“I entered the wine business completely by accident. Back in 1998 a banker friend asked me to help with the management of a troubled wine company in South West Bulgaria. He knew I appreciated wine, and had been traveling around and visiting wineries, reading about wine and certainly drinking quite a bit of it. My first day at Damianitza was shocking, to say the least. Concrete tanks, huge capacity, mediocre wines… It was not my wine.
“I was asked to stay and help for 3 months. These have been the longest 3 months in my life. Ten years later, I cannot imagine life without wines, vineyards and grapes.
I bought the winery from the troubled owner, and completely overhauled the business model. Cheap bulk wine for export was replaced by premium wines destined for the domestic market. I am proud to say that we have managed to climb the ladder from one of the worst to being among the five most important players in Bulgaria.
Currently, we have over 150 ha old and 55 ha new vineyards. Throughout the years we have had consultants from New Zealand, Australia, Italy and France, and they have all helped tremendously. At the same time, it is important to us that we use the best expertise to find our own style. We work extensively, although not exclusively, with domestic varieties to create unique wines that appeal to the adventurous.
I believe Bulgarian wine has a bright future ahead.”
In 1998 Borislav was brought on as chief agronomist at Damianitza.
He was tasked with the grape harvest – growing techniques, volumes, quality monitoring – collected from a dozen villages surrounding the towns of Petrich and his native Sandansky. Prior to that, as a student at the University of Agronomy in Plovdiv, Borislav worked in agricultural farms in Bulgaria and Austria. Bobby prides himself on the fact that, as part of the Damianitza team, he was among the first to turn around attitudes with respect to wine in Bulgaria: “We were the first to introduce small crates to collect and transport grapes. The idea was subsequently adopted by many other wineries.”
In 1992 he graduated the Higher Institute of Chemical Engineering in the Major Automation of Production. He joined Damianitza in March 2001. Consecutively he occupied different positions with continuously increasing responsibilities, requiring increasingly higher professional skills and competence. Since 2003 he has been successfully managing the manufacturing process in the winery.