With the establishment of the Bulgarian state in 681 on the territories where the Thracians lived, the ancient Romans ruled and the influence of the ancient Greeks was felt, Bulgarians inherited the experience and the traditions of the local population in the cultivation of grapes and wine-production. The winery that was found in the region of Preslav dating back from the 7th-10th century is a testimony of that and the first in Europe prohibition law imposed by the Khan Krum (804-814).
In the Middle ages the greater part of the vineyards were possession of the monasteries. The produced wines were famous of their high qualities, glorified by the poets. To preserve the wine, wine-cellars were “built” in the cold crypts of the Bulgarian monasteries.
The wine making tradition continued during the ruling of the Ottoman Empire when the cult to the wine overruled the strict Islamic canons.
After the liberation the wine industry was in a prolific condition and the vineyards covered around 500 thousand ha in the country. A curious fact is that Bulgaria adopts its first Wine law before the voting of the Tarnovo constitution. For the next 15 years the vineyards reached 130 thousand ha of land but unfortunately in 1887 they were hit by phylloxera (vineyard decease) and as at 1919 the vineyards decreased to 45 thousand ha.
In the beginning of the 20 th century a new way of vine cultivation and wine-producing was adopted. The processing of grapes was carried out by means of the proper technological equipment, upon the compliance with higher hygiene requirements and the application of the achievements of science and practice.
All this reflects positively on the formation of quality wines of the “Gamza”, “Pamid”, “Wide Melnik Vine”, “Mavrud”, Misket” and “Dimyat”sorts.
The new hybrid sorts of wine were a prerequisite for a new progress in viticulture in the 30s of the 20th century when the vineyards reached 130 thousand ha. In the 50s the marking of the viticulture regions started and the new well-known European sorts of wine were implemented. At the end of the 60s the most popular wine sorts were Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Riesling, Aligote etc.
In 1978, Bulgaria is recognized as the fourth largest wine producer in the World. Nowadays, Bulgaria has 160 thousand ha of vineyards divided into 100 thousand ha for industrial wine production and 60 thousand ha for made wine.
The respect to wine has found wide reflection in every Bulgarian holiday. A holiday without a wine is unthinkable. With special solemnly is celebrated the day of the viticulturist and wine-producer St. Trifon Zarezan. This original Bulgarian holiday takes place annually on the 14th of February. From times immemorial on this date the people go to the vineyards playing music.
The best viticulturist cuts the wine and pours it with wine. A hoop is made from the twigs, which is put on the shoulder of the chosen King of the Vineyards thus expressing their gratitude to the protector of viticulturists Saint Trifon. The legend tells that Saint Trifon while cutting the vines mocked at the Holy Motherand she cursed him to cut his nose and so it happened. That is why the nick name of Saint Trifon is Zarezan (from Bulgarian zarezha which means to cut).