History & Tradition

The brandy or the rakia is the most typical Bulgarian beverage but only few know that the brandy makers from Karnobat had been the first to learn how to boil it properly. The proof that the first rakia houses have sprung precisely in the lands around present-day Karnobat is provided by the chronicles of the Persian scholar and historian, Al-Idrisi. He reports how the recipe for the beverage was brought home by the Arab traders and travelers in the mid-14 century. At that time, Karnobat was famous administrative and commercial center. During the annual Trade and Crafts Fair, the town was visited by a group of Arab traders. Driven by a desire to sell their copper cauldrons, they trained a few vine-growers and winemakers from Karnobat to prepare grape distillate from the grape that used to grow abundantly in these places." Later, in their travel notes, the Persian merchants recounted about the carefully maintained Karnobat”s vineyards planted with Muscat, Rkatsiteli, Dimyat, June Blanc, Muskat etc. Over the centuries, those grapes were established as the typical brandy sorts. Seven centuries later those were used in the recipes for the brandies produced by "Vinprom Karnobat": "Karnobat grape brandy", "Karnobat Muscat" and "Karnobat Special Selection".

Dozens of foreign travelers - Germans, Englishmen, Frenchmen, Poles and Austro-Hungarians, who travelled passed through Bulgaria between the XV and XIX centuries, testified on the lively trade in wines and spirits, which was practiced in Karnobat. In their travel notes, they described how market days in Karnobat used to attract thousands of people from all over the Ottoman Empire to buy the famous brandy from the local vine-growers. Even then, the written historical sources mention the "Brandy from Karnobat", "Karnobatskata rakia", the "Brandy made in Karnobat. These facts are reflected in the folklore and in the songs of the local people.

In the region of Karnobat the vine-growing traditions date for centuries and the brandy and wine making is an integral part of the history and lifestyle of the local population. The unique combination of fertile soils and favorable climate, and the abundance of high-quality grapes make the vine-growers from Karnobat the greatest and most skillful producers. The workmanship in winemaking is proved by the rich historical and archaeological heritage of the region. The excavations of the numerous Thracian mounds near present-day Karnobat are full with ceramic red statues bearing the image of the wine god Dionysus. Several centuries later, the magnificent medieval fortress "Markeli" was erected in these lands. According to the ancient chronicles, it was transformed into a real protector of the wines created by the Karnobat masters.