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The traditions of the oldest wine in Europe


To the horror of the Greeks, the ancient Thracians drank it undiluted - they were the first to develop the enzyme that breaks down alcohol ...

Традициите на най - старото вино в Европа

There is a little known fact, which is a strong and traditional reason for pride among Bulgarians. And it is that the oldest European wine viticulture originated on the territory of today's Bulgaria, or more precisely in ancient Thrace. Wine production dates back to ancient times. And it is quite likely to even precede the cultivation of the wild vine. Thousands of years ago, the most popular drink of all time was poured in the palaces of the Sumerian kings, became a favorite of the Egyptian pharaohs, without it the warlike rulers of the Chinese Shang dynasty never began to celebrate.

Традициите на най - старото вино в Европа

Традициите на най - старото вино в Европа

Wine occupies an important part in the life of our ancestors - the Thracians, who were the first teachers of winemaking on the Old Continent. For the Thracians it was a sacred drink - a road that took them straight to the gods. It was from their divine altar that the Greeks borrowed the wine god Dionysus (Zagreus), who was a Thracian. There is much information about the magical rituals in honor of Dionysus, in which his satyrs and Bacchantes were often intoxicated by the ruby ​​red elixir. And it is hardly a coincidence that the predominant part of the Thracian treasures found in the lands of Bulgaria are mainly wine vessels.

People who have had contact with the amazingly beautiful golden vessels from Valchitran, Panagyurishte, Borovo, etc., testify that even so far they keep the sweet breath of Thracian wines. Holding glamorous rhytons, the legendary rulers Teres, Sitalk, Seft and many others have repeatedly raised a toast to the well-being of their people and country.

Unlike our southern neighbors, our ancestors drank wine undiluted with water - a fact that both amazed and terrified the Greeks. The ability of the Thracians to deal with alcohol much easier than other people shows that our ancestors knew the intoxicating drink from ancient times and their body has already had time to build the enzymes needed to process alcohol.

Since ancient times, the wine from our lands has been famous for its exceptional qualities. During the Trojan War, the Achaeans obtained the highly valued drink from Thrace. Odysseus is very impressed, he even calls Maron's wine a divine drink. The grapes, the vine, and Dionysus himself are so deeply revered by our ancestors that they even depicted them on their coins.

Thracian wine was strong, thick, often sweetened with honey. It was consumed only in certain rituals and on special occasions, always associated with communication with the sacred and the divine.

The Slavs and the Bulgarians, coming to these lands, turned out to be worthy successors of this craft. During the Ottoman rule, winemaking became one of the measures of national prestige and disobedience. After the Liberation (1878), viticulture and winemaking, preserving their traditions, became part of the main livelihood of the population.

Nowadays, high quality wines from Bulgaria are traded in different parts of the world. Many of them have won prestigious international awards. They are strong and with distinctive characteristics, which is due to the specific climatic and geographical characteristics of our land and the millennial traditions of the Bulgarian people in the art of producing wine.

Local wine grape varieties are used for the production of the best wines - Gamza, Shiroka Melnik vine, Dimyat, Mavrud, Cherven Muscat, Rubin and Pamid.

Gamzata is a local grape variety for red wine, grown mainly in Northern Bulgaria - in the region of Vidin and Pleven.

The wide Melnik vine is a local wine grape variety that grows only in the region of Melnik, Petrich and Sandanski.

Dimyat is a typical Bulgarian grape variety for white wine, with a unique aroma, and is best grown in the region of Varna, as well as around Shumen and Stara Zagora.

Mavrud is a local Bulgarian grape variety for red wine, growing only in the region of Asenovgrad, Pazardzhik, Plovdiv and at the foot of the Rhodope Mountains.

Red Muscat is an old Bulgarian grape variety, widespread in the sub-Balkan region, mainly around Sungurlare and Straldzha.

Ruby is a local grape variety. It is grown in the region of Plovdiv and Pazardzhik.

Pamid is one of the oldest grape varieties for wine in the Bulgarian lands. It is currently grown in the region of Plovdiv, Pazardzhik and Pamidovo.

Author: Stefan Bonev

Sources: Hr. Vakarelski, "Ethnography of Bulgaria

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