11/01/2021 Kristina Nigohossian Gallery

Clients of Unique Estates: At the house of wine

A piece of French sophistication in the heart of Sofia, where the main character is wine – the new home of Katarzyna Estate is La Maison de Katarzyna wine & tapas

Photography by Ivan Bonev

‘Wine is sharing, pleasurable moments and celebrating life. It is always present at happy gatherings with family and friends and brings joy.’ In 2020, a year like no other, we remember of this quote by actor and writer Dan Aykroyd as we cross the threshold of the new home of the Katarzyna Estate winery in Sofia. Set in an aristocratic old house near the Five Corners intersection, it has become the administrative heart of a company at a time when the global health crisis is slamming down on many businesses. However, when you keep up with the times and have a clear vision for the future, change is healthy, not frightening.

‘In the past half year, I have come to realise a lot of things that I didn't quite notice before. I realised we need a place that would bring us closer to people. A place where our customers and partners can com and taste our wines, try some food along with them. A place where we can talk more with customers and partners. With the pandemic, I fully rebooted the company,’ says Tsvetelina Nikolova, Managing Director of Katarzyna Estate.

However, finding such a property in the heart of Sofia is not an easy task. But Tsvetelina knows who can handle it. ‘I called Unique Estates and literally a few hours later I had to decide whether I wanted the property or not. I confirmed that I would rent it without having seen it, because I trust the choice of Unique Estates.’ Fortune smiled for a second time at Katarzyna Estate because the owner of the house knows and likes our wines. ‘His concept of the place coincided with ours,’ Tsvetelina says.

‘When some of our clients first came here, they exclaimed, ‘This is your soul.’ Indeed, the place is not just an office, it reflects the very essence of the company. Because the ground floor houses

La Maison de Katarzyna wine & tapas, a representative wine shop carrying the whole range of the Katarzyna brand, but also a wine bar, a space for meetings and events, a place where one can feel the aristocratic spirit of wine. In a cozy atmosphere, the place offers all of the Katarzyna Estate wines (even those that are not commercially present), in combination with interesting tapas made of quality Spanish, Italian and Bulgarian produce. La Maison de Katarzyna wine & tapas is a suitable place both for business meetings and for meeting friends in one’s leisure time and after office hours. Connoisseurs of meat delicatessen can enjoy a special selection of high-quality sausages, as well as several types of Jamón Ibérico. The Iberic pig is known for its diet and its specific way of breeding and ancestry which account for the quality of meat that is superior to all other pig breeds. The variety of tapas also includes a superb selection of salchicon, chorizo, lomo, jerky and ham. The hallmark of Bulgarian presence is the jerky from the village of Sturgel, an irresistible meat delicacy made of 100% beef of the Black Angus breed, produced at the Angus Farm.

For the aficionados of light tapas, La Maison de Katarzyna wine & tapas has sets of gourmet bruschettas with a wide variety of toppings.

Guests can also enjoy interesting cocktails, a special selection of teas, Japanese matcha, superb coffees and other high-quality products that match the established standard of the KATARZYNA wines.

The appearance and packaging of the products are of utmost importance. Customers will be able to choose among luxury packaging and gift boxes. ‘Because the little details make us happy,’ Tsvetelina says. One reason for joy is that Bulgarians increasingly appreciate and believe in local wines. Soon the construction of a hotel on the grounds of the Katarzyna Estate’ winery will begin. ‘When you're surrounded by 360 degrees of vineyards and you see how everything is done by hand, how people talk about wine with love, how they taste it with love, then you can't help but fall in love forever.’ This is exactly how Tsvetelina Nikolova herself sounds. The hotel and the winery will offer not only accommodation and tastings in the midst of the magnificent views at the foot of the Eastern Rhodopes, but also a place to learn more about wine, to be inspired by its rich culture and history.

‘Wine is the nobility of spirit, love, art,’ Nikolova says. ‘Wine makes people happy’, Fleming says. We believe both of these claims, and we already know where we can experience them live.