Sakar and Eastern Rhodopes

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Sakar and Eastern Rhodopes2017-11-09T11:30:45+00:00
  • Katarzyna Estate
  • Wine and nature
  • Mezek winery
  • Wine tasting at Bratanov

This tour takes you to a wine region that numerous wine specialists believe is the region that can make Bulgarian wine famous worldwide. Some even call the Sakar and Eastern Rhodopes wine region – the Bulgarian Napa Valley because of the landscape dominated by vineyards and the multiple wineries situated close to each other. On this tour, you will visit the ancient Plovdiv – Europe’s oldest city. Next, you will go deep into the Sakar and Eastern Rhodopes wine region and visit the family-run Bratanov Winery and Villa Bassarea and the wineries situated in or around Kolarovo village – Malkata Zvezda and Chateau Kolarovo. You will enjoy the hospitality of a rural guesthouse, where you will try some traditional Bulgarian meals and feel like you are at your own home. The tour continues south almost all the way to the Greek border where you will experience the one-man-enterprise that is the Mezek winery, visit the largest Thracian tomb from the IV century BC and taste the splendid wines of the Katarzyna Estate. The tour introduces you to different facility sizes – micro-scale, family-run, medium-sized and larger wineries. In addition, you will experience the rich cultural heritage and pristine nature of the Sakar and Eastern Rhodopes mountains – the region with the highest number of endagered 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.

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Sakar and Eastern Rhodopes Wine Tour

Day 1.

Arrival to Sofia. Transfer to Plovdiv at latest 14:00. Check-in to 3-star hotel. Guided walking tour of Plovdiv and Old Town Plovdiv. Introductory tasting of Bulgarian wines at a local enoteca.

Meals included: None
Accommodation: 3-star hotel

Day 2.

After breakfast, check-out of the hotel. Time to explore Plovdiv on your own. If there was no time for a guided walking tour on Day 1, your tour leader will lead you on a historical walking tour of Plovdiv before noon. Time for lunch in one of Plovdiv’s many restaurants.  Transfer to Bratanovi Family Winery in Harmanli around 1 pm. Tasting of local wines. Transfer to rural guesthouse. Family-style dinner in the dining hall of the guesthouse.

Meals included: Breakfast, Dinner
Accommodation: Rural guesthouse

Day 3.

After breakfast, we drive to the heart of the Sakar wine country – the village of Kolarovo. The first winery on the way to Kolarovo is Villa Bassarea where we will be welcomed by the passionate owner and winemaker of the winery. Next, Chateau Kolarovo just a short drive away opens its doors to us. Here we will enjoy a tasting of local wines and a hearty homemade lunch. Last on today’s programme is the small but charming Malkata Zvezda [The Little Star], where we enjoy a tasting of a selection of wines from the cellar. Return transfer to the guesthouse. Family-style dinner in the dining hall of the guesthouse.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodation: Rural guesthouse

Day 4.

Breakfast. Transfer to the village of Mezek located at the foot of the Eastern Rhodopes and not too far from Greece. Visit to the small family-run Mezek winery. Tasting of wines in the charming tasting room. Next, a visit to the nearby Thracian Tomb of Mezek to gain some insight in the culture and traditions of the Thracians. Traditional Bulgarian lunch. Short transfer to the modern winery – Katarzyna Estate – where a different winery experience awaits us. Experience a walk-through of this beautiful estate and taste the very special wines produced here. We will also have the opportunity to enjoy the fantastic scenery and take a stroll in the gardens. Transfer back to guesthouse. Family-style dinner in the dining hall of the guesthouse.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodation: Rural guesthouse

Day 5.

Breakfast. Check-out of guesthouse. Transfer to Plovdiv (2.5h). Check-in to 3-star hotel. Free afternoon. Wine paired dinner at Enoteca Bendida Wine Restaurant.

Meals included: Breakfast, Dinner
Accommodation: 3-star hotel

Day 6.

Breakfast. Check-out of hotel. Transfer to Sofia at 10:00.

