Thrace is a mystical land incorporating history and legends dating back 6000 BC. The lands that carry the spirit of Thrace are in the borders today’s south Bulgaria, northern Greece and the European part of Turkey. The most famous of all the tribes that lived there gave the region’s name – the Travcians. History books remember them as passionate warriors, exquisite jewellery masters and divine winemakers.
Under the Roman rule, the thriving province of Thrace records magnificent history for the generations. One of its capitals – Philippopolis (today Plovdiv) captured the essence of the time in the architecture, in the spirit and in the wine. Located in an extremely fruitful area along the ancient river Hebrus (nowadays Struma), the town keeps the heritage of Ancient Thrace alive in the varieties and flavours of vines.
Thracian kings and priests believed in the immortality of the soul. Thracians were deeply religious and were capable – like real magicians – to make the gods fulfil their will. As true worshipers of the God of Wine Dionysius (or Bacchus as the Romans called him) the Thracians performed many rituals in his name. And in all divine rituals the sacred element that binds together tradition, religion and mystery was always the wine.
Wine accompanied the Thracians throughout their life. They celebrated the birth of a new family member with wine; and again, with wine have sent their deceased to nothingness. Thrace was known as a ‘land of sweet wines’, famous all around the Ancient world. Authors such as Homer, Athenaeus and Plato witnessed the power of Thracian wine and immortalized it in their works. Wine was not only a drink – it was a sacred drink. According to the Thracians, wine has a sacred connection with blood. That is why both wine and blood carry the divine spirit and have been associated with ancient holy rituals.
The purpose of the sacred drink was to release the soul as it enters the body; it takes the place of God. That is why the sacred drink was a pledge in the battle between gods and demons – the one who owned it had the power over the knowledge, the past and the future of the world.
Archaeologists nowadays still find the magnificent wine vessels the Thracians made and decorated – craftly made with silver and gold. Numerous treasures validate the skills and attention to detail the Thracians used.
Except for its mysterious character and magical properties, the wine back then had other specifics – it was very thick and sweet, so often people would dilute it with spring water. But not the Thracians – they would drink it neat and thus impress with their vitality.
It is considered that some native varieties, such as Mavrud and Melnick were used by Thracians all the way back 6000 years ago. With such a rich and long history, it is no wonder that these particular wines were presumed as Winston Churchill’s favourite wine flavours.
Combining old and new, implementing modern technology in traditional winemaking is what defines Thracian wine as unique. Today, Thrace is growing native to the region, famously renowned vines, alongside new varieties. The notoriously fruitful area becomes a suitable home for them all; it puts its long history, rich soil and velvet sunshine into every grape so that each glass of the divine wine takes you on a journey in the mysterious Thrace!