What to expect
Wine making has been a proud tradition in the Melnik region for centuries. During the tour, you will learn more about the wines, terroir, grapes and history of this traditional wine region. This tour also includes a visit to the famous Rila Monastery (the largest monastery in Bulgaria and featured on the UNESCO World Heritage List since 1983) and the smaller, charming Rozhen Monastery. The base of this tour is a small traditional Bulgarian guesthouse that is comfortable and unique. Enjoy a 3-day introduction to Bulgarian wines, food, culture, history and hospitality.
Your Tour Leader will meet you at your place of pick up at 10:00 (10 am). Transfer to the famous Rila Monastery (~2 hours) – the largest monastery in Bulgaria designated a UNESCO world heritage site since 1983. Enjoy lunch at a local restaurant in the area. Continue to the Melnik area (~2 hours). Check-in to a traditional guesthouse. Welcome dinner incl. wine.
Accommodation: Traditional Guesthouse in Melnik area
Meals: Lunch & Dinner
A day dedicated to wine, gastronomy, nature and good conversations. Today, we visit three boutique wineries located in a picturesque landscape of green fields, vineyards, small villages and farm animals. The first winery to open its doors to welcome you is Orbelia Winery, which is owned and managed by the Chorbadzhisky family. Here we will tour the winery, taste wines and sample traditional appetizers. Continue to the quaint town of Melnik for a walk around the old houses before sitting down for lunch at a traditional restaurant. The second winery to welcome you is the delightful Villa Melnik – a boutique winery that has quickly gained recognition for its excellent wines. Tour the winery and end your visit with a tasting of 5 wines in the tasting room. The last winery of the day is Orbelus Winery. Orbelus is a modern winery with an unusual architecture. The facility is shaped as a giant wine barrel with half of the barrel located underground and half over the ground. It is quite a spectacular winery proudly working with only organic grapes. Tour the winery and end your visit with a tasting of 5 wines in the tasting room. Return to your guesthouse. Free evening.
Accommodation: Traditional Guesthouse in Melnik area
Meals included: Breakfast & Lunch
After breakfast, head up to Rozhen Monastery to walk around the medieval monastery. Check-out and departure from your guesthouse. Transfer to Sofia (~3 hours). Estimated arrival in Sofia is 2 pm.
Meals included: Breakfast
- Visits to three wineries (Villa Melnik, Orbelus & Orbelia) including a tour and tasting of 5 wines per winery
- Transportation from/to Sofia. Pick-up/drop-off point to be advised.
- All ground transportation with a minivan/car included in the tour’s itinerary
- 2 nights in traditional guesthouse in shared ensuite double rooms
- Visit to Rila Monastery & Rozhen Monastery
- Visit to the town of Melnik incl. entrance to one cultural site
- Meals as per itinerary
- English-speaking Tour Leader from Bulgaria Wine Tours
- VAT & All local taxes
- Mandatory Insolvency Insurance from Armeec Insurance
- Private transfers
- Meals & Beverages not mentioned in the tour description
- Alcoholic beverages not mentioned in the tour description
- Travel and medical insurance
- Extras and incidentals
Where to meet
We pick you up from your hotel, Airbnb or any other landmark location. Please advise at time of booking.
- Remember to bring comfortable footwear and weather-appropriate clothing. The tour takes place in sunshine or rain.
- Bring your camera along to capture special moments
- Bring some local currency (BGN) for purchases just in case the wineries do not accept card payments
- The minimum number of people per tour is 2. The maximum number of people per tour is 6.
- Transportation is either in comfortable car or 8-seater passenger van (depending on the group size)
- Food allergies or dietary requirements can be accommodated if advised before the tour. Please advise at time of booking.
Surrounded by seven mountains in the Melnik region in southwestern Bulgaria lies the organic winery Orbelus. Not only is the wine-making process organic but also the architecture of the winery reduces the input of resources such as lighting, heating and cooling. This provides for a wine experience in full unison with nature. These environmental considerations do not come at the expense of the wine quality. Orbelus has already gained international recognition. Staying true to its Melnik origins, Orbelus emphasizes the local varieties and presents them in a different way to its visitors – the organic way.
The Melnik region has been and still is one of the most famous wine regions in Bulgaria. Each year Winston Churchill himself used to purchase 500 litres of the traditional Melnik variety – Shiroka Melnishka loza. With such a history, it is not surprising that one of the newest wineries in the region – Villa Melnik – has quickly gained recognition for its high-quality wine, beautiful winery and warm hospitality. This winery i an absolute must-visit for every wine lover in the area.
Orbelia winery is located in the far southwest of Bulgaria, close to where the borders of Bulgaria, Macedonia and Greece meet. Orbelia is the Thracian name of the mountain that surrounds the area. Translated, it means “The White Mountain” because of the ever-present snow caps on the mountain peak. Following the Thracian traditions of the area, Orbelia places emphasis on the local grape varieties such as Shiroka Melnishka Loza and Sandanski Misket but also produces world-class from international grapes such as Cabernet Franc. Orbelia is a family winery that provides an authentic atmosphere reminiscent of a rural and traditional Bulgaria – an authentic Bulgaria!
The Melnik & Struma Valley area is known for its distinctive wines. The region has approximately 7 % of the total vineyard acreage in Bulgaria. The region is the hottest wine region in Bulgaria and the wines coming out of this region are mostly medium and full body reds and rosés and not too many white wines. In fact, the grapes grown are about 2% white grape varietals and 98 % red grape varietals. The region is home to an endemic grape variety found only here – Shiroka Melnishka Loza [Broadleaved Melnik Vine]. Wines from this particular grape variety were among the most popular Bulgarian wines in Western Europe in the 19th and 20th century. Even Winston Churchill himself was a big fan of Melnik wine allegedly purchasing 500 litres of Shiroka Melnishka Loza each year. The bluish-blackish grape is a late-ripening variety that can be challenging to cultivate. There have been a number of hybrid varieties developed from Shiroka Melnishka Loza in order to preserve the unique characteristics of this local grape variety, but at the same time make it easier to cultivate. Such hybrid varieties are: Melnik 82, Melnik Rouen and the most famous one Melnik 55/Ranna Melnishka Loza [Early Melnik]. Native white grape varieties in the area are Sandanski Misket and Kerazuda. In addition to the grape varieties associated predominantly with the Melnik and Struma Valley wine region, other grape varieties grown here are: Mavrud (another native Bulgarian grape variety), Rubin (a hybrid Bulgarian grape variety) and a range of international varieties such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Syrah, Marselan, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Traminer, Viognier and Muscat Ottonel. One thing is certain – you cannot leave the Melnik area without trying wines from Shiroka Melnishka Loza and experiencing the pride that the locals take in this grape variety.
- Up to 30 days before the tour = 70% refund
- Up to 14 days before the tour = 50% refund
- Less than 14 days before the tour = no refund
- Changing the tour date is possible (according to availability)
- No shows are fully chargeable with no refund
- In the unlikely event that Bulgaria Wine Tours is forced to cancel a tour, you will receive a full refund.
- Please see our general booking terms and conditions for more information