Bulgaria is a small country that is located between Romania and Greece and has less surface area than the state of New York. Although not commonly a global household name for wine, Bulgaria has a history that deserves recognition. During the 1980’s Bulgaria ranked as the 4th largest exporter for wine in the world - this was because most of the wine (90%) was exported in large quantities to the Soviet Union. Long before that archaeologists believe that Bulgarians produced wine dating back to 4000 BC during the habitation of the Thracians (an Indo-European group of tribes). The Thracians had a special relationship with wine; some would say their connection with wine was parallel with that of the Gods Times have changed and production levels from Bulgaria have declined, however, the culture in Bulgaria has remained lively with a desire for dances, jokes and tales. Not only are folklore and rituals one of the country’s main attractions but people also enjoy exploring sites like the ancient city of Nessebar (a 3,000 year old Thracian settlement) and the Rila Monastery (dating back to the 10th century). Bulgaria has roughly 210 monasteries speckled across its land, many of which are in close proximity to wineries. When travelling though it’s important to understand how norms differ from country to country. In Bulgaria, if somebody asks you if you are enjoying your glass of their famous ‘mavrud’ wine (an ancient red variety), you would shake your head in order to answer ‘yes’. Bulgarians, unlike much of the rest of the world, shake their heads side to side to agree and nod to say no. Confusing right? (This is where you shake your head).
7 million (2019)
110,994 sq km (42,855 sq mi)