Kukeri Wines source grapes from some of the most unique vineyards in Napa Valley and Sonoma County. "We treat that fruit as gently as possible, crafting small lots of quality wines that display the complexity, power, finesse, and specific terroir of Cabernet Sauvignon grown in Napa Valley, and Pinot Noir from Petaluma Gap, Los Carneros and Russian River Valley."
Every wine has its own history and story. Stories are made to be shared. Wine is made to be shared. We want to share it with you the story of Kukeri Wines.
Kukeri refers to a pagan 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. The festival is replete with mystical symbolism, steeped as it is in a tradition representing the cycle of life, death, and rebirth.
Their costumes cover most of the body and include decorated masks of animals and large bells attached to the belt.
The fearsome animal looking masks (originally representing the goat) worn by the Kukeri often have hinged jaws that can be snapped open and shut, as well as horns which may be real or just wooden. Sometimes these masks have two sides, one representing good and the other evil, reflecting the balance of these forces in nature. The masks are believed to drive away malevolent spirits, and once donned cannot be removed for the rest of the day. Quite a challenge considering how heavy they must be!
The Kukeri also add various other symbolic articles to their horns such as tassels, ivy (which is sacred to Dionysus), basil (an herb which signifies love in some cultures) and feminine beads and ribbons.
Today’s Kukeri tradition is alive and well, and now is practiced by men and women of all ages.
The dance of the masked people is a mystic unity of rhythm, sound, and color. They move in special rhythmic steps. They fill the air with the sounds of their bells and of whispered blessings for prosperity.