Winemaker Villa Melnik

The people and The story:

What is the vision of Villa Melnik ? “To preserve and to forward the family traditions in winemaking from generation to generation, from parents to children and grandchildren”, adds the owner of the boutique winery Nikola Zikatanov.
Nikola Zikatanov, was born in the village on the opposite side of the winery, Kapatovo, in a family with a long tradition in viticulture and winemaking. Nikola decided to dedicate his life to reviving the family tradition and building a business for the generations to come. Together with his wife, Lyubka, he planted vineyards and built the winery. They planted some indigenous and also international grape varieties, with the clear mission to bring back the glory of the Melnik wine and lead the wine Renaissance in the region.
“At Villa Melnik, we believe in the potential of the local grape varieties. We create dared mixes between rare Bulgarian grapes and international grapes and innovate constantly. We look for the true expression of the terroir Melnik in each of our wines."
Since 2013, the head winemaker is Rumyana Stoilova. She also comes from the Melnik region, graduated in oenology in Bordeaux and gained a lot of experience before returning to Bulgaria.
In 2015, after seven years of study and work experience abroad, Militza, the daughter of Lyubka and Nikola, joined the family business. She is contributing to the modern legend of Melnik winery.

The region and the Vineyard:

This boutique winery is located south of the town of Melnik, in the southwestern Bulgarian wine region of Struma River Valley. It is a small but a very important wine region, with great significance due to the indigenous grape Shiroka Melnishka Loza (Broadleaf Melnik). The grape was named after the town of Melnik. The wine made from Melnik or Melnik 55 grapes is highly valued for its full flavour, ruby red colour, tobacco notes and long aging potential. The Melnik grape has two types : the "Broadleaf Melnik vine", a late harvested variety, not very stable due to frequent damage by climatic conditions and the variety created for that reason, the "Early Melnik vine" known as Melnik 55, variety that grows rapidly and ripes faster.
Other interesting indigenous red varieties that find a place here are Mavrud and Ruen. Out of the Ruen, the crossing between Broadleaf Melnik Vine & Cabernet Sauvignon originated in 1951, comes delicious red wine with vanilla cherry flavours, hints of blackberries and spices. Also whites grow here, such as Keratzuda, Tamianka and Sandanski Misket. In addition, the Mediterranean Sea climate makes the region ideal for international grape varieties such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Merlot, Chardonnay and Viognier, which often result in exceptional wines.
In 2004, 30 hectares of vineyard were planted, good for an annual production of 200.000 bottles.
Typically in the region are sandy soils, where water easily seeps, as well as limestone and volcanic deposits from the nearby extinct volcano Kozhuh. Vineyards of Melnik Villa are not treated with pesticides and there is not any polluting practice. In brief, everything that can harm the grapes is excluded.
The new building of Villa Melnik opened doors in the spring of 2012. Equipped with a ‘state-of-the-art’ technology the winery has all what it needs for producing brave wines.


Villa Melnik Brands:

Family Tradition, wines for everyday drinking.
Bergulé, wines are expression of the region and the local varieties. These wines are aged in used oak barrels for 6 to 9 months, which gives complexity and doing very well preserve the fruity flavour. Production is limited  in order to achieve constant quality.
Aplauz, wines of top class. Mostly varietal wines such as Melnik 55, Syrah or Merlot matured for a minimum of 15 months in French and / or Bulgarian oak barrels, with great aging potential. Limited batches of those wines in order to keep the quality.

Wine Cellar Villa Melnik to be listed as one of the World's Best Vineyards. At #39 in the 2020 Top 50, Villa Melnik represents Bulgaria in this prestigious ranking.