Xmas is upon us despite many still ignoring the fact that in a week will start the biggest frenzy of all and 7 million turkeys will loose their lives to keep us all stuffed and happy.

How many bottles of wine we will drink is also a whopping number, because lets face it. This island is a washed with wine! Not all of it is high quality fine and rare wine, far from it. Most of it is bootlegged plonk or industrially produced wine like liquid brought in a 300 tonnes container and bottled here with various labels. But it is presented as wine and the shelves are cracking under its weight. More than 70% of all wine now is sold by the Supermarkets with the big four(Sainsbury, Tesco, Asda and Morrisons) claiming a whopping 50% of it.The quality there is universally mediocre. No matter what it says on the label (finest or taste the difference, or Radkliff etc.) the wine has a diluted varietal character and a vague aroma. A wine made to order that has a particular tinge of red/yellow color, sugar and alcohol content and is not capable to offend anyone. These wines have no soul and no place of origin, despite of the catchy name and the artistically accepted label or the intriguing story on the back label. A friend recently offered me a glass from his supermarket plonk and I was amazed to find out that it did not taste of anything in particular, it was red and mediocre, a wine you will definitely forget next morning but you might remember the label. Because the label is catchy..

This is what makes the market these days- the label. Wine has long become a FMCG product in the Supermarkets and they are tired and mostly scared to play the game of quality. That is why they play the game of labels and of offers.

The sad fact is that I now notice that some Bulgarian Importers claiming to be the finest wines from Bulgaria are also jumping on this band wagon, offering ridiculous offers like Buy 2 Get One Free, or Buy One get the second one Half Price. Uh?

Lets get this straight! What message might I get when I see an advert like that? They have produced more than they can sell? Or wine is so bad that no one buys it! Or it is so delicious that once bought you will be hooked to it for ever. Just like Drugs! Well, I happen to know that Bulgarian wines are good! They have character and personality, they may offend but they also inspire.

May be we have to work hard on our marketing skills because with offers like that '' Buy1 Get 3 Free, or any other BOGOF offers we are sending the wrong message. Bulgaria does not produce enough to play this game! It honestly makes wines that will make you sing or cry, wines that you will remember more than just a day! Wines that are connected to a place - not to an enormous tanker docked somewhere. Wines that deserve to be sipped slowly while you ponder life! Bulgarian wines are about to take their place among ''the best wines available to humanity'' and do not need BOGOF offers to be shifted. Or we run again the risk of remaining in the eighties of the last century when Bulgaria shifted 1 million cases and the only time someone took a Bulgarian wine to dinner was when he was a student, i.e. penniless. Perhaps there is still too much nostalgia left in the Bulgarian Wine Industry to be able to recognize its own quality and value and move forward making fine and rare wines for the few rather than tonnes of plonk for the many!


Written by Vassil Rachkov — December 18, 2013


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