Bulgaria's wine exports could be increased by boosting the respective image-making efforts, according to Plamen Mollov, a former MP and honorary head of the Bulgarian Food and Drinks Industry Association.
"Bulgaria must boost the image of its wine and decide how to position itself on the world wine market. The international competition is becoming increasingly rigorous which makes it essential that Bulgaria should find a niche," Mollov recommended speaking on the Bulgarian National Television Wednesday.
"Wine markets are extremely conservative. What you sell is the tradition. French wine is not better than Bulgarian wine in any way. This is a matter of a long-term policy and image-making efforts," he believes.
Mollov also said that French and Italian wines as well as wine from Chile and Argentina are the major competitors of Bulgarian producers on international markets.
He emphasized the significance of wine for Bulgaria's overall image and for advertising Bulgarian agricultural products.
In his words, Russia remains a market of major importance for the Bulgarian wine industry largely thanks to the fact that since the communist period Bulgaria is known among the Russians as "an exporter of 'oceans of wine'".
Mollov believes that the customs duties on Bulgarian wines in Russia make the otherwise competitive products less attractive, and underscored the importance of the elimination of the tariffs.
He pointed out that wine has been produced in Bulgaria for the past 3 500 years. At present, Bulgaria has 273 firms and companies producing wine.