In this interview Georgi Mihov meets you with Jordan Jelev wine label designer and calligrapher.
How did you get into wine? Is there something that has provoked/motivated you?
... as far as I recall it was in 1998 when I created my first wine labels for Black Sea Gold. I was commissioned to create brand names and labels for two wine ranges so that was the reason to get in this industry and this is how Regalis and Nobilitas wines were born straight from my computer! Then, realizing the potential and beauty of this craft I somehow decided to continue on this road and design more and more wine labels till now when this is something I do 24 hours every day.
Is there any particular person that has been your inspiration?
Not exactly a person - I have always been interested from West European Renaissance and from West European culture as a whole, though to be hones in present days I find more and more inspiration in our own history and culture, speaking mostly about the Thracians. For example my latest work - The Bulgarian Treasure wine has been totally influenced by the Thracian culture in almost every single detail. Meanwhile I have also discovered for myself that Europe was deeply influenced by the Thracian culture so I guess since I like them both, I'll definitely go back to our roots.
Do you have favorite grape variety and why?
I can't say I do, not because I don't have favorite grape, but because every grape and every wine therefore is somehow a reflection of particular mood or emotional state. So I love wine that fits my mood - that is my recipe.
What are your expectations regarding wine trends in next 1-2 years in Bulgaria?
Without any doubt - expanding wine industry, better and better wines (hopefully in limited batches), growing number of small "boutique" wineries, special attention to traditional Bulgarian varieties. This is the short list - I believe this might take a little more time than only 1-2 years, but at least it is a good horizon. It is also quite visible that more and more Bulgarian wine lovers prefer rose and white wines.
Where do you see “Bulgarian wine” in next 10 years on the world wine map?
Speaking generally, I believe in near future Bulgaria will become one of the most exotic places for quality wines in the world. We have everything - from remarkable terroirs and unique regional grapes to talented winemakers and top level wineries.
If you have to recommend just 1 Bulgarian winery, which would that be and why?
That is a tricky question - there can't be only one because in most of the cases two different wineries cannot be fairly compared. What I definitely see is a lot of hidden potential in almost every single winery in Bulgaria. Aiming at high quality wines is a long and difficult process and as long as it goes wineries will have to dig deeper and do the best they could to make more sophisticated and distinguished quality wines. By the way I am getting familiar with the wines of Balar winery which I now consider as a rare finding among Bulgarian wineries.
What is your everyday wine?
I usually drink wine for dinner which often means I am really tired. I think I prefer reds - light and elegant, easy to drink, not overdosed with flavors and aromas. Wines that could be easily paired with a wide range of food. When I have a special occasion it is always different. I love to stick to a particular wine for a long time and gradually discover all its beauty.
What is your dream wine no matter country that you want to try?
A dream wine sounds more like a wine that you will never have - it will stay in your dreams. In real life I don't dream of wines, but I really adore a distinguished premium wine that is so unique that you will always recognize it and never forget it.
Describe „Bulgarian wine" using only 3 words
Getting better & better.
Jordan Jelev "the Labelmaker" is world famous wine label designer and calligrapher born and living in Bulgaria.
The Labelmaker is noted for his work with award winning wine labels, although his portfolio spans all areas of graphic design. His wine labels were featured in Computer Arts Projects, Digital Arts, Labels and Labeling, Signcafe magazine, Plus wine, Monsa, Gestalten, Thedieline.com, Lovelypackage.com etc. Along with many national prizes Labelmaker has been awarded Gold and Bronze medal from San Francisco International Wine Competition for his Stallion Wines of Angelus Estate S.A.
He resides with his family in Varna, Bulgaria.