06 Aug Join Harvest at Villa Melnik Winery
You want to join the harvest season at a Bulgarian winery? You want to get a taste of what it’s like to pick the ripe grapes that go into making your favorite wine? You want to immerse yourself in the authentic Melnik winemaking and vinegrowing experience by participating in the most important stage of wine production together with your friends and family? Or you want to go grape picking as part of your corporate teambuilding event in the Struma River Valley?
At Villa Melnik Winery, we are happy to receive all harvest volunteers and grape picking enthusiasts!
The harvest season for us starts around August 15th, and continues until about October 30th. Firstly, we collect the white varieties – Chardonnay, Viognier, and Sauvignon Blanc. Then, we pick the early-ripening varieties such as Melnik 55, Merlot, Ruen, Pinot Noir, Sangiovese and Cabernet Sauvignon. In October or early November, we harvest the late-ripening Mavrud and Broad-leaved Melnik vine. The winery is open for visitors throughout the harvest season.
In addition to the wine grape varieties, we also grow dessert grapes – Velika, Sultanina, Bolgar, Armira, Red Pearl, and more. They ripen from early August until late November and are a favorite treat to all children who visit the winery. Grapes by the kilo and freshly squeezed dessert grape juice are available for sale as well.
What do you need to know before you join the harvest – tips for beginning grape-pickers
Grape picking begins very early in the morning – at sunrise, while the air is still cool and the grape berries are still chilled from the night. The head winemaker has already determined which exact plot and variety should be collected this day. We pick the grapes by hand – we will provide you with special scissors and gloves. If it is muddy from raining the night before, we can provide rain boots as well. We will instruct you on how to collect only the ripe grape clusters and how to clean them from any imperfect, green or rotten berries and leaves – we want only perfect grapes in our wine! We collect the grapes in 10kg baskets. The baskets are small, so that we don’t crush the grapes (not yet). We pick the grapes until about noon because the sun gets too hot after that (temperatures can reach 40 degrees in the Melnik Region!)
The harvested grapes will go directly to the winery, which is situated immediately next to the vineyards. We sort and clean the grapes at the sorting line. Again, we will throw out every berry or cluster that we find imperfect.
After it is sorted, the grape will go through the de-stemming machine, which separates the stems from the berries, and then through the grape crusher. The crushed grapes follow the flow of gravity as they fall through openings in the floor directly into the fermentation tanks on the level below.
After you are finished with picking and sorting the grapes, you are welcome to a wine tasting session! We will tell you more about the winemaking traditions in the Melnik Region as we taste our white, rose, red and orange wines from the series Aplauz, Bergule, Family Tradition, and Orange Wine!
Join us for the harvest season to get first-hand experience in the creation of your favorite Villa Melnik wines!
To book you visit, please get in touch via our Contact Us page.
We look forward to having you!