This is a story about two Bulgarian lawyers and their passion for wine. It was a hobby at first, going around Bulgaria and buying wine from small producers. Then this hobby grew and took the family on a wine adventure through the picturesque countryside of France and Italy. And it was there when ‘the apple hit them on the head’ and the idea for constructing and running an enterprise worthy of the songs of Orpheus sprung. Fast-forward a couple of years and, voila! Maryan Winery. The winery is run by the Ivanov family, which I happen to be a part of, together with their close friend and chief winemaker, Stefan Choranov.
I remember the first harvest in 2011. It can be summed up in two words. Confusion and enthusiasm. There was this feeling of euphoria when the first grapes arrived and then the shock when the only light source- at that time- stopped working. We hardly knew what we were doing but at the same time each and every one of us had a different suggestion (and the right one of course) on how things should be done.
Amazing thing, enthusiasm. It may keep you up all night, but you will still be fresh in the morning. In the case of my father, Ilia, who got up at four in the morning the day after the first grapes arrived and with his own hands moved over three tons of caskets inside the production area. This, of course, took him a few of hours but when he was done he was radiating with happiness and you could see his restless spirit, ready for work.
Interesting observation – when you have your own business endeavour, and everyone around you is involved, the motivation to get out of bed is very different to the one, when working for someone else.
My part of the journey? Since I am studying Marketing Management at Edinburgh Napier University, I mostly help out with the business during the summer months. This involves developing and implementing different marketing campaigns and when needed, help with production. Although based in Scotland, the luck of the Irish is with me, as I am also present for the toughest task throughout the whole year – the tasting of 56 red wine barrel samples and deciding on the blends!
Tradition continues and this year will be the 6th harvest for the winery. Although five years have passed, the enthusiasm has not changed a bit. We all help, no matter where we are. It is a great venture that I am looking forward to joining full time in the future. Be it as a simple worker in the production or as a marketing manager, but most likely – both. As I was once told, in a family business you have no choice but to become a master of everything.
Author ~ Vladimir Ivanov