Throughout most of the world February the 14th is known as St. Valentines Day but in Bulgaria this month also marks the official beginning of the vine-growing season when Bulgarians celebrate St. Trifon Zarezan, the guardian of wine-makers and growers.
The day is dedicated to honour wine, vines and blessings for a good year’s harvest. Traditions and rituals are practiced across the country when villages, wineries and vineyards participate in the pruning of the vines. The King or Queen of wine will cut three twigs from their strongest vines before washing the freshly cut areas with red wine to ensure the future vitality of the vines. The three pieces of vines are then made into a crown for the chosen one to wear and the celebrations of blessing the grapes, breaking bread and sharing wine continue. If you’re lucky enough to be in a village festival expect lots of dancing, music, food, wine and rakia drinking!
Listed below are some of the wine events in Bulgaria to celebrate St. Trifon Zarezan, just click on the links for more detailed information on the programs.
Melnik is famous for it’s wines and to mark St. Trifon Zarezan a collection of wineries from the area are hosting many wine-inspired events in addition to the St. Trifon Zarezan’s blessing of the vineyards. There’s also the second edition of Melnik Open Doors: A Celebration of Wine-making and Vine-growing, during the weekend of 17-18 February 2018. Over the weekend, you will have the chance to visit seven wineries: Villa Melnik, Zlaten Rozhen, Zornitza Family Estate, Libera Estate, Orbelia, Orbelus, Rupel and Sintika, which are located in the compact region between Melnik, Sandanski and Petrich.
Over the weekend you can tour the production facilities, learn about the wine-making practices, and meet the people behind the labels – the owners, the winemakers, the agronomists, the vine-growers. You can participate in the pruning rituals and the blessing of the vineyards. Some of the wineries will celebrate with folklore performances while others will demonstrate cooking with wine and wine and food matching. Of course, you will have the chance to taste a variety of wines from indigenous and international varieties at each winery.
Located in the in the fertile Thracian low-lands, is the village of Brestovitsa, one of the oldest and most famous wine regions. There will be the traditional procession from the square to the vineyards where the ritual burrowing will take place. Right next door is Bendida Winery where you can sample young wines and explore their wine cellars.
If you don’t want to do the visit on your own, Slow Tours Bulgaria have organised a trip to the local wineries in the area. Leaving from Plovdiv, the price includes transport to watch the celebrations take place. While you’re there, you’ll have plenty of opportunities for wine tasting in the afternoon and discovering more about local wines before heading back to Plovdiv.
Veliko Tarnovo Region
World renowned and one of the oldest wineries in Bulgaria, the Lovico winery in Suhindol will be hosting events in honour of Trifon Zarezan. Just 50km from Veliko Tarnovo the municipality will be celebrating local winegrowers and wine producers from the 13th and on the 14th will welcome guests for the vine rituals and procession from the central square.
Trastena Wines will be at Ситняково Market from 2pm during the afternoons of the 14th and 15th. Drop by to enjoy some wine tasting, including their well known raspberry variety, and tempting chocolate.
Farmhopping Bulgaria is hosting a few days of wine-inspired events in Vitosha Boulevard where you can try handmade chocolate and fine wines from Villa Melnik, Medi Valley Winery and the Manastira Wine Cellar.
If you’re a lover of art and wine then these series of events throughout the week combines the having fun with art while having a good glass of wine with the Arte Class Varna. The sessions will include guest appearances from Bulgarian artists, Miroslav Yotov, Georgi Kenarov and Vassil Penchev who will show visitors easy techniques and skills to enhance their artwork. You don’t have to be an experienced artist and the price include art materials and wine!