Bulgaria | Bulgaria, or officially the Republic of Bulgaria is a country in south-east Europe. It is a member of the European Union.
Capital city | Sofia (Bulgaria’s largest city). | Other major cities: Burgas, Plovdiv and Varna.
Geography | Bulgaria is bordered by Romania to the north, Serbia and North Macedonia to the west, Greece and Turkey to the south, and the Black Sea to the east.
Corruption | Bulgaria is rated the worst country in the EU for corruption by Transparency International (The Economist 13 Jan 2018 p25).
Demographics | ‘The UN projects that Bulgaria’s population will fall from 7.2m to 5.2m by 2050, making it the world’s fastest-shrinking country. In the 1990s the fertility rate plummeted and hundreds of thousands of young people flocked to the richer, stabler countries of western Europe, leaving the older and less-skilled behind. Today over 1m Bulgarians live abroad, around 700,000 of them in the EU,‘ (he Economist 13 Jan 2018 p25).
Economy | 2005 Bulgaria’s GDP per head was $3,480 in 2005, versus an EU-wide average of $29,330 (The Economist 06 Jan 2017 p23)
Language | ‘Bulgarian is a Slavic tongue, as close to Russian as Danish is to Swedish,‘ (The Economist 06 Jan 2017 p23).
Wine regions | Melnik.
Vintages | 2003 ‘High sugar, unusually high acid levels,’ (Caroline Gilby, Wine Report 2007, p211). | 2005 ‘Delayed ripening caused by wet and cool weather in summer. Some flooding in Plovdiv. Better in the south (Sakar, Liubimetz) and southwest (Strouma Valley) due to adequate early season rains and a warm summer. Volumes down, to 220,000 tonnes. Domestic wine sales are 28 million litres compared to about 80 million litres of raki, or brandy,’ (Caroline Gilby, Wine Report 2007, p209).
Caroline Gilby in Tom Stevenson’s Wine Report 2007 (Dorling Kindersley, 2006) p211.