Grape growing and wine production have a long history in Bulgaria, dating back to the times of the Thracians. Wine is, together with beer and grape rakia, among the most popular alcoholic beverages in the country. Bulgaria was the world's second largest wine producer in 1980s, but the industry declined after the collapse of communism. Wine production is growing again, reaching 108m litres in 2011, an increase of 4.9% from the previous year.Wine regions in Bulgaria:
Danube River Plains (Northern Region) This region has around 30% of the vineyards in the country and includes three sub-regions. (Eastern, Central, Western)
Black Sea Coastal (Eastern Region) This region has around 30% of the vineyards and includes three sub-regions (Northern sea coast, Internal sub-region, South sea coast)
Valley of the Roses (Sub-Balkan Region) To the south of the Balkan Mountains spreads the sub-Balkan region with its two sub-regions: Eastern sub-region. It includes the Sungurlare Valley which mainly grows “Red Misket”, designated for the production of dry and semi-dry wines. Western sub-region. It includes the Rose Valley.
Thracian Valley (Southern Region) It includes around 35% of the vineyard massifs and is characterized by a moderate continental climate and good distribution of precipitation during the vegetation period.
Struma River Valley (South Western Region) This Bulgarian region includes the southwestern parts of the country. It is not large in size, but it possesses some specific climatic features which are very similar to the Mediterranean regions. Along the valley of the Struma river a unique Bulgarian varietal “Broad Leaved Vine of Melnik” (Shiroka Melnishka) is cultivated for the production of dry and semi-dry wines. Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Pamid varietals are also grown in the area. The local wines are characterized by full taste, with spicy southern tones.