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Published:  23 July, 2008

By Stuart Peskett

The CEO of a leading Bulgarian producer has fiercely countered claims that it cheated its way to a clutch of wine awards. Margo Todorov of Boyar Estates slammed the National Vine and Wine Chamber (NVWC) after the organisation scrapped this year's Golden Rhyton awards ceremony, which forms part of the annual Vinaria trade show in Plovdiv. Boyar won all four of the top categories, and scooped a further nine medals in the still wine categories, but after a commission was appointed by the NVWC to look into the preliminary tasting that took place at the end of January, the chamber decided to abolish all of the top awards this year - and disqualify Boyar in the process. Todorov said: It is really rather depressing to have the NVWC assume that a Bulgarian producer - rather than being capable of making quality wines with the finest fruit from the best terroirs under the direction of an award-winning winemaking team - could not possibly produce so many top-quality wines and must therefore have somehow cheated. Through our commitment to quality in the winery and the vineyard, and our dedication to innovation in terms of both products and packaging, Boyar Estates has secured its position as Bulgaria's number-one wine exporter to the world. In the UK, our wines account for two out of every three bottles of Bulgarian wine sold. A recent publication in the Bulgarian specialist newspaper Cash showed that the turnover of Boyar Estates in 2003 was bigger than that of all the top-10 wine companies in Bulgaria put together.' Yordan Radev, one of the organisers of Vinaria, alleged that for some time other wineries have been expressing doubts that the national wine tasting competitions were fair'. He added that the incident will inevitably mar the reputation of our wines'. Todorov added: The knee-jerk reaction of the National Vine and Wine Chamber, to my mind, is indicative of why Bulgaria is still much maligned as a producer of quality wines in some quarters. If the NVWC does not think one of the leading Bulgarian producers capable of producing award-winning wines, what chance have we of convincing the rest of the world?'