WINE WITH TRADITIONS

If you visit any of the hills of Plovdiv you will be mesmerized with the views! Below you is the ALIAK city,  which happens to be the oldest one in Bulgaria and one of the oldest cities in Europe. To the north is the Balkan (Old Mountain) and to the south is the Rhodope Mountains — Bulgaria’s most beautiful mountain! And right there in its “skirts” is one of Bulgaria’s largest wine makers — Villa Yustina.

photo credit to Villa Yustina in 2006

Villa Yustina” is a family owned wine cellar, hidden in the low lands of the Rhodope Mountain and in the beautiful village of Ustina. This region has rich cultural-historical heritage and centuries old wine history. The wine cellar carries its name after  the fortress of Yustina, named after the Byzantium emperor Yustinian, which used to be right above the village in the Rhodope Mountains.

The idea of ​​Villa Yustina emerged as a natural extension and desire to upgrade the main business of the owner Milko Tsvetkov, namely the stainless steel tanks production factory for wine making, food industry, pharmacy and others. What better way to win your clients-wine makers than to show them your production personally? Originally built as a small exhibition hall and experimental base for new technological solutions created or produced by Tomica-Metal, today Villa Yustina is much more than that. 

In its short history of 13 years span, the wine cellar has passed through few different stages of development. The beginning takes us back to an old cooperative building, which used to serve as a purchasing center for milk and later on became a tobacco warehouse.

The first grapes of the wine cellar were vinified in 2007 at a room fitted for that purpose. On the outside it was looking like an old cooperative bulding, but on the inside it had crystal clear stainless steel containers, a complete contrast, as our guests have said. And this was that way until 2011 when the wine cellar went through a major innovation process that increased the capacity and the opportunity for wine tourism was born!

These stories are enough for now! Let us tell you more about Villa Yustina itself!

We make 180,000 bottles of wine coming from our own grapes. Our vineyards are about 4 km away from the main building of our wine complex. We have 495 acres of open space of which 104 acres of vineyards. They are located on a south slope that is 300 m altitude; north-south exposure; calcareous soils, moderate continental climate; enough rainfall and a beautiful surrounding nature. The rest of the area has been turned into a park, which is designed to accommodate guests wishing to learn more about wine making in this area. The park is a ‘servant’ to nature-lovers for picnics, folk dances, fabulous outdoor weddings, rock concerts, and … everything else you can imagine. At the highest point of Villa Yustina’s land we have a tower! It reveals the stunning view of the area and during a nice clear day you can see the hills of Plovdiv and the motorway “Trakia”. 

During the harvest season, we welcome Chinese tourists filled with enthusiasm, wishing to pick their own grapes and hand-made their own grape juice. Ah, Grapes! Let’s talk about grapes for a minute BECAUSE we cultivate Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Semiyon, Gevurtztraminer, Aligote, Pinot Noir, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Mavrud and Rubin at this magical place. You will say a “what a wide range for grapes!”, but in the ‘kingdom’ of red varieties in the area, this micro-region is perfectly suitable for both white and red varieties. That is why this terrain has been chosen to be “our place”.

Of course, the quality of the grapes comes before everything else! The wine making process starts at the vineyard.

We rely mainly on the kindness of the weather, but with the weather station and the technique we have, and most importantly the know-how of our agronomist, we control everything that depends on us, humans.

READ  PLOVDIV: CULTURE & WINE IN ONE PLACE

We are proud of our technology team! Two of our wine technologists are winners of “Enologist of the Year” award for two different years. Every medal that our wines have received, from the first harvest to the last, we owe to our chief technologist Vasil Stoyanov. Our wines are a direct expression of his style, they are easily recognizable! Over the years, the series of wines have changed several times but only the Monogram series kept its name and vision! Today, our wines are divided into 3 series, our base series, presented from 3 wines, co-branded with the logo of Plovdiv 2019 -Vila Yustina; the Four Seasons series – for the ‘New World’ wine lovers and our pure variety wines, including the Monogram, represented by barick Chardonnay and our ‘flagship’ Mavrud x Rubin!

As every restaurant has its specialties, we also have something special – natural sparkling white and rose wines and our Special Reserve. In 2019 we will surprise you with our first sweet wine from Gewürztraminer ! The enthusiasm of the whole team while experimenting is enviable. Indeed, 2019 will be filled with many new challenges. This will be the first campaign of our new sparkling wine cellar, which opens in the village of Ustina.

Photo credit to Villa Yustina

The year 2019 will be remembered with the opening of the long-awaited hotel complex, which is being built in the immediate vicinity of Villa Yustina. According to our personal data, the wine cellar has been visited by wine tourists from all continents of the planet and the forecasts are for increased interest in Bulgarian wines and wine tourism! Well, they will finally have the ability to rest after the long walks in the vineyard, the farm, the wine cellar and the exhausting wine tastings.

Oh, we forgot to mention the “Agro Yustina Goat Farm” or “Kozeferma”, which breeds goats from a specially selected meat breed “Boer”. The breed is characterized by extremely healthy, dietetic and delicate meat. Besides restaurants in Sofia and Plovdiv, this delicacy will also be present in the menu of our restaurant in the hotel complex. The farm is far from the common (stereotypical) goat farms. The lake, which offers to tourists sport fishing and the variety of exotic animals such as Alpakas, Nandu, decorative pheasants, various breeds of hens that give low-cholesterol eggs, peacocks, etc., all this beauty is part of the tour for our wine tourists.

Let us also tell you about our partnership with the Plovdiv 2019 Foundation. ´The European Capital of Culture” is one of the most important events for Plovdiv in the last but also the next 10 years! Wine has always been a part of the cultural life of Plovdiv citizens, the guests of the city must try local wines alongside the local cuisine. To support the projects of the ECOC (European Capital of Culture) Plovdiv 2019, we put the Foundation logo on the label of our base series wines, and 0.20 BGN cents of each bottle sold on the local market will support one of the ECOC projects! Buy wine from the Villa Yustina series and support Plovdiv ECOC 2019!

Ready to join one of their amazing tours? You can do that by using our simple and easy to use contact form under PLAN HERE or you can contact Bulgaria Wine Tours and directly schedule with them. You could also call Villa Yustina and talk to one of their friendly representatives. Whatever way you choose to go, you won’t regret it! Cheers!

Want to be THE FIRST? Then, check out these goodies that will forever remain as a memory from beautiful Plovdiv!

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Disclaimer: Text and photos are copy rights reserved to wine cellar Vila Yustina only. We have published the story and used the photographs by obtaining written permission from the wine cellar. Any type (all inclusive) redistribution of the published information is subject to international copy rights laws and restrictions.

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