Melnik is famous for its exceptional wine from Shiroka Melnishka. This is an old red grape variety that can only grow in south-western Bulgaria near Melnik, Sandanski and Petrich in the valley of the Struma River. All attempts to be transferred to other regions of Bulgaria or abroad were unsuccessful. This makes it a unique variety. And of course authentic Shiroka Melnishka wine can be tried only in Melnik.
Melnik wine has a rich taste and aroma with a typical piquant tartness. The color is deep garnet with ruby shades. The aroma is intense, dominated by ripe cherry tones of wild berries. For mature wines aroma which has tones of tobacco and leather is very typical. The wine is suitable with beef, lamb and pork as well as separately. Serving temperature is 15-18 degrees. It is recommended to be served in a classic glass for red wine.
History of Melnik wine goes far in the past. Wineries of the town are known far beyond Bulgaria. Wine production here has been developed for hundreds of years and wine production secrets are handed over from generation to generation.
The most popular places for wine tasting in Melnik are Kordopulova house and "Shestaka`s" place. Kordopulova house has its own cellar and a 150-meter underground tunnel for wine storage which is carved in the rock and can accommodate up to 300 tons of wine. The tunnel has special channels and ventilation system for proper wine storage. Tourists can descend to the underground and to see with their own eyes the biggest barrel that can hold 12.5 tons of wine. There you can also taste and buy the famous Melnik wine.
Another place for wine tasting belongs to Manolevi (Shestatsite) family who have their own history of winemaking. They are called "Shestatsite" because their grandfather Iliya had six fingers on his right hand and now Mitko Shestaka also has six fingers on his left hand. (Translator's remark: "shest" means "six" in Bulgarian language). In the cellar they offer dry and semi-dry red wine from Shiroka Melnishka and dry white wine from 6-7 varieties of white Bulgarian grapes. The wine is completely natural (no preservatives) and is produced according to traditional recipes of their family. Working hours of the winery: from 9:00 AM until dark. More information about the cellar can be found on www.shestaka.com
Besides these two remarkable wineries you can find wine tasting or taverns that offers traditional local dishes and Melnik wine almost everywhere in Melnik. So the town is definetely one of the mandatory places to visit for real wine lovers.
According to local inhabitants in 1915 here Yane Sandanski passes by with his horse before being ambushed and killed on his way to Gotse Delchev.