The founder of Borovitza, Dr Ognyan Tzvetanov, was the man who forever changed the face of Bulgarian winemaking. He was among the first in the country who dared to produce elegant terroir-driven wines, instead of super ripe mass-market hits. Today, Tzvetanov’s winery, Borovitza, continues his legacy and makes some of the most refined wines in all of Bulgaria.
The man behind the acclaimed Borovitza wine, Dr Ognyan Tzvetanov, known simply as Ogi, spent most of his life working as a microbiologist. For a long time, he was the head of wine microbiology at Bulgaria’s National Wine Research and Control Institute. Thus, he knew Bulgarian wines very well, however he rarely liked what he came across. On the other hand, Ogi believed that Bulgarian terroirs are capable of much more than cheap supermarket wines. Therefore, his long-term dream was to buy his own vineyard and to unleash the true potential of this ancient winemaking land
At last, in 2004 this dream came true. After years of searching across the country, Dr Tzvetanov and his partner in wine, Adriana Srebrinova found a real treasure. A small abandoned winery in the north-west, just next to the famous Belogradchik rocks – nominated as one of seven natural wonders of the world. Interestingly, at that time this part of Bulgaria was not much regarded among the winemakers.
Photo credit: Caroline Gilby
This was mainly because the area is relatively cooler than the rest of the country. Nevertheless, the sunshine hours are long here, allowing the grapes to ripen fully while maintaining a good acidity level – so important for the wine structure. Furthermore, the soils are ancient and there are some plots of very old vines, planted on sloping sites.
All in all, these are perfect conditions for elegant, complex wines with an ageing potential and Tzvetanov knew it from the start. Despite the sceptical attitude of the industry colleagues and the Bulgarian press, Ogi and Adriana went their own way.
From Vines To Wines
Borovitza wines spoke for themselves, gradually making their way to UK top wine merchants, being listed next to the finest bottles from the Old World. Moreover, international wine critics described Borovitza releases as the first terroir wine from Bulgaria. Gradually, the winery gained a cult status both at home and abroad, becoming a benchmark boutique producer.
Today, Borovitza Winery holds two distinctive vineyard slots. One of them is near the village of Borovitza: 7.5 hectares of vines are planted on 240 million year old red sandstone. Another parcel is near the village of Gradetc, not far from the Danube river. About 4 hectares of vines grow here, some of them – 60 year old Rkatsiteli.
Unfortunately, Ogi Tzvetanov passed away in January 2016, but his legacy lives on. Nowadays, Borovitza is masterfully led by Adriana Srebrinova, Ogi’s long time partner, who continues his vision to express the unique terroirs of the Danubian Plain. The quantities made by Borovitza, from both French and indigenous varieties, remain tiny. All of Borovitza wine range is highly sought after as the wines possess real class and finesse.