Podcast in English
Text size
Bulgarian National Radio © 2023 All Rights Reserved

Wine creates a passion and forges a bond between people

Boris Borisov, a Bulgarian in California

| updated on 1/11/23 11:54 AM

Wine is a passion, it is love, mastery, but most importantly it is something that should be shared. Guided by this philosophy, Boris Borisov from Veliki Preslav has been fashioning a distinctive style in California’s wine cellars. Customers, on the other hand, who love to create memories around a shared bottle of wine, put their trust in his competence.

During what has gone down in history as the Zhan Videnov winter (1996-1997, the time when Zhan Videnov was prime minister, a period of severe economic and financial crisis and hyperinflation), when people in the country were losing their money and their prospects for the future, Boris chanced upon an American student programme in the field of agriculture and winemaking, and he grabbed the opportunity. In California he started work at a big wine cellar – with a vocabulary of 200 words but big dreams – he started out by cleaning the wastewater tank. “I didn’t have any long-term plans, I just thought it was interesting to go there. Six months later there as an opening in New Zealand because the programme had ended, but there was an option of resuming it the following year. Then I came back to Bulgaria for a bit, and then – back to the US,” Boris Borisov remembers.

He then worked at a string of wine cellars in the famous winemaking regions Sonoma and Napa in California. Meanwhile, he went to college to study winemaking and vineyard management. And had the professional luck of encountering world-famous vine scientist Dr. Andy Walker and of working with him at a big vine nursery in California. As he got to know the wine industry, he worked in a tasting room, as a consultant and an assistant technologist.

Is there anything a Bulgarian expert can teach his American coworkers?

“Maybe hard work, though they are not lazy,” he says. “The wine industry is international – there are a lot of workers who are Mexican, and the managers are from the leading winemaking countries, mostly the US, South Africa and France. Lately, there have been Bulgarian technologists as well. I myself started from the bottom and worked my way up. It is nice to be working with wine because it creates a passion and forges a bond between people. And as a friend, also from Bulgaria, whom I started work with at a small Italian wine cellar once said to me: “The pay is lousy but we have the pleasure of drinking wine that costs thousands of dollars which ordinary people can’t afford. And of making it.”

In the US, Boris Borisov honed the passion for photography from his school years. In the incredibly beautiful Golden State, he has been taking lots of photographs – of Mount Whitney (4,421 m), of Death Valley, with its otherworldly sweeping empty spaces and its barrenness. Being an avid traveler, his new passion is to travel around the US by truck.

Boris Borisov says that in recent years he has been spending more and more time in Bulgaria. In Veliki Preslav, the town where he was born, he loves to take part in historical reenactments organized by the Tradition club. “It’s such a thrill, it is a way to socialize with many people with different interests,” he says. In 20 years’ time, he sees himself mostly here, but he says he will go back to the US from time to time. One thing is certain – wherever he may be, he will be a happy man with an optimistic outlook.

“It is all a question of chance, opportunity and luck,” he adds. “I don’t believe we should have any regrets. People are masters of their own fate, they shouldn’t rely on the government or on any other outside factors. That is what America has taught me - Bulgarians are forever expecting the government to take care of them. People there are more pragmatic, relying most of all on their own efforts – just an interesting comparison between two worlds.”

Interview by Julieta Gerova, BNR-Shumen

Editing by Diana Tsankova

Photos courtesy of Boris Borisov

Listen to the daily news from Bulgaria presented in "Bulgaria Today" podcast, available in Spotify.

More from category

Eva Velikova is the first Bulgarian woman to descend the world’s tallest waterfall

Eva Velikova is the first Bulgarian woman to descend the world’s tallest waterfall – Angel  Falls (Salto Ángel). The whole adventure took neraly 2 weeks in November 2022. Angel Falls is the world’s tallest uninterrupted waterfall, with a total eight..

published on 9/3/23 5:05 AM

Megi Angelova – the Bulgarian voice in foreign movies

You can hear Megi Angelova’s gripping voice in the trailer to the film The Woman King, 2022, in an Indian film, and in many TV Korean and Chinese TV series.  And though she cannot imagine life without music, the talented singer only recorded her first..

published on 8/19/23 8:50 AM

Gabriel from Romania: I know you love Bulgaria, but you should also love keeping it clean!

"My name is Gabriel and I am a Romanian living in London. From time to time we come to Bulgaria. And I have decided to volunteer. I want us to unite people and municipalities and set a personal example. If a Romanian living in..

published on 8/10/23 1:35 PM