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Meet The Bulgarian Travelling Winemaker, Alexander Ivanov

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19/12/2022 From creating worksheets to making blends, Alexander gives his quick take on his winemaking role.

Bachelor's degree in Insurance and Master in Philosophy from Bulgaria/ Diploma in Viticulture and Winemaking from Spain/ Bachelor's Degree in Winemaking and Viticulture from Bordeaux, Meet Alexander Ivanov.

Tell us a little bit about yourself

My name is Alexander. I graduated in Winemaking and Viticulture from the oldest wine school in Spain, Escuela de enología y viticulture ‘Félix Jiménez’ in the region of Valencia. Searching for more knowledge I obtained Bachelor`s degree in Viticulture and Enology from École Nationale Supérieure des Sciences Agronomiques de Bordeaux Aquitaine, France. I have been making wine since 2009 and for a long time I have been traveling constantly so far, I have worked for wineries in the following countries and regions: Austria (Wachau), Australia (Tasmania, Riverland, Murray Darling, Mudgee), England (Kent), Germany (Mosel), Spain (Castilla La Mancha, Utiel-Requena), France (Northern Rhone Valley, Bordeaux), Hungary (Tokaj), Portugal (Alentejo) and New Zealand (Marlborough).  Some of the wineries are leading in the sector.  I have gone through all stages of development – from cellar hand to winemaker. The biggest success in my career so far was processing with a team of colleagues 48 000 tons of grapes as a vintage winemaker. Also, I dedicate my spare time to creating content and teaching everything about wine.

Your current role and what does your day look like?

Technical Director and Chief WM. Create worksheets, taste wines, prepare to bottle, make blends, and work with the CEO on strategy, market, the brand sells, wine tourism, wine tastings, etc. Being part of the winemaking team of @cavesaintdesirat during two vintages gave me the unique opportunity to learn more about Syrah and explore the Northern Rhone Valley. We made wines for the most famous wineries in the region. One of the pictures shows how the blend is made with my name on it. The chief winemaker Jean Luc inspired me to become more professional and precise. A lot of fun with the rest of the team and winemakers.

Alexander Ivanov

Image: Alexander Ivanov; Source: Instagram

How do you think a winemaker can help in driving marketing and sales personally?

With his creativity, offering different wines, and creating stories, making the customer feel like a winemaker 

What's your mission?

I want to share my passion and knowledge, to help you expand your comprehension and appreciation of wine and explore the magical processes of winemaking. I will lay the fundamentals in the vineyards, dive deep into the processes in the winery, bottle up all senses and explain how to evaluate the result. Because Wine is a Lifestyle.

How do you think a winemaker can help in driving marketing and sales personally?

Who believes in his capacities and knows his skills. 

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Is anyone practical tip from your side for the growers?

Do you know that by using pheromone, vine growers can prevent the vineyard from pests? One of the most common vineyard threats is the European grapevine moth (Lobesia botrana). This insect attacks the vine in different ways and at different stages of the plant’s growth cycle. During the winter months, it lies dormant beneath the vine’s bark. Between April and May, first-generation adult moths lay eggs on the flower clusters. The resulting larvae will then destroy the flowers. 

Vineyard threats

Image Source: Instagram

In summer when temperatures are warm, they directly attack the grapes, breaking the skin and hollowing out the berries. This allows other unwanted guests, such as the fearsome Botrytis Cinerea, to sneak inside. This cycle is repeated each month two to three times a year. it's not the larva itself that's the problem. Rather, the damage it causes to the grape opens the door to all kinds of viruses. The answer lies in brown, plastic pipes - about seven centimeters long - which are hung in the grapevines every few meters. The devices emit synthetically created female pheromones into the air, creating a cloud of fragrance over the vineyard. The sex pheromones are an important factor in mating in moths. Once the female releases chemicals, it triggers the mate search and the male moths begin their upwind motion toward their potential partner. But with the devices all emitting female pheromones, they trick the males into a fruitless search for sex that ultimately results in death. This hormone is absolutely safe. In fact, it’s nothing more than a reconstituted “smell”.

Your favourite 2-3 wine books?

Wine and war - Charlotte & Peter Fiell; THE WIDOW CLICQUOT: The Story of a Champagne Empire and the Woman Who Ruled It; Judgment of Paris: California vs. France and the Historic 1976 Paris Tasting That Revolutionized Wine

What is the hardest part of a winemaker's job?

The Harvest. It is a challenge only for warriors. Another way how to receive the grape is when the system is under the ground.

Another way how to receive the grape when the system is under the ground

Image Source: Instagram

What do you do when you are not working/making wine?

Enjoying my girl, creating wine content, traveling, doing a lot of sports, eating good food, and drinking different wines

What are the current challenges winemakers are facing according to you?

the climate change, the fashion, and the focus on details, to ensure quality while every harvest is different

What skill or topic you are learning currently in wine and why?

Precision - to be perfect anytime. Microbiology and Chemistry - there is the secret of how to make good wine.

Alexander Ivanov

Image: Alexander Ivanov; Source: Instagram

Who are your top 3 sommeliers whose work you admire?

I admire all of the sommeliers. Thank them, we sell our wines.

Header Image: Alexander Ivanov; Source: Instagram

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