Meals included: Breakfast

Included in the price of Sakar and Eastern Rhodopes wine tour:
✓ Airport group pickup on Day 1 at latest 14:00
✓ Airport group drop-off at 10:00 on Day 6 to either Sofia airport or Sofia centre
✓ All ground transportation with a minivan/car included in the tour’s itinerary
✓ 2 nights at 3-star hotel in Plovdiv on Day 1 and Day 5 in shared ensuite doublerooms
✓ 3 nights at a rural guesthouse in shared ensuite doublerooms
✓ Guided tour of Plovdiv and Old Town Plovdiv
✓ Wine tasting at local enoteca in Plovdiv
✓ Wine tasting at Bratanovi Family Winery incl. water and appetizers
✓ Wine tasting at Villa Bassarea incl. water and appetizers
✓ Wine tasting at Chateau Kolarovo incl. water and appetizers
✓ Lunch in the village of Kolarovo
✓ Wine tasting at Malkata Zvezda incl. water and appetizers
✓ Wine tasting at Mezek winery
✓ Visit to the Thracian Tomb of Mezek
✓ Wine tasting at Katarzyna Estate
✓ Lunch in the town of Mezek
✓ Breakfast on all days except for Day 1
✓ Dinner at guesthouse on Day 2, 3 and 4
✓ Wine-Paired inner day 5 at Enotheka Bendida Wine Restaurant
✓ Tour leader from Bulgaria Wine Tours
✓ Guided tours of wineries by onsite winemaker
✓ Tour operator insurance from Groupama Insurance in case of non-provision of services
Not included in the tour price:

  • Flight tickets
  • Private transfers
  • Meals and beverages not mentioned in the tour description
  • Travel and medical insurance (please, consult your insurance provider)
  • Visa fees, if applicable
  • Extras and incidentals
  • Tips

Price of the Sakar and Eastern Rhodopes wine tour: 
€ 610 
per person for a group of 6-10 persons (*)(**)
€ 720 per person for a group of 4-5 persons
Contact us for a quotation for groups larger than 10 persons.

* The BGN/EUR exchange rate is fixed at 1 EUR = 1.95583 BGN (http://www.bnb.bg/?toLang=_EN)
** Price per person is based on double occupancy e.g. two persons sharing a room

Payment:

  • A deposit of 30% of the total tour cost is required to be paid within 7 days of the invoice issue date.
  • The balance of the amount due to the Company must be paid no later than 45 days before departure.
  • In the event that the Client makes a booking within 45 days of departure of the tour, the full tour price must be paid up-front.

Payment method:

Payments are made in Euros or Bulgarian Leva.

  • Bank transfer to:

Bulgaria Wine Tours Ltd.
Bank name: Raiffeisen Bank
Bank address: 1 Knyaginya Mariya Luiza Str., Plovdiv 4000
BIC: RZBBBGSF
IBAN: BG09RZBB91551005461558

We will provide confirmation once the payment is received

  • Credit or debit card

We accept credit/debit card payment. Information will be provided along with your booking.

Please, refer to the Booking Terms & Conditions for detailed information about payment.

During Sakar and Eastern Rhodopes wine tour  we will visit the following wineries:

Bratanov Family winery

Bratanov is a typical family winery – it was created through the hard work of a father and his sons. The family of the father Stoycho Bratanov is not new to winemaking – his great-grandfather used to have vineyards in the very same area where Bratanov’s own vineyards now stand. Situated almost at the point where the Maritsa River divides the Rhodope from the Sakar Mountain, this relatively new 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 Wiine 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.

Chateau Kolarovo

Chateau Kolarovo was established in 2009 by Stoyan Stoyanov. Originally from Stara Zagora, his family heritage brought him to the area and urged him to produce wine. As the name suggests 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 where the winery is at present used to be an old cheese-manufacturing facility. It is quite possible that you might pass by Chateau Kolarovo without realizing that this is the actual winery. 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.

Villa Bassarea

Villa Bassarea is a project of the passionate winemaker Kamen Koev. Bassarea was one of the nicknames of the God of Wine – Dionysus. Not surprisingly, Kamen is highly interested in ancient history and this can be seen from the labels of his wines and the small museum with artefacts he has compiled at the winery. As for winemaking, 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.

