Food & Wine

A brand new spring for Bulgarian wine

Although Bulgaria is one of the oldest wine producers in the world, the wine list from the Balkan country is virtually unknown by many, until now...


Gita Simonsen


In a small wine shop in Bulgaria's capital Sofia, we find Tempus Vini Wine Point. The cosy shop houses 680 different wine bottles. Most are from Bulgaria, but you will also find wines from Georgia, Lebanon, Turkey, France, Italy and a number of other countries. Its vision is to offer exciting and somewhat different wines, with, of course, a focus on local wines from Bulgaria.

A small room with 680 different bottles

It is Kalin who runs Tempus Vini. Working with wine had long been a dream for the Bulgarian, and he opened the shop in 2016.

Tempus Vini Wine Point – from a wine-loving man with a dream

Picolo meets a laid-back guy who warmly welcomes us. It is Kalin who runs the shop, a place that has long been close to his heart and that he finally launched in 2016.

We sit down in front of two wine barrels that are used as tables, complete with candles and a selection of cheese and cured ham. We will soon taste Bulgarian wine for the first time, but first we talk about Kalin's wine adventure that of Bulgaria as a whole.

"I had a pretty good position in medical equipment, where I worked in logistics. But I quit my job to follow my dream, which is to work with wine."

Today, Kalin runs this very popular wine shop, which also offers tasting. It's all a family business, as both his wife and mother help out in the shop.

"Wine is something that creates memories and experiences and is, clichéd enough, made to be shared. That's why I love it. Good wine in particular makes you think for a long time, it provokes emotions. We have a lot of good wine here in Bulgaria."

imagePicolo / Adrian Leversby

Wine tasting of Bulgarian wine

Choosing the right wine label is very important. Kalin says that as many as 80% choose wine based on the label of the bottle.

Noble Bulgarian grapes with a rich history

Wine production in Bulgaria dates back to the time of the Thracians, the oldest known inhabitants of this region, from around the year 1,000 BC. Although it has been a very long time since the first grape vines were planted here, wine from Bulgaria is often overlooked, which is not entirely deserved.

"We have 120 local grape varieties that you can't find anywhere else. For me, this is very unique, and I would say that we are one of 35 countries in the world engaged in serious wine production."

Kalin goes on to say that today's wine production is of high quality. Several smaller vineyards have resumed production and deliver good wine, but this has not always been the case.

"If anyone has heard of Bulgarian wine, they think of the wine from 40 years ago, when it was mass-produced during the Soviet era. After the fall of communism, we started making good wine again. But it will take time for the market to discover us," he says.

Daily wine tastings

Kalin holds wine tastings every day, and has doubled the reservations from last year.

Exciting, daring, Bulgarian flavours

We get to taste five bottles of Bulgarian wine. One white, one rosé, two red, and one orange. The common denominator for the wines, despite completely different grapes, is that they are all Bulgarian wines with exciting flavours and a little more daring in taste than typical wine from well-known wine countries. Maybe that's how they should stand out in the crowd.

imagePicolo / Adrian Leversby

Hyggelig paraktivitet

Tom and Suzan come from Great Britain and went on a car holiday in Bulgaria. The couple ended their stay in the capital Sofia with a wine tasting.

Wine from the New World

New World wine is wine produced outside the traditional winemaking areas, including Argentina, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United States, England, South Africa, and Bulgaria. "Old World" are countries with a long history of wine production, especially France, Italy, Germany, Spain, and Portugal.

"Bulgarian wine belongs to the New World. The wine is expressive, strong, and full-bodied. French wine is the most classic and elegant."

Kalin says that the most popular grape from Bulgaria is Mavrud. We taste a rich and full-bodied red wine made from it.

The wine has a deep ruby colour and is slightly sharp, almost bitter – but in a good way, and has an aroma of blackberries and prunes.

Kalin's goal is to bring good wine to the people, preferably across national borders.

"I'm now negotiating with some people in the UK, which is probably the biggest market. They consume the most champagne in the entire world. Also, they are very fond of burgundy, Bordeaux, sherry, madeira, and the sweet wines."

In addition to the British, he is also trying his hand at more traditional wine countries.

"I actually sold my wine to a French restaurant here in Sofia, but the restaurant is called 'Fake French'," he says with a laugh. It serves French cuisine with Bulgarian wine. Will this become a popular new combo?  

imagePicolo / Adrian Leversby

Vinus Tempus lies i Sofia

The small shop is very popular and attracts both locals and international tourists.


Experience Sofia

Metropolitan Hotel Sofia is located between some of the city's largest business centers, such as the European Trade Center, Capital Fort, Business Park Sofia and the Inter Expo Center.