Bulgaria: Vineyards

Appears in

Oxford Companion to Wine

Oxford Companion to Wine

By Jancis Robinson

Published 2006

  • About
The landscape of the Bulgarian wine industry has changed dramatically since the fall of the Iron Curtain and even more so since the completion of privatization. As part of EU membership negotiations, Bulgaria confirmed a vineyard area of 153,000 ha/378,071 acres and indeed official data for 2006 showed an area under vine of 135,760 ha/335,470 acres, but this seems never to have been a realistic reflection of what was planted or likely to be planted. By the end of 2013, the country’s Executive Agency for Vine and Wine recorded a potential vineyard total area of 81,000 ha/200,155 acres, of which only 68,840 ha/170,107 acres were already in full production. Even this may be an overestimate. Ministry of Agriculture surveys suggest that up to one-third of the vineyard area may have been abandoned. Nearly half of Bulgaria’s vines are over 30 years old but since 2008 6,000 to 8,000 ha/14,800 to 19,800 acres have been renovated each year. This almost certainly reflects the purchase of vineyards by large wineries, as well as the emergence of small and medium-sized wineries with quality aspirations. The officially declared wine production in 2013 was 1.8 million hl/nearly 50 million gal, but there is also a significant black market for wine.