Won the Winemaker Fantasy contest with her dream to make Bulgarian wine world-famous
- Rumi is one of the most experienced winemakers in a region of Bulgaria that's been making wine for 3000 years!
- But the Melnik region and its sumptuous Melnik grape isn't world-famous (yet!). So Rumi entered our Winemaker Fantasy contest and pitched her dream to put Bulgaria on the map!
- Rumi's passion is contagious and Bulgaria looks like a fairy tale kingdom - Follow her and get whisked away by every exhilarating update while she makes her dream wines!
Rumi Stoilova's Story
Rumyana Stoilova, or Rumi, as her friends call her, was born in Blagoevgrad, Struma River Valley, southwest Bulgaria. This region is famous for its winemaking traditions, which date back to 3000 years ago, and Rumi always knew that she will be involved with wine. She graduated with a Bachelor in Biochemistry and a Master in Viticulture and Oenology from Victor Segalen University, Bordeaux, France.
She worked as a winemaker in two of France’s top wine producing regions for three years – first in Chateau de Rochemorin, Pessac-Leognan, then at Chateau Haut Breton Larigaudiere in Margaux, Medoc. After gaining this valuable experience, Rumi returned to Bulgaria because she wanted to work in small boutique wineries with local grapes. First, she was the winemaker at Marash winery, Sliven region, central Bulgaria. There she worked with international grape varieties and aromatic whites. Since 2012, Rumi has been the winemaker at Villa Melnik Winery, Melnik region, Southwest Bulgaria.
For her, this is a return to the region where she was born, the Struma River Valley, and a chance to work with her beloved indigenous grapes. At Villa Melnik Winery, Rumi is vinifies local varieties such as Broad-leaved Melnik vine, Melnik 55, Mavrud, Ruen, Keratsuda, etc. Rumi’s winemaking style is completely aligned with the vision of the family who owns Villa Melnik – to produce minimal intervention, honest wines that truly reflect the Melnik terroir, with an emphasis on the local grape varieties. Rumi’s latest achievements have been two fantastic natural wines: an orange wine and a dessert wine, both from local grapes. Villa Melnik’s wines have received several medals at international competitions thanks to the talents and hard work of Rumi and her fantastic team: Gold at Mundus Vini, Gold at Concours Mondial de Bruxelles, Gold at SMV Canada, Silver at Decanter, Silver at the Balkans International Wine Competition. Two of these wines are currently in Bulgaria’s Top 50 wines for 2015. Rumi was also nominated for Best Winemaker of Bulgaria for 2015 by the Union of Oenologists in Bulgaria.
Moreover, Rumi is the best dancer of traditional Bulgarian folk dances you’ve ever seen! She is an avid skier and is fluent in English and French.
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