Bulgaria’s history, culture, wine and cuisine is unbeknownst to many but this under-the-radar destination deserves your attention. Why not plan your next trip around one of these wine festivals? Enjoy authentic food, colourful folkloric traditions and marvellous wine. There is no better way to capture the soul of a destination than through its food and wine. No matter if you are visiting during the warm summer or the refreshing fall, you will find unforgettable experiences in the diverse gastronomic events that Bulgaria has to offer. Wine festivals are the ultimate experience for wine lovers, and provide the opportunity to taste and learn more about Bulgarian wines.
Here are 6 Bulgarian Wine Festivals that are devoted to the pleasures of food, wine and merriment:
Wine & Gourmet Parade | Plovdiv | Мay 6-7 2017
A true Bulgarian wine and food experience! The Wine & Gourmet Parade was born out of another wine festival, The Young Wine Parade, and was organised for the first time in 2015. It is held every year in May in the Old Town of Plovdiv. This spring wine festival brings together more than 30 wine producers as well as local restaurants and food producers. During this two-day spring festival, visitors can get acquainted with Plovdiv’s history, culture, food and wine. Tastings are offered to the public at the wine producer stands. Tokens for tastings can be purchased at the venue. The celebrations kick off on 6th May at 12 pm in the Old Town of Plovdiv with a performance of folklore dances and songs by the Trakia Folklore Ensemble. It is pure magic to walk from house to house on cobblestone streets in the fresh outdoor air with a glass of wine in hand. The festival captures the spirit of the city and the imagination of any culinary enthusiast.
Varna Food & Wine Festival | Varna | April 21-23 2017
The unique cuisine and wines of Bulgaria are showcased in this premier culinary and wine event. The Varna Food & Wine Festival offers a chance to taste and buy wines from all over Bulgaria. Try organic food from regional producers. Visit the gourmet zone to sample Bulgarian food cooked right before your eyes by guest chefs. Not a massive wine lover? There will be an opportunity to taste Bulgarian craft beer too. The festival is co-organized by The Bulgarian Sommeliers & Wine Connoisseurs Association and the Bulgarian Association for Culinary Culture in partnership with the Municipality of Varna. There is no better way to experience the city than during this weekend-long event. The festival combines sensational wines, regional artisanal products, culinary demonstrations and gourmet meals in the 3rd largest city of Bulgaria and main seaport on the Bulgarian Riviera: Varna!
Rosé Wine Expo | Kazanlak | June 2-4 2017
The Rosé Wine Expo festival in the town of Kazanluk is an annual wine festival dedicated to the wonderfully pinkish drink that is Rosé. The festival is held every June as part of the annual Rose Festival in the Valley of Roses. As part of the festival, a national contest for best Rosé wine is held and wine producers proudly exhibit their wines for all to taste. The town of Kazanluk is abuzz with activities during these few days in June. You will find a wealth of art, food stands, musical performances, folklore dancing and, of course, roses and rose oil everywhere! You can even go into the rose fields outside of Kazanluk and pick some roses amid folklore music and dances. Come and visit the Rosé Wine Expo – Bulgaria’s only festival dedicated exclusively to rosé wine – to appreciate the delicious diversity of summer’s favourite drink.
Avgustiada | Stara Zagora | 13-15 October 2017
This festival is an unbeatable experience. The location of the festival is the Ancient Roman city of Augusta Trayana (today: Stara Zagora). The city offers a wealth of cultural heritage sites and attractions. Among many archaeological finds from the Roman period, a magnificent mosaic of a Dionysian procession is one the most unique finds. The three-day festival takes place in a unique location: Stara Zagora’s Regional Historical Museum. The wine and food exhibition area is located inside an exposition hall in the museum that is constructed on the original ruins of the main street of the ancient city of Augusta Trayana. A competition for best wine is part of the program. The more serious wine connoisseurs and professionals may enjoy participating in wine master classes. Samples of various delicious local dishes and food products are available in a special gourmet corner. Taste Bulgarian wines among Roman ruins!
Young Wine Parade | Plovdiv | November 24-26 2017
A fall festival that welcomes the upcoming winter and marks the release of new wine. The Young Wine Parade is a festival held annually on the last weekend of November in the Old Town of Plovdiv. The wine festival was organised for the first time in 2009, and celebrates its 9th year of existence in 2017. Over 30 wine producers set up their exhibition stands in the old merchant houses in Old Town Plovdiv. Tokens for tastings can be purchased at the venue. The houses are from the late 19th century and are built in the unique Bulgarian National Revival style from this era. The 3-day festival has become a beloved local tradition and a highly-anticipated occasion for the city. Who wouldn’t want to warm up during the colder month of November and celebrate the end of harvest season with great wine, local food and good company?
Trifon Zarezan | Bulgaria | February 14th
The 14th of February is known worldwide as St. Valentine’s Day. In Bulgaria, the day has an additional significance. February 14 is St. Trifon’s Day (also known as St. Trifon Zarezan). St. Trifon Zarezan is the patron of winegrowers and winemakers. The day is dedicated to celebrating wine, vines, vine growers, winemakers and the upcoming harvest. What started out as a tradition inspired by the legend of Trifon Zarezan has grown into a popular annual tradition for the wine industry, wine lovers and wine connoisseurs. Across the country, unique traditions and rituals are performed on St. Trifon’s Day in villages, wineries, vineyards and other wine-related venues. In the vineyards and wineries, the event features colourful re-enactments of millennia old traditions and rituals such as blessing the grapes, pouring wine over the vines, cutting the vines and crowning the king or queen of wine. You will have to choose where to celebrate St. Trifon’s Day as you will be spoilt from choice. Anticipate folklore dancing, music, food and lots of wine! Bulgaria’s National Wine Day is one of the largest, most traditional and entertaining festivals in the country. An absolute must for visitors in February!
Contact us for more information about the wine festivals or to book a wine tour with us during these festivals!
We hope that this list of wine festivals has piqued your interest in visiting Bulgaria!