|Bulgaria is the oldest documented wine producing country in the world.
The wines of ancient Thrace were first praised by Homer in both the Illiad and the Odyssey. Through the ages, these wines survived cultural and political turmoil to form the wines of modern day Bulgaria. It was the Romans who truly developed the Bulgarian wine industry from AD 681. Bringing in skilled wine-makers, the Romans set about introducing new methods of viticulture and vilification, whilst selecting many new sites for planting vines - including the Balkan Peninsula, and went on to significantly expand production to the benefit of the local economy.
During the Middle Ages, Bulgaria came under increasing of the church. The great wine-makers of this time were monks who stored their wines in the cellars of the thick walled monasteries. Wine-makers saw the importance of storing the wines in cool, constant temperatures and cellars were built in Pliska, Perusal and Turnoff. Under Ottoman rule, dessert grapes were introduced from Asia Minor to produce sweet wines to satisfy their well known love of sweet things. In the late nineteenth century, on liberation from the Ottoman Empire, whilst the Bulgarians were enjoying a flourishing period of wine production, the vineyards were struck down by Phylloxera. This root feeding aphid devastated most of the vineyards in Europe. Growers set about replanting their rootstocks with phylloxera tolerant rootstocks. The more entrepreneurial wine-makers, at this time, decided to join together to form cooperatives so as to purchase new technology and experiment with new methods of wine-making. .
Subsequent to the fall of communism in 1989, the Bulgarian wine industry has experienced widespread privatization and benefited from enormous finance and investment. This has led to the increase in production of premium wines which are increasingly available on the world market. With the combination of centuries of traditional wine-making skills and the latest in wine-making technology the outlook for Bulgarian wine is very bright indeed.
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