Startup: New wine brand named after ancient tradition

Startup: New wine brand named after ancient tradition


A new wine brand has been launched that combines an old tradition and mystical symbolism.

Called Kukeri Wines, its first release is a Mt. Veeder (Napa Valley) 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon. The brand’s concept, which has directed its striking label design, is to highlight ancient tradition using the original artwork.

The brand is the brainchild of the winemaker Petar Kirilov, a founder of, who wanted to create a label to tell the story of old Thracian tradition.

“Kukeri” is an ancient Bulgarian ritual that may date back as far as 8,000 years to the ancient Thracians – and to Dionysus, the god associated with wine, fertility, and rebirth. It’s performed by men dressed in colorful hand-made costumes, wearing a bold and scary masks as well as large bells (chanove) tied around their waists. The masks symbolize the good and the bad, which co-exist in our world. The Kukers dance around to scare away the evil spirits, to celebrate the beginning of the spring, and to express their wishes for good harvest, good health, land fertility, and happiness.

Petar decided to incorporate into the label design an original artwork crafted by a well-known Bulgarian artist, Anatoly Stankulov.

In a true tradition, the Kukeri wine label explodes with rich and vibrant colors, each with a symbolic meaning.  Red symbolizes sun, fire and the fertility of nature; Black is the color for Mother Earth; White is the symbol of water and light.

“By developing a brand with a name that combines both old tradition and mystical symbolism,” Kirilov explains, “We have created a unique wine which represents all the good things happening to us every day.”

The first release is 50 cases of 100% Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 vintage from a single vineyard in Mount Veeder, Napa Valley and will be priced at $79.00.

Kirilov’s vision is to develop Kukeri Wines to become a boutique brand, which will produce small lots high-quality wines from Napa and Sonoma County.

About the Winemaker:
Petar Kirilov, founder & winemaker of Kukeri Wines grew up in Bulgaria and graduated from the prestigious University of Food Technologies in 2002 with a Master's degree in Winemaking. He began his professional career as a Beverage Technologist in a Bulgarian distillery. In 2003, Petar moved to California and secured a winemaking internship with Truchard Vineyards in Napa Valley. In 2005, Petar joined the hi-tech wine company Vinovation as Winemaker, where he became involved in numerous research and development wine projects. In 2008 Petar joined Meadowcroft Wines and Foyt Family Wines as a winemaker to oversee the production of high quality wines which have won numerous awards.

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