HOW ONE FAMILY MANAGED TO REVIVE THE WINEMAKING TRADITIONS ALONG THE SCENIC WHITE DANUBE
Mar 25, 2019 | NEWS
A new star is born for all wine aficionados with this irresistible temptation. It is called Bononia Estate and its elegant and fine wines are winning more and more fans.
How did everything start?
The cellar unites the traditions of three centuries. As early as the 19th century, the place where now Bononia Estate stands was the place where the Hungarian Victor Olinger established one of the oldest breweries in Bulgaria, and later decided to turn it into a winery. After 1989 this part of the country started to lag behind the other regions, but the production of wine remained an important tradition occupying a great part of the lives of the local residents. The 21st century came with new energy and new ideas, and in 2010, the Yotov family, inspired by the natural beauty and purity of the region, decided to take part in the revival of the local wine industry.
The philosophy on which their new project was founded included a closed cycle manufacturing concept – including the planting of new vines and development of a production base where to turn the grapes into a heavenly drink. The fact that they owned the vineyard and the brewery enabled them to see the big picture but also oversee each individual process – from the growing of the grapes to the last detail of its vinification because their primary objective was not simply to make wine, but to make the best possible wine. The result of their efforts is obvious even to the naked eye (or rather, palate) by anyone who has the pleasure to try their elegant and ethereal wines. Today, the vineyards sprawl over 1,300 decares, and the aspirations of the family are to expand them to 1,500 decares where they can grow all kinds of different varieties. And speaking of …
Bononia Estate focuses mostly on white vines which seem to thrive in this region, giving birth to some amazing wines. The planted varieties include Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Traminer, Riesling, Muscat, Muscat Ottonel, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, etc. Although they have managed to create excellent wines with the classic varieties, the Yotovs have much bigger ambitions:
“Our vineyards lie on the banks of the Danube River and considering the terroir and the favourable weather conditions it is no surprise that our Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, and Traminer make for excellent wines’ says Aglika Yotova who is in charge of the project, ‘but we are also really excited about reviving the traditional local varieties, such as the Vidin Gamza.”
Wine lovers from Bulgaria and from other countries have shown their well deserved appreciation of the results which the cellar has managed to achieve with the Gamza Variety, and this wine has become the number one product of the winery on the markets. The Gamza vines are planted on 45 decares, and there are plans for expansion of the vineyards so that the cellar can meet the growing demands including from customers outside the country. The new yield will include a better quality Gamza variety as well. Bononia plans to plant vines of the authentic Misket variety of Vratsa, another legendary but somewhat forgotten local variety that the winery wants to revive.
Future plans and investments in the region
The dream of the Yotov family is not only to build one of the best cellars in Eastern Europe, to regain and assert the position of the Bulgarian wines on the international markets, but also to support the revival of the Vidin Region. One of their mottos is that a sustainable business can only be developed by highly motivated employees, so they are providing training and creating jobs for the local people, including by contributing to the development of a Viticulture Program at the local Specialised High School of Agriculture in the village of Dunavtsi and by promoting the Municipality of Vidin.
One part of their plans involves the development of the local tourism – expansion of the cellar by adding to it a boutique hotel in a retrofitted 19th-centrury building offering breathtaking views, a restaurant, magnificent gardens, horse riding, SPA procedures, and boat rides on the Danube River. All these initiatives are turning them into the leading and most ambitious investor in the region of Vidin.
In 2019 the cellar is planning to participate in more expositions and to organize more wine tasting events and presentations in order to give an opportunity to more people to taste its wines.
“In general, it is our intention to start some very interesting and creative activities and campaigns in order to effectively raise people’s awareness of our products. Our advertising uses a more moderate approach and we try to abstain from the more aggressive and intrusive methods. Our objective is not to make our products all-pervasive and to be seen by everybody at any rate”, dded Aglika Yotova.
The specific taste and purity of the wines conveying the specificities of the region have grabbed the attention of wine enthusiasts and have turned Bononia Estate into the rising star of the Bulgarian winemaking industry.
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