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Bulgaria

Bulgaria is a small wine-growing country located in the centre of the Balkan peninsula whit history dating back over 3000 years ago - with the ancient Thracians consuming wine from elegant gold vessels in the shape of animals and mythical creatures.

The Thracians frequently traded what was then a powerful, sweet wine from native grapes with the Greeks. Many excavations have found numerous votive plates, decorated vessels and coins representing scenes of drinking wine in the everyday lives of the Thracians.

Bulgaria has very favourable climate and it is easily explained why it has such a long history with producing wine with a good number sunshine hours, fertile soils and geographic latitude providing the perfect vine growing conditions practically all over the country. The country was the world's second-largest wine producer in the 1980s, but the industry was destroyed after the collapse of communism. The most prominent native varieties are the red Mavrud and Pamid in the south and Gamza (Kadarka) in the north.

Of course, the international varieties that are thriving here are Chardonnay, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc and Traminer for the whites and the reds are Mavrud, Melnik, along with Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Franc and Syrah. Bulgaria has five principal wine-growing areas including on the North - Danubian Plain, East - Black Sea, South - Thracian Lowland, Southwest - Struma River Valley and the Sub-Balkan Rose Valley.

Since the country is in the European Union new wine laws have been established in three levels with the first being Vino - wine the second is PGI (Protected Geographical Indication) - a country wine with a protected geographical indication with two land wine areas PGI Danube Valley and PGI Thrace Valley and the best category PDO (Protected Designation of Origin) - a quality wine with a protected designation of origin with about 50 PDOs. As one of the oldest wine countries in Europe, nowadays Bulgaria starts to produce outstanding wines and it is making a come back on the world wine market.

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