At Dragomir’s New Home,
where they will Teach you how to Turn the Pages of Wine
Natalia and Kosyo are among the best known couples on the Bulgarian wine scene. Artistic, charismatic and sophisticated – just like the wines of the Dragomir brand, which the two of them have been making for 14 years already. They invited us into their new home – a high-tech winery near Plovdiv where they have invested their experience, skills and creativity. A place where they will gladly welcome connoisseurs from around the world and guide them into the secrets of good wine.
It’s a pleasure to talk to people who have walked the road to their dreams with confident strides, with dedication and high professionalism. Natalia Gadjeva and Konstantin Stoev finished the same vocational school in Plovdiv, but didn’t actually meet until they were both at the Higher School of Food Industry in the city below the hills. Later they discovered they shared a similar outlook on winemaking, as well as having much in common on a personal level, so 22 years ago their roads merged. Together with their friend Valeri Mektupchian, they set up the Dragomir Winery Estate in 2006. In their team they have people who started in winemaking with them back in the day. Because they believe that winemaking is about building on experience, creating a tradition and gradually shaping the wine’s individuality. They also believe that family companies are the most successful, so both their boys are involved in the operation too.
Since 2017, they’ve had their own 60-acre vineyard in the village of Svirkovo, plus a 10-year lease of 32 acres of their favourite Mavrud and Rubin varieties by the village of Belashtitsa, near Plovdiv. Up to now, they have been vinifying around 60,000 bottles a year – mostly in the high-end segment, while winning multiple awards and devoted fans. Like with any successful business, the need to expand came naturally and moved them closer to the realisation of their dream for a new winery, which was conceived in 2008. They even had the plan ready at the time, but the building work didn’t begin till May 2018. In 2014 they went back to the old winery in the Brestnik village, where they used to work as young wine technologists. The dilapidated building will be incorporate into the new winery complex, which is set to open its doors this spring.
“We have always wanted to create wine which would keep our history and our work over the years. That’s why we need space to do the ageing in barrels and in bottles, and the new winery will make that possible. We will increase our production capacity to 110 thousand bottles and will have the perfect conditions to conduct educational tastings,” says Natalia. Everything is designed to accommodate the production process. Konstantin Stoev, who is one of Bulgaria’s top winemakers and winner of the Oenologist of the Year Award, has organised the space in a way which makes the production of wine as easy as possible. The shop can handle up to 6 customers at the same time, the tasting room has space for 30 people, up to 100 could be accommodated among the barrels, and an outdoor events ground for up to 200 people will be finished soon.
Besides the exceptional wines, the Dragomir brand is also well known for its tastings.
“Wine can be just wine, or you can have wine poured into your glass, turn it around for 15 minutes and still keep discovering new things. We don’t want the people who meet our wines to learn all about them at the first sip, we want to make them turn their pages one by one. This can happen when the vineyard has reached maturity and the people making the wine have enough experience under their belt. So we now launch wines which are finer and intriguing, both delighting and educating people…” Natalia’s story is so delicious and juicy that the aroma and velvety smoothness of their wines is almost palpable.
What is your greatest pride, I ask them finally. “The future wines we are going to make. Each one better than the previous,” Kosyo promises