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Kukeri Wines

Stags Leap District AVA

kukeriwines.com

Bulgarian winemaker crafts small lots of Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinot Noir from some of the most unique vineyards in Napa Valley and Sonoma County.


It is doubtful that anyone in the California wine industry has a more colorful background than the owner of Kukeri Wines, one Petar Kirilov.

Kirilov, 38 is Bulgarian by birth and holds a master’s degree in winemaking (2002) from Bulgaria’s premier vinification school, the University of Food Technologies located in the City of Plovdir.

The following year (2003), California beckoned to Kirilov and the young entrepreneur jumped at the chance and landed in the hallowed grounds of Napa Valley. He was able to secure an internship with the venerable Truchard Vineyards that lasted the next two years. Another opportunity allowed Kirilov the chance to join the hightech wine company Vinovation, Inc. in Sebastopol, Sonoma County. This job involved a number of research and development projects and was followed by winemaker positions at Meadowcroft Wines (Sonoma) and Foyt Family Wines (Napa and Sonoma).

Fast forward to 2013, and Petar Kirilov decided to venture on his own and the first Kukeri Wines officially saw the light of day.

“I had grown up in a small Bulgarian town and my family had always made wine like many other families in the area,” Kirilov recalled. “There was no modern equipment and some of the vintages were better than others. I learned how to make wine at a very early age and have always considered wine to be in my blood.”

His numerous successes with Meadowcroft’s wine portfolio caused him to think about his own wine label.

“I wanted to do something to honor my native country and tell people about our history and culture,” he continued. “I had access to some of the marvelous fruit from Mt. Veeder that I feel produces some of the finest Cabernet Sauvignon in Napa Valley. I started in 2010 and was finally able to release my first wines (50 cases) in 2013. The Mt. Veeder fruit is so strong and intense that the wine needed 30 to 36 months in wood to develop.”

The story behind the name ‘Kukeri’ is worth telling. Kukeri refers to a traditional Bulgarian pagan ritual that originated as far back as 8,000 years ago to the ancient Thracians. The ritual centered on the God Dionysus who was always associated with wine, fertility and rebirth. It was performed between Christmas and Lent by costumed men who walked around and danced to scare away evil spirits as well as to provide a good harvest, health, fertility and happiness. Kukeri is performed by single men as a way of ending the old year and beginning the new while awakening nature for new life.

During the Kukeri ritual, colorful costumes cover most of the body and include decorated masks of animals and large bells are attached to the belt. The masks are scary in nature and imply a protection from the harmful influence of impure powers. The dance moves in special rhythmic steps and the dancers fill the air with sounds of bells and whispered blessings for prosperity. All activity is done at night so as to negate the sun’s presence during the day.

The labels for Kukeri wines feature this fierce and animalistic mask, which has also become the logo for the winery. “I wanted to show everyone just how fantastic this aspect of my Bulgarian culture is,” added Petar Kirilov. “I know the wine inside the bottle is really fine and I wanted to tell the great story of our culture to compliment the wine.”

This year, Kukeri Wines will produce between 500 and 1,000 cases of Cabernet Sauvignon, a Proprietary Red Blend, and Pinot Noir. This is a level Kirilov feels is in keeping with his idea of quality.

“If I remain small, I can control everything. Quality means everything to me and I am happy being a boutique winery. There is some opportunity to grow Kukeri Wines, but it will be gradual when it occurs.”

Petar Kirilov is one of a handful of Bulgarians that are involved in the California wine industry and we salute him on his outstanding accomplishments and the unbridled success of his impressive wines.

We hope our Platinum Wine Club members enjoy this fantastic and rare 100-Point rated Cabernet Sauvignon from Kukeri Wines. Cheers!


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Dear Platinum Wine Club Members,

Picture of Dear <i>Platinum Wine Club</i> Members,

Every wine has a history and a story. Stories are made to be shared, as is wine. We want to share with you the story of Kukeri wines!

We believe that wine should be delicious and enjoyed with any of life’s celebrations. That is why there is always a reason to gather around the table and celebrate the joys of our lives together. We have brought out a very special wine for you from our cellar, and it is guaranteed to make gatherings more memorable!

The Stags Leap District is the Napa Valley’s smallest and most acclaimed sub-appellation. Located along the Silverado Trail, just a few miles north of Napa. The Stags Leap District was named after a legendary story of a courageous stag that eluded hunters by jumping to safety on the jagged cliffs of the Vaca Mountains.

Today, this story lives on through the intensely bold 2018 Kukeri Stags Leap District Cabernet Sauvignon. Earning a perfect 100 Point score, Best of Class, and Double Gold Medal from the prestigious 2020 Sunset International Wine Competition, this epic wine is sure to please! Made from Cabernet Sauvignon grapes grown in the unique mixture of rocky, iron-rich volcanic soils that run along the rugged hillside to the east and gravelly riverbed soils on the western edge of the Stags Leap appellation. A touch of Malbec, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot balance the rich dark fruit of our 2018 Stags Leap Cabernet Sauvignon, adding a vibrancy to its lush mouthfeel, a lingering dry finish and great acidity.

At Kukeri wines, we believe in quality and we look forward to continuing to produce small lot boutique wines that display the complexity, finesse and especially the unique Stags Leap District terroir.

Enjoy with family and friends!

Cheers,

Petar Kirilov,
Founder & Winemaker


Dear Platinum Wine Club Members,

Picture of Dear <i>Platinum Wine Club</i> Members,

Sharing Kukeri wines with family, friends and colleagues is one of our favorite things to do. We believe that wine should be delicious and enjoyed with any of life’s celebrations.

In name and in symbol, Kukeri Wines faithfully represent an ancient Bulgarian tradition that dates back as far as 8,000 years to the Thracians and Dionysus, the god associated with wine, fertility and rebirth. The ritual is performed by men dressed in colorful handmade costumes, wearing bold and scary masks, and large bells (chanove) that are tied around their waists. The masks symbolize the good and the bad which coexist in our world. The Kukeri’s dance to scare away evil spirits, and to celebrate the beginning of the spring and hopes for a good harvest, health, land fertility, and happiness.

That is why there is always a reason to gather around the table and celebrate the joys of our lives together. We have brought out some special wine for you from our cellar, and it is guaranteed to make gatherings more memorable.

The grapes for our 2012 Kukeri Cabernet Sauvignon come from Meadowcroft’s vineyard, located on Mount Veeder at 1,200-foot elevation, with steep slopes, sedimentary clay and volcanic soils that restrict the root growth, producing grapes with small berries and intense fruit flavors. The Cabernet grape selection is close 337. This mountain Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon is a superb candidate for cellaring and should mature well over the next 10 to 15 years. Only 4 barrels produced.

At Kukeri Wines, we believe in quality and we look forward to continuing to produce small lots of boutique wines that display the complexity, finesse and especially the unique Mount Veeder terroir.

Enjoy with family and friends!

Cheers,

Petar Kirilov
Founder & Winemaker