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Back You are here: Home Travel Activities Exploring the wine cellars of the Royal Palace Evksinograd

Exploring the wine cellars of the Royal Palace Evksinograd

Wine lovers will be bowled over by the Evksinograd wine cellar, which is said to be the oldest in Bulgaria. It is housed in the former royal summer palace, 8 km from Varna and its reputation is well known outside of Bulgaria. Its links with former Bulgarian royalty and the international awards it has won over the last ten years has contributed to its fame. Back in 1881 it served the royal family of Tsar Ferdinand right through until the abolition of the monarchy in the Forties. Today it is popular with Bulgaria’s government ministers and wine connoisseurs.

Evksinograd’s Produce

The vineyards around Evksinograd cover 115 decares of the Misket of Vratsa, Red Misket, Traminer, Chardonnay and German Riesling grapes. The cellar covers two floors underground and was originally created in 1891 to serve the needs of the Bulgarian royal family. The cellar is renowned in particular for its white wines especially its Chardonnay, which combines a fruity flavour with a palatable freshness. White wine grapes thrive in this region thanks to the Black Sea’s fertile soil and clement climate. Evksinograd produces 12 varieties of white wine including Dimyat, Riesling, Chardonnay, Ugni Blanc, Tamyanka and Rkatziteli and 7 varieties of brandy. The grapes for each of the wines are all grown around the palace gardens and many varieties were hand chosen by Tsar Ferdinand who showed a strong interest in horticulture.

The Case of the Missing Wine

The cellar has had its fair share of royal secrets and scandal over the years. The people of Bulgaria who struggled after the liberation and the Balkan wars were unaware that their monarchy was living in such a state of luxury where fine wines from their European cousins were regularly enjoyed over dinner. The cellar was renowned for storing some of the world’s finest vintage bottles dating back to Bulgaria’s liberation from the Ottoman Turks in 1888. But the Bulgarian press reported in 2002 that three excellent French wines, which were worth thousands of Euros had been stolen from the cellar along with 134 other bottles and a bottle of vintage cognac. The valuable French wine had been presented as a gift to Tsar Ferdinand, the great grandfather of politician Simeon Saxe Cobourg and their whereabouts is still a mystery.

 

Export Markets

The cellar made a profit of 540,000 lv. in 2008 and a lot of its wine is exported all over the world. Around 20,000 bottles are sold to America, which is somewhat ironic to think that wines loved by Communist dictator Todor Zhivkov will be enjoyed by those who opposed this form of rule. America favours Evksinograd’s Traminer, Misket and Chardonnay.

Award Winners

 

Evksinograd - Varna has won plenty of awards for its palatable produce including two silver and three bronze medals in the prominent wine World Championship in Chicago in 2007; the leading wines from this cellar were considered to be Cabernet Sauvignon 2001, Riesling 2005, Traminer 2003 and Vrachanski Misket 2003.

Pictures courtesy of
Dimcho Panayotov (Benkovski)