Bulgaria Expects Double Increase in Grape Harvest This Year
Despite the drought, Bulgaria expects the harvest of grape to reach around 200 million kilogrammes, which will represent a double increase compared to last year.
This was announced by the chairperson of the National Vine and Wine Chamber Radoslav Radev in an interview for Trud daily.
According to him, the expectations are both for good quantity and good quality of the grape harvest.
Radev foresees a lower purchase prices for grape this autumn due to the high yield.
At the same time, there are no longer so many wine producers, who do not possess their own vineyards.
Although the trend for growing more red wine grape varieties is sustained, Radev thinks that this will change due to the increasing consumption of white wine in recent years.
International statistics show that the average Bulgarian consumes 15 litres of wine annually, which is far below the EU average.
Radev clarified that these figures do not take into account the homemade wine, which is still widely produced.
According to data of the chamber, 30-50 % of the grape is processed outside licenced wineries, most of it going into the production of rakia.
The chamber proposes stricter control on the domestic distillation vessels, which should be used only for household consumption.
Radev stated that the export of Bulgarian wines to Russia has decreased by 60 % since the beginning of the crisis in Ukraine, while the corresponding figure for other countries is 50 %.
He reminded that this drop in exports is despite the fact that wine is not featured on the embargo list introduced by Russia.
Radev also notes that the agriculture ministry does not consider wine production as a priority sector, which means that there will be no subsidies for it.
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