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Napa Valley AVA

Producing high quality, small-lot wines from sub-appellations within Napa Valley.

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

Petar Kirilov is Bulgarian by birth and holds a masters degree in winemaking from Bulgaria’s premier vinification school, the University of Food Technologies located in the City of Plovdir. After graduating in 2003, California beckoned to Kirilov and the young entrepreneur jumped at the chance to land in the hallowed grounds of Napa Valley. He first secured an internship with the venerable Truchard Vineyards that lasted the next two years. Then, another opportunity allowed him the chance to join the high-tech 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 forwarding to 2013, Peter 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.”

It was Kirilov’s success at other wineries, especially Meadowcroft, that prompted him to think about his own wine label. He wanted to do something to honor his native country and tell people about Bulgaria’s history and culture, which is why he named the winery ‘Kukeri,’ which refers to a traditional Bulgarian pagan ritual that originated more than 8,000 years ago. The ritual centered around the God Dionysus who was always associated with wine, fertility and rebirth. It was performed by men who danced around to scare away evil spirits, as well as to provide a good harvest, health, fertility and happiness. Kirilov started his venture in 2010 with some Cabernet Sauvignon from Mt. Veeder, and finally released his first wines in 2013.

In 2016, Kirilov decided to launch a second brand, Petar, within his Kukeri Wines umbrella. The idea behind Petar is to produce high quality, small-lots of only two to four barrels of Cabernet Sauvignon, from sub appellations within Napa Valley. This month’s featured wine is actually the first release from the coveted Petar collection.

Petar Kirilov only produces around 500 cases of wine per year and enjoys being a boutique winery, at a size that allows him to control his quality. We salute Petar on his outstanding accomplishments and the unbridled success of his impressive wines. We hope our Platinum Plus Wine Club members enjoy!