BULGARIAN WINE FINDS NEW MARKETS
By October 15, Bulgaria will have to absorb EUR18MN launched for restructuring of 2,400 hectares of wine vineyards, Nihat Kabil, Minister of Agriculture, said during the February 14 parties. In October 2007, the first subsidies in the wine sector were paid amounting to BGN346,520. Just thirteen applicants profited by the money, though. For 2009 Bulgaria is expected to apply for EUR15.6MN from Brussels.
By June, Bulgaria will have to present a National Vine-Growing and Wine-Producing Program for 2009-2015 to the European Commission. The country should absorb EUR166MN within the program. It will include measures specific for Bulgaria that will direct the investments toward raising the competitive power of Bulgarian wines and strengthening the image of the country both on the EU markets and in third countries, Minister Kabil added. 857,000 hectolitres of wine has been exported for the first nine months of 2007, 21% up compared to the same period of 2006. Two thirds of the exports went to Russia by tradition, the National Chamber of Vine-Growing and Wine Production said. According to the chairman of the chamber, Bulgaria needs to expand its markets to the east where there is potential so that national wine production is not dependent on a single buyer. The chairman added that negotiations were already in course and he hoped Bulgarian wines would enter countries like China and Vietnam in the coming years.
Bulgaria joined the EU with two regions where production of regional wines was established - the Thracian lowland and the Danube plain, as well as with 51 regions for production of quality wines. Among the major export markets, apart from Russia where Bulgaria is the biggest importer, are also Poland, Great Britain, the Czech Republic, Lithuania, Germany, Sweden, Latvia, Estonia, Belgium, Slovakia, Canada, Belarus, the Netherlands, Norway and Finland. As the Katarzyna Estate wine-cellar Executive Director, Nikolay Dalakov, said, Bulgarian wine is also consumed in the Philippines and Butan. What is more, the sale of 1.5 million bottles of wine produced by Belvedere Group - Bulgaria in 12 US states is now subject to negotiations.
A record number of participants - 51, will take part in the tasting competitions within the Vinaria 2008 exhibition which is to be held in Plovdiv next March, Plamen Mollov announced. New rules have been adopted for the tastings, so that manipulations of the results can be avoided. It is to be noted that apart from some of the 274 members of the chamber new producers will take part in this year's exhibition, too.