Bulgaria Hopes to Make Wine Its 2013 Success Stories
Wine has been one of Bulgaria's rare success stories in the past and the industry is hoping for a bumper harvest this year too due to the long dry spell.
The grape crop this year is seen at 30% higher than the past year, while the sun has pushed the level of the sugar in the grape and consequently its quality up.
"This year's grape crop is high quality and it is more abundant than last year," Krassimir Koev, head of the executive agency for vine and wine, commented, as cited by Trud daily.
He forecast that the critical situation in the sector will push up the purchase price of grapes.
Bulgaria's vineyards were nationalized in 1947 and belonged to state-owned co-operatives whose main market was Russia.
In the mid-eighties Bulgaria became the world's second biggest exporter of bottled wine, with sales to the UK 30 times that of Australia.
But Bulgaria's viticulture and the wines suffered greatly in the wake of the country's disastrous privatisation programme after the collapse of Communism in 1989, according to experts.
Since then, in the run-up to Bulgaria joining the EU in 2007, huge investments were made in the sector and the quality has been transformed.
According to Koev wine drinkers around the world are rediscovering the great taste and competitive prices of Bulgarian grape varieties and happily venture beyond some reasonably well-known appellations and a handful of brands.
Russia remains the main market, but exports are also flowing to the Czech Republic, Poland and Romania.
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