Malkata Zvezda

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 red wines. These wines have also become popular in the sacred Mount Athos (Greece), where Malkata Zvezda annually sends shipments of their special brand “Sveta Gora” dedicated to the Bulgarian monastery in Athos. 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.

Mezek winery

The story of the Mezek winery sounds like a fairy tale. The winery is the creation of the graphic designer by profession and winemaker by heart – Sasho Karapeev. After years spent in the hustle of city life, Sasho decided to return to Mezek village to take over an estate he inherited. Thus, with the help of his own hands and artistic talent, little by little Sasho built the different buildings of his winery – the wine cellar is constructed in Thracian style purely from stone and wood and no cement or iron used and the decorations of the buildings were done by Sasho himself. Mezek winery does not have its own vineyards but buys the best quality grapes from the vine-growers nearby. In addition, everything in the wine-to-bottle process is done by hand and using traditional methods. Sasho Karapeev and Mezek winery prove that if you put your heart into something, then results will inevitably follow. Now, Sasho sells the few thousand bottles he makes every year straight from the winery’s door and has turned his little estate into a small wine museum. Mezek winery will surprise you and even baffle you at first. However, you will surely leave enchanted by the atmosphere and certain that wine is indeed a divine drink.

Katarzyna Estate

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.

  • Transfer on Day 1 is from Sofia airport/centre to Hotel Seven Hills Plovdiv at latest 14:00. If you arrive in the early morning, you have the option of going into Sofia centre to explore.
  • A representative from Bulgaria Wine Tours will meet you in the arrivals hall, and will be holding a “Bulgaria Wine Tours” sign.
  • To contact Bulgaria Wine Tours: call +359 888 487 113 or email: info@bulgariawinetours.com or contact us through the Facebook page – Bulgaria Wine Tours.
  • Transfer on Day 6 is just after breakfast – 10:00. You may be dropped off at Sofia airport or Sofia centre. Please inform us of your preference when you book.
  • For late arrivals on Day 1 or early departures on Day 6, it is necessary to pre-book a private transfer or plan your arrival at the relevant location. We can assist you with that if you wish so.
  • Transport time between Sofia airport and Plovdiv is about 2 hours.
  • In general, EU citizens do not require visas to travel to Bulgaria. Citizens of some other countries also do not need visas to travel to Bulgaria. For visa requirements to enter Bulgaria, please consult the Bulgarian Ministry of Foreign Affairs at: http://www.mfa.bg/en/pages/109/index.html or the respective institutions in your country of residence.
  • The tour does not require any special medical condition or fitness level. The tour does not involve intensive walking, hiking, or other physical effort apart from the normal efforts for sightseeing.
  • Persons under 18 are not allowed on the tours unless accompanied by a parent or a family member. Persons under 18 cannot participate in the wine tastings during the tour. The price for such persons will be adjusted accordingly.
  • You are encouraged to purchase travel and medical insurance at your own judgement.
  • For any questions, please contact us at: +359 888 487 113 or email: info@bulgariawinetours.com or contact us through the Facebook page – Bulgaria Wine Tours.

Additional services or surcharges

  • Please contact us for prices and further information on private transfers from Sofia Airport to Plovdiv
  • Single supplement: €70

Most importantly, we will do anything we can to make the tour a pleasant and memorable experience for you.

Enjoy Exploring! Enjoy Bulgaria!

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Why Choose Us

✓ Because we are the original tour operator in Bulgaria specializing in wine tours.

✓ Because we have visited each and every winery, hotel and place we offer on this tour in order to ensure the highest possible quality of the offered services.

✓ Because we work closely with the wineries and the hotels offered on this tour and we are flexible to accommodate your wishes.

✓ Because we have made academic research on the potential of wine tourism in Bulgaria: https://lup.lub.lu.se/student-papers/search/publication/4091904.

✓ Because we are promoting alternative tourism and helping the development of rural regions in Bulgaria.

✓ Because you will be supporting a young start-up.

✓ Because we will make sure you have fun and enjoy the tour!

Tour Map

Tour Map: Sakar and Eastern Rhodopes wine tour