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UK should return to Bulgaria

Bulgaria’s winemakers have appealed to the UK to look again at Bulgarian wines citing a return to quality winemaking, growing expertise and new, different varieties.

Having once been very popular in the UK, Bulgaria spent years in the wilderness following declining quality towards the end of the communist era.

However, current winemakers argue that the wine industry is back on its feet again and deserving of a second chance.

“It’s very important to bring belief in Bulgarian wines back to the UK market,” Milko Tsvetkov, owner of Villa Yustina, told the drinks business on a recent trip.

“We’re making good wines again.”

‘Good quality and good value,” echoed his trade director, Petya Angelova.

Equally striving for better quality is Krasimir Patishanov, general manager of the Brestovitsa co-operative.

During his three years in charge he has introduced new, in-winery, bottling lines and encouraged his growers to reduce yields – something that the co-op has been encouraging for the last 15 years.

“The consumers in the UK need to come back to Bulgaria because the wines have the quality and are developing at a good price.”

Patishanov also made the case for indigenous grape varieties such as Mavrud and Rubin arguing that they offered a new experience in their own right and were interesting grapes to blend with international varieties.

“They’re good enough to compare with international varieties,” he said, “and they make blends unique.

“Merchants welcome blends because it’s something interesting and new. We don’t need to produce something that has already been done and only Bulgaria can offer these (native) varieties.”

Kalin Martinov, CEO of Starolets winery’s owner MK 2004, continued: “It’s a dream to be back in the UK but only with good quality wines.

“In the last few years there have been new players and they’re investing in new technology and equipment. We want to restore wines that used to be very popular once.”

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