Villa Katina is an idea –
of purity and sincerity, of magic
and unity, of sharing and joy. The kind of wine that heralds the connection we possess with a finer world. An extract, representing life as a string of transformations each with its unique colours and beauty.
This is our understanding of purity, dedication, attitude and interaction
in the form of wine.
Villa Katina is a small, family craft winery, whose story began back in 2010. Born out of passion, curiosity and desire, the winery has continued its development with a focus entirely on manual labour – in full presence and contact with the future product, with attention to every detail and the emotion with which each part of the process is completed.
We aspire to make sincere, pure, handcrafted wines with minimum human and technical intervention, preserving their natural authenticity to the fullest. Wines without stabilizers and sulphites, yet possessing a full body and of high quality, wines with a strong presence and a good aging potential. We deeply value the connection to the earth and seek to establish a good and fair relationship with it. We see the synergetic link of land, vineyard, grapes, man, wine as one constant and perpetual wheel of circulation.
It always sparkles off from the end as a retrospection of what lies behind or even what is yet to come. My gratitude goes to those who have inspired me to write these words, and to you, who are also part of them.
What gave the impulse to create and realize this something, of which I had no knowledge and no experience with? Not only that but also barely any experience with the vast journey of Wine.
The first glass of Wine? Some say – a Love at first sight. True, but in this case it was a bit more than that. A moment, which deeply touched my presence, my senses. A moment, which ingrained a lasting trace in my perception of the world, of how we communicate with each other, and how we experience ourselves and the person beside us. A sparkling, sunny sense of joy and a dense conscious presence. An unfolding impulse of creation and a journey towards the creative self. An enchantment of life in an abundance of aromas, tastes and colours. A breath of nature, exalted in a glass of a journey in red.
An emotion, turned into passion and a way of interacting with the world, which led to the first attempt to create wine, back in 2010. An unsuccessful one, but the first steps are like that, especially if you know nothing but yet you are naive and overly confident that you can make it. I spent the next two years travelling around the country in search for the most suitable vines and grape varieties which matched my vision of what I wanted to create – a wine in the mid to high class, with a high aging potential, without any added stabilizers and sulphites, and a result entirely of manual labour. I turned the old village basement of my family into a wine cellar – not at once but gradually and persistently. Along, I also persistently studied, read and informed myself.
2012 – the first successful year, which remains a symbol and an example of that, which we created with love and attention. We, because I have never perceived this process as the lonely journey of one, but rather as a result of sharing this emotion with the family and all loved ones. We blended Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot in a 50/50 proportion, leaving the cepage to age 15 months in Bulgarian white oak barrels.
What Comes Next
We consider all our subsequent vintages, each with its unique individuality, to be extremely successful, even with the challenges that 2014 brought. Our emphasis lies on red wines but in 2015 we also created an unusual old-style pink wine, resembling a light-bodied red wine, with a saturated colour and peculiar character.
We craft the wines from our own vineyards in the region of Karabunar, Vinogradets and Slavovitsa (Thracian Valley). The grape varieties we have selected are predominantly Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Rubin and Mavrud; and we tend to ferment the chosen grape varieties together rather than apart – namely, cepage. The vinification process and storing of the vintages take place in our micro winery in Katina village, Sofia.
Our yearly production has an increasing tendency, and we are also expanding our varietal structure and diversity. However, we would like to preserve our idea of togetherness, micro production, and at some point also focus on Bulgarian grape varieties.
Ah, that first attempt. Beginner’s luck, they say. Well, we didn’t have it.
Looking back, it seems an overstatement to call that beverage wine, but we remain critical of ourselves even today.
The outcome was expected – after all, we lacked knowledge and experience, yet we were passionate and curious.
2011 – 2012
A two-year journey in search of suitable vineyards, terroir and a landlord, whom we would like to work with.
Our first, according to us, most emblematic vintage in a year of a phenomenally good harvest. We managed to craft a wine, which nearly ten years later still makes us believe in the idea, which ignited our spark in the first place. We wish we still had all the bottles from that year.
And as things in life happen “coincidentally”, in that same manner we found what we were looking for – a great vineyard, landlord, and a clear and honest relationship with him. A reason good enough to make us believe and move forward despite the lack of experience.
Perhaps the most phenomenal vintage up till now, although each one is different and unique. A marvelous year for the vines and their fruit.
We worked solely with Cabernet and, for the first time, produced a more significant amount – 250 bottles. Meanwhile, outside the cellar we were buried in books day and night.
..or the so called agricultural and wine disaster.
A year with an extreme amount of rain, hail and floods. We couldn’t work with our vineyards in Karabunar because the hail destroyed everything, but we managed to find high-quality grapes from the region of Harmanli (Southeastern Bulgaria), which survived and thrived despite the ‘poor’ year. That was maybe the year when we affirmed our belief that we can sustainably make wine even in challenging agricultural years.
First experiment with rosé, claret style. Longer skin-contact led to a thick, saturated rosé with an intense fruitiness and distinct notes of strawberries, sour cherries, raspberries and geranium. We also experimented with our red wine and left it to age in oak barrels for twenty-four months.
As our curiosity kept growing, so did the need to expand our wine cellar. During this year we did a main reconstruction and renovation, alongside crafting one of our most favourite vintages to this day.
We maintained the production quantity and continued our experiments with longer aging in oak barrels for the red. The rosé was still more of a traditional style, yet with shorter skin-contact in search of a finer, more exquisite taste and aroma.
The year when we had decided not to make wine – the sun had burnt a major part of the vineyard, leaving the grapes dry and raisined. Despite all this, we found ourselves with grapes once again from another vineyard owner – mostly Merlot, which led to a whole new experiment with an 80/20 cepage blend with predominantly Merlot and a small amount of Cabernet Sauvignon. In the spirit of this year and its more subtle nature, we aged the wine for only nine months in contrast to our heavily oaked previous vintages.
..is a good year.
The first more refined rosé. Our red wine is almost entirely Cabernet Sauvignon with 12 months aging in oak.
And as every other year, our cellar welcomes new barrels from Bulgarian white oak, and all fermentation tanks are replaced.
The year when we purchased land in order to plant our own vines. The year when we purchased the main vineyard, which we’ve been working with since 2012. The year when we significantly increased our production.
A steady unfolding and increase of our potential and capacity, whilst preserving the idea of togetherness, micro production, high quality, and keeping with our founding principles.
We continue with our signature style and established direction, intending to soon add local grape varieties, and also focusing on planting our own vines.
Our focus remains on red varieties but we are curious to experiment with whites and dessert wines.