learning more about international and Bulgarian wines.
Have you heard of any of these Bulgarian wineries? Or tried Bulgarian wines before? Please let us know in the comments below.
Savor the Adventure!
More Local Food Experiences and Recipes
Love Bulgarian Wineries? Pin it!
Rosemary is the editor-in-chief and strategist at Authentic Food Quest.
Traveling slow since 2015 with her partner, Claire, she has explored the cuisine in 45 countries and more than 240+ culinary cities.
Her writing about local food specialties has been featured in Lonely Planet, Business Insider, Honest Cooking, Food Insider, and Huffington Post.
As a food and travel writer, Rosemary has co-authored three books, including one in collaboration with Costa Brava Tourism.
Rosemary is an avid runner when she’s not eating and exploring new destinations. She has run ten marathons and counting.
Before Authentic Food Quest, Rosemary held senior-level strategy positions in advertising.
Find out more about Authentic Food Quest