What to expect
On this tour, you will go deep into the southeast of Bulgaria reaching the border to Greece. Here in the Sakar and Eastern Rhodopes Wine Region, there are a number of interesting wineries. First, you get to visit the small wine village of Kolarovo and visit two wineries: Malkata Zvezda and Chateau Kolarovo. Not too far away, the brand new and modern winery Zaara Estate invites us inside for a tour of the new winery and lunch in the onsite restaurant. On your second day, a visit to the southeastern village of Mezek where two very different wineries awaits you – Mezek Winery and Katarzyna Estate. The cultural highlight of the day is the Mezek Thracian Tomb. The tour ends with a visit to the Perperikon ruins – an ancient Thracian sacred town and sanctuary. Experience the rich cultural heritage and pristine nature of the Eastern Rhodopes and Sakar mountains – the region with the highest number of endangered bird species in Europe. This tour provides a mix of emotions and experiences but in the end will create lasting memories of Bulgaria’s re-emerging wine regions.
The tour starts from the ancient town of Plovdiv – Europe’s oldest town and the cultural capital of Europe. At 9 am, we drive from Plovdiv to the town of Harmanli and enjoy a the first wine tasting of the tour at Bratanov Family Winery. A member of the family will greet us into the modest facility where the winemaker produces some of the most extraordinary high-quality wines. We continue to the village of Kolarovo – the heart of the Sakar wine country. Chateau Kolarovo is the next winery to open its doors and welcome us for a visit. The enthusiastic winemaker will lead the tour and welcome us inside the boutique winery to sample the wines and talk about the characteristics of the region. A rustic and delicious lunch is served at the winery. The last winery that we visit today is the small but charming Malkata Zvezda [The Little Star]. Take a tour of the winery and enjoy a wine tasting session with the winemaker. Check-in to a rural guesthouse, where a homemade meal is served in the dining hall.
Meals included: Lunch, Dinner
Accommodation: Rural Guesthouse
The village of Mezek located at the foot of the Eastern Rhodopes and not too far from the border of Greece and Bulgaria is the first destination of the day. Visit the nearby Thracian Tomb of Mezek to gain some insight into the mysterious Thracian tribes and their ways. Continue to the nearby modern winery – Katarzyna Estate – where a different winery experience awaits. Experience a walk-through of this beautiful estate and taste the very special wines produced here. Head to the town of Svilengrad for lunch. Visit the Mezek Fortress before heading back to The Wild Farm. Enjoy a homemade meal at the farm guesthouse.
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodation: Rural Guesthouse
After breakfast, we check-out of the guesthouse and say goodbye to the family that have hosted us for 2 nights. Passing through the town of Harmanli, we make a last stop to the Sakar Regional Wine Shop & Tasting Room for one last tasting of wines from Villa Bassarea. Transfer to Plovdiv. Estimated time of arrival is 2 pm.
Meals included: Breakfast
- Visits to five wineries including a tour and tasting of 5 wines per winery
- Transfer from Plovdiv and to Sofia. Pick-up/drop-off point to be advised
- All ground transportation with a minibus/car
- 2 nights in a rural guesthouse in shared ensuite double rooms
- Visits to Mezek Thracian Tomb and Mezek Fortress
- Meals as per itinerary
- English-speaking Tour Leader from Bulgaria Wine Tours
- VAT & All local taxes
- Mandatory Insolvency 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.
Chateau Kolarovo was established in 2009 by Stoyan Stoyanov. Originally from Stara Zagora, his family heritage brought him to the area and persuaded him to produce wine. Chateau Kolarovo is located in the village of Kolarovo in the southern Sakar mountains. The village of Kolarovo has about nine permanent inhabitants; however, there are four wineries in the village. This fact hints towards the fact that the area is highly suitable for viticulture. Chateau Kolarovo does not dazzle with appearance – the building that houses the winery used to be an old cheese-manufacturing facility. However, once you try the wine that is being produced here, it will certainly leave an impression on you and you will be coming back for more.
