Wine Bridges logo
Wine Bridges logo

Here, the differences get together
аnd get to know each other…

Wine Bridges is a story about the power of wine which possess the ability to connect people and overcome distance and time.

The idea came to me after I parted with an incredible team. I kept bright memories from the countless wine adventures and wines during our work together, and there’s a stable connection between us.

I have been working in the wine sector since 1995, and still continue to make wine. The more time of my life that I spend on this, and the more people I work with for the creation of a single wine, the more I become aware of wine’s power to build bridges. I have worked in Bulgaria, California, New Zealand, Macedonia, and I’ve decided to settle down here in the Balkans, for the time being. I know that no matter where I am, the wine-growing world is as one. The people who grow grapes, create wine, write about it, evaluate it, or just enjoy wine are all part of a different world within this planet.

I wanted to put this into words somehow, to express my feelings about the power of wine. Irrespective of the consecution of meetings and separations, it possesses the ability to connect people and to overcome distance and time.

All this said, it is connected to the emotions in time and my love for what I do, as well as the people with whom I make dreams come true. This is how the idea about Wine Bridges was born−where special wines related to certain wine growers can tell their stories. The next stage I went through was deciding what these wines should be.

I was a supporter of the New World for almost a decade, trying to transfer to my work in Bulgaria the impressions and experiences I had from the time I spent in California and New Zealand.

One day, my meandering wine path took me to Macedonia where I found many grape varieties unfamiliar to me, and met the people who were inspired to work with these grapes. This came to be a new challenge for me. After more than a year of making an effort to get to know what was new to me, after having sensed the uniquely distinctive aroma and taste coming from the unknown, emotionally charged by the meetings with people who worked in the field, I had already started to shape my vision of the wines to make up Wine Bridges. I realized that after a long search for the modern taste of wine I had become tired of it, and at the same time I was inspired by something different. It became clear to me how the wine path had slightly turned me around. It placed me at a starting point from where I could head towards a difficult but interesting path and rediscover unique places, such as the Balkans. This is how I decided that Wine Bridges will be wines from Balkan grape varieties and from local wine-growers. Nature, history and the people−all these allow us to build these wine bridges. The meetings here are different.

After I have presented the idea, all those who stood beside me (and will work together with me in the future) and I, are looking forward to meeting you at the Wine Bridges, because this is where new stories spring from, stories which we are about to create together.

Ekaterina Gargova

Mavrud 2013

Date of grape harvest: 27.09.2013

Bottling date: 18.08.2014

The grapes come from the famous Rodopa Mountain collar, not far from the town of Plovdiv – Markovo village.

About the wine: This wine was my bridge to Bulgaria and an opportunity to experience the events in winemaking during the 2013 harvest. I worked together with my colleagues Kostadinka Rahova, Vasil Stoyanov, and Iliya Lungolov in Villa Yustina. What is interesting about our work here is that the wine fermentation took place in a container of the Eureka type, where the extraction is made in a specific way. 30% of the wine had matured for 6 months in new barrels made from Bulgarian oak, and then coupaged with the rest of the wine which had matured in inox container. With this Mavrud we aimed at preserving maximum fructuousness, while at the same time having the Bulgarian oak enrich the wine taste without dominating it.

    Wine analysis:
  • Alcohol – 14 %
  • Sugars – 3,7 g/l
  • TA – 5,8 g/l
  • VA – 0,58 g/l
  • рН – 3,44

Number of bottles: 1706

Vranets 2012 – The free steed

Date of grape harvest: 17.09.2012

Bottling date: 27.09.2013

The grapes come from the largest and most popular vine-growing region in the Republic of Macedonia Tikvesh, the vineyard is Popova Kula.

About the wine: What is characteristic of this wine is that it was vinified through spontaneous alcohol fermentation. My wish to further experiment with Vranets in this direction was a result of a two-year partnership at Popova Kula to design a doctoral project by Fidanka Ilieva at the University of Agriculture in Štip, under the supervision of associate professor Hristo Spasov, from the University of Food Technologies, Plovdiv. The work involved fermentation of red wines by strains of yeast isolated from grape varieties from the Tikvesh region. We received a wide range of wines in terms of structure and character as a result of the yeast varieties. With Vranets 2012, in order to bring the grape variety to the foreground in its most natural form, a spontaneous alcohol fermentation is used. Malolactic fermentation is performed with pure cultures of bacteria. In order to preserve more elemental aromas, the wine has aged with no contact to oak until the moment of bottling. I have let the Vranets loose, and that is why the label says that this particular wine meets the free spirit of the black steed.

    Wine analysis:
  • Alcohol – 14,14 %
  • Sugars – 5 g/l
  • TA – 5,9 g/l
  • VA – 0,51 g/l
  • рН – 3,42

Number of bottles: 600

Vranets 2011 – The untamable steed

Date of grape harvest: 20.09.2011

Bottling date: 27.09.2013

The grapes come from the largest and most popular vine-growing region in the Republic of Macedonia Tikvesh, the vineyard is Popova Kula.

