After the fall of the Roman Empire and the subsequent changes on the continent, the Bulgarians, as the natural successors to the Thracians on this land, continued the wine-making tradition, along with some of the cults and rituals. After the Christianization of the Bulgarians in 9th century AD and well into the Middle Ages, the monasteries and churches played an important role in the development of wine production and techniques. Wine was stored in the cool cellars of the abbeys, which became the standard way for wine storage.
During the Middle Ages there was an abundance of wine with different quality produced in Bulgaria. A legend from that period tells the story of the town of Asenovgrad (20 kilometers south of Plovdiv) which was spared from being burnt to the ground in 1205 during the fourth crusade because of the excellent wine that was made there.
Bulgaria was conquered by the Ottomans in the late 14th century which halted official wine production. Nevertheless, wine-making was widespread even during the five centuries under the Ottomans. Right around the Bulgarian liberation from the Ottomans in late 19th century, the Phylloxera struck the Bulgarian vines, having caused major damages to vineyards around Europe as well.
However, in 1929 the first wine cooperative after the liberation from the Ottomans was created. It mainly sold its production domestically and to Germany. The Bulgarian wine-making sector kept growing in size and was extensively funded during the Communist period in the middle of the 20th century, when wine production was nationalized. At that time Bulgarian wine already had a well-established reputation and was a desired product even among the international elite. For instance, every year Winston Churchill, famous for his penchant for particular beverages, was purchasing 500 litres of a typically Bulgarian wine variety – Shiroka Melnishka loza from the Melnik region.