Malkata Zvezda [The Little Star] stands at the crossroad of four ancient Roman roads, including the most important one – Via Diagonalis. Hence, the name comes from the star-like shape of the place where these roads meet. Because of this strategic location, this area was a “duty free” area in Roman times where the main commodity sold was wine. Malkata Zvezda exploits the best of their 30+ year old vineyards and produces remarkable wines. The team at Malkata Zvezda boldly experiments with the local varieties Mavrud and Pamid and its little star is shining ever brighter on the Bulgarian wine horizon.
Katarzyna Estate is yet another proof that the Eastern Rhodopes and Sakar wine region has the potential to make Bulgarian wine famous worldwide. If you miss the turn to the neat iron gate on the side of the road, you will end up at the border with Greece. Katarzyna Estate is located in the southernmost tip of the Eastern Rhodopes that roll over to Greece from here. The vineyards that surround the winery are located on plots of lands with various soil types and enjoy the highest number of sunshine hours in Bulgaria. In addition, the architecture, equipment and artistic elements of the winery itself are a testimonial to the meticulous work put into Katarzyna Estate. However, it is the wine and the stories behind it that leave the most lasting impressions here. Each label and each name has a fascinating story like the one of Katarzyna’s most successful brand – Question mark. It was the first wine to participate in a wine competition and the Katarzyna team did not expect much. They did not even have a name for the wine yet, so they just put a question mark instead of a name on the identifying label. Surely, the wine won the gold medal and the name (and label) remained. If you are still asking how good Bulgarian wine could be, then maybe Katarzyna Estate has the answers for you.
Bratanov is a typical family winery – it was created through the hard work of a father and his sons. The former patriarch of the family, who sadly has now passed away, Stoycho Bratanov, grew up with the land as his great-grandfather used to have vineyards in the very same area where Bratanov’s own vineyards now stand. His two sons continue the tradition of growing grapes and making wine. Situated almost at the point where the Maritsa River divides the Rhodope from the Sakar Mountain, this relatively new family winery has boldly entered the Bulgarian wine market. Some of their wines have been awarded medals from prestigious competitions such as Decanter and the Balkan International Wine Competition. Such recognition has not shifted the focus and ambition of Bratanov Family Winery – it still remains very much a family affair and as such everyone is deeply connected to the winery. So do not be surprised when the Bratanovi Family welcome you to their winery as if they are welcoming you to into their home.
Villa Bassarea is a project started by the passionate winemaker Kamen Koev and his longtime friend Todor Bratanov. Bassarea was one of the many nicknames of the God of Wine – Dionysus. Not surprisingly, Kamen is highly interested in ancient history and this interest in Thracian culture and history has inspired many aspects of the winery from the labels of his wines to the small museum with artefacts he has compiled at the winery. As for wine making, Villa Bassarea uses traditional methods such as free-flow juice extraction, but will also surprise you with some unconventional techniques – like maturing Cabernet Sauvignon in cherry barrels! Their whites wines from Tamianka and Muscat Ottonel are worth a try and are deliciously refreshing especially on a hot Bulgarian summer day.
The Sakar & Eastern Rhodopes wine region is the second hottest region in Bulgaria and has excellent conditions for growing grapes – long hours of sunshine, mild winters, varied soils and unpolluted environment. The region is not officially recognized as a wine region and is therefore still considered part of the larger Thracian Valley region but is hoping to gain independent recognition as a wine region in the future. The region is a gem of an area full of distinct, unique and memorable wineries and wines. Tamianka is one of the characteristic grapes in the south sakar region and it was first popularized by Bratanov Family Winery. Tamianka is the Eastern European name for Muscat Blanc a Petit Grain. The wines from Tamianka display layered aromas of ripe fruit, flowers and spices. It is also produced off dry at times. Single vineyard Tamianka wine from South Sakar has served as a flagship wine for the aromatic whites of the country. Other notable grapes grown in the region are Syrah and Merlot, which have historically been grown in the region for decades. To this day, the largest single plot of Merlot is in the region and the age of the Merlot vineyards are appropriately 30-40 years. The region is also seeing successful results with the native grapes Mavrud and Rubin, which are typically grown in the Thracian Valley.
- 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.
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