About the wine: I worked at the Popova Kula winery, together with my young Macedonian colleagues, Marina Kotseva and Zoran Nikolov, who were both at the start of their career. This wine was my first encounter with Vranets, and my idea of the grape vinification lead to an extractive and tannin wine which subsequently aged one year in French and Macedonian oak vats, followed by a 10-month aging outside the vats. The story of this wine, for me personally, represents the battle with the unfamiliar and fiery Vranets, who seemed to have won the first round. This is why I wrote on the label that this is an encounter with the untamable nature of the black steed.

    Wine analysis:
  • Alcohol – 13,8 %
  • Sugars – 3,8 g/l
  • TA – 6,5 g/l
  • VA – 0,49 g/l
  • рН – 3,40

Number of bottles: 800


Vranets is a red variety from the Balkans and the wines made from it represent the temperament of the people who live in this geographical area – warm-blooded and strong.

The word Vranets means black, strong, powerful steed, and the wines from this grape variety are characterized by strength, potential and vigour.

The Vranets grape variety originates from Montenegro and falls under the Black Sea ecological and geographic group. It can be found in Montenegro, Serbia, Kosovo, but it have found its second home in the republic of Macedonia. The proper climate and soil for this grape variety emphasize and give prominence to its characteristics in the wine.

Vranets is the main grape variety for the production of red wines in Macedonia. It is spread mainly in the central regions, as well as along the Vardar river valley, including the vine-growing regions from Skopje towards Veles and Tikvesh, all the way to Valandovo and Gevgelija.

Today the Republic of Macedonia can be proud of producing the best Vranets wines in the Balkans. And Vranets is about to become the face of the Macedonian wine.

The wines made from Vranets are characterized by an intensive, dark red colour. The grape variety aromas vary from predominantly fruity−ripe cherry and sour cherry, dark berries, dried fruit to vegetation, wood and an earthy touch. The taste is strong and tannin, with vivid freshness typical of young wines. Vranets wines can age for a long period of time thus acquiring a more sophisticated aroma; the tannins and acids balance out, and the taste comes to a pleasant density and sweetness, retaining its structure at the same time.


‘’Mavrud is an old grape variety from the Thracian plane which has been grown in our lands since ancient times. It falls under the Black Sea ecological and geographic group. It is spread mainly in the Plovdiv region, and not so much in Haskovo and Stara Zagora region.‘’
Ampelography, Venelin Roychev, academic publisher with the Agrarian University, Plovdiv 2012
‘’Krum had ordered: ‘’Now that this vine gave you such bravery, from now on the new state vineyards shall be pricked off it. And the grapes and the wine from it shall be called Mavrud so that your valour can be remembered. The Bulgarian army needs heroes like you. So I said.’’
The legend of Mavrud
‘‘I’ve had this ‘‘wine‘’ memory since I was a child. My father, who rarely drank alcohol, had been staring at the glass of Mavrud again and again, against the light, admiring at the incredible ‘‘ring‘’ that the wine formed.‘’
‘’In the XVII century the French Paul Lucas, who had visited Stanimaka (Asenovgrad), tells that the place is wide, with nice vineyards which yield excellent wine.‘’
‘’In Stanimaka, Chirpan and other places in the Thracian valley the Mavrud wine occupies the 1st place when it comes to richness of harvest and quality’’, say the experts. And the centre of this incredible universe is, of course Plovdiv, where ‘’…wine is abundant and good’’ according to Ami Boué, who had passed through the hillock town in the middle of the 19th century, ‘’Together with the foodstuffs, Plovdiv exported good wine as well, which had its own name at the European market-places, and which was praised in the songs of the medieval knights.’’ This was the assessment given by the respected magazine of the Bulgarian Economic Association.’’
‘’…mishaps of various kinds−natural, military, and political narrow the areas with Mavrud year by year: in its final fortress, as if surrounded by Destiny itself.’’
‘’The actual original grape variety was to be saved and its spread was to be furthered, that was the most important.’’
Bulgarian Wines Name List
Janet 45 Publishing House, 2010
‘’Stanimashka Malaga’’ is a specialty of the Greek Aristid Chorbadzhikov (1886-1958), who was considered one of the best wine producers in the Asenovgrad region at the time. In 1957, as it turned out, at the end of his life, he was invited to work at Vinprom, Asenovgrad-the regional state wine factory which had tried to produce “Stanimashka Malaga” without success. Before the 1958 vintage, Chorbadzhikov fell very ill and died before being able to disclose to the technologists how the wine was made; he was even accused postmortem by the communists that he had deliberately kept his secret. Most likely there was no secret. It was just that the wine technology was labour-consuming and not quite compatible with the regime’s planned economy. In addition to the very vintage (in the beginning of November) part of the wine had to be set aside before the fermentation in order to be thickened through evaporation. After having been cooled down it was put back into the wine which ceased its fermentation, this is how the wine got its characteristic sweet taste and aromas.’’
Divino, Yana Petkova

+359 888 642 159 – Ekaterina Gargova

+359 889 663 027 – Atanas Gargov