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Villa Melnik – exploring Bulgaria’s wine traditions in one of the World’s Best Vineyards

Villa Melnik – exploring Bulgaria’s wine traditions in one of the World’s Best Vineyards

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Infinite vine massifs stretch as far as the eye can see. Excellent wines are yours for the tasting, as the sun slowly sets beyond distant hills. Your path meanders through the vines and among the barrels… You are not in Bordeaux or Tuscany, but in Bulgaria’s most celebrated wine region – Melnik (Мелник). 

Villa Melnik (Вила Мелник)

Villa Melnik is a family winery that uses techniques more than 200 years old to create a range of wines. Its vineyards sit on the outskirts of the town of Melnik (Мелник) – famous worldwide and mentioned in all the best wine encyclopedias. Melnik’s nature, climate and pollution-free environment make it one of the best areas in Bulgaria for producing wine. The region produces some world-famous varieties of grapes, as well as its own grapes unique to the area. Broadleaf Melnik (Shiroka Melnishka/Широка Мелнишка) and Early Melnik (Ranna Melnishka/Melnik 55 – Ранна Мелнишка/Мелник 55) grape varieties, for example, grow only in the Struma River Valley, and are vital in upholding Bulgarian wine traditions.

Exploring wine traditions

Villa Melnik is located among the picturesque vines in the Beli Breg region (Бели брег), near the village of Harsovo (Хърсово). Guided by an enologist around the modern winery, you’ll enjoy an exciting wine exploration journey – from vine to glass. You’ll learn what happens at every stage of the wine production process, hear legends from the time of Thracians, and finally taste the magic of good wine in the cozy wine-tasting hall. Whatever your flavour preferences are, you’ll find a wine to suit you in the Bergulé, AplauZ, and Family Tradition lines.

What else: Within a 10-km radius of Villa Melnik, there are about 10 more modern wineries, which are open to visitors and can enrich your knowledge of quality Bulgarian wines. If you decide to spend the night in the area, you can choose between the town of Melnik, the village of Rozhen (Рожен) and the town of Sandanski (Сандански). Melnik is famous for its beautiful earth pyramids, as well as being the smallest town in Bulgaria. 

Awards and Recognitions: In July 2020, Wine Cellar Villa Melnik was listed as one of the World’s Best Vineyards.  At #39 in the 2020 Top 50, Villa Melnik represents Bulgaria in this prestigious international ranking. The award is voted by 500 wine and wine tourism experts from five continents – both the nominations and the voting remain secret until the results are announced. Wineries are ranked based on the holistic experience, including tours and tastings, the wine, the food, the staff, the hospitality, the ambiance, the producer’s reputation. The World’s Best Vineyards list includes world-renowned producers from established wine regions like Napa Valley, Bordeaux, and Stellenbosch, as well as small family-owned wineries from lesser known wine regions such as Japan, India, and now for the first time ever – Bulgaria.  The full Top 50 list can be found here. This recognition honors Villa Melnik’s mission to develop the Melnik Region as a world-class wine tourism destination. It is a testimony to their efforts at showcasing the local winemaking traditions and customs, to preserving and reviving the indigenous Melnik grape varieties, and to organizing annual events like Trifon Zarezan and July Morning Vineyards Camping. 

The vision for cooperation between the wineries and other hospitality businesses in the Melnik region is evident from the Melnik Wine Routes –  the free winetourist map, which was developed by Villa Melnik’s team.

Useful information: Opening times – from 9 am to 5 pm (Monday-Friday) and from 10 am to 6 pm (Saturday and Sunday). It is possible to arrange alternative visiting hours. Phone: +359 887 001 811, +359 888 923 703 and +359 888 230 305. Villa Melnik is situated 7 km from the southern town of Melnik and 2 km from the village of Harsovo (follow the signs to Harsovo (Хърсово)).