Growing up, both of his grandparents were passionate about tending to the family vineyard and making wine; he was raised in an atmosphere where wine was another facet of the table and ultimately, everyday life. Fast-forward some years to when he lived in France, Atanas was exposed to and taught about classic appellations. In 2000 he was certified first level (equivalent to level two today!) Court of Master Sommelier.
Atanas is the wine supervisor for Central Florida and Central East coast Florida. His focus is on French wines, but don’t make the mistake of thinking he doesn’t know anything about wines from the rest of the world. Atanas is extremely knowledgeable in his field, a fact made fairly evident within the first few minutes of talking with him.
“I’ve been around the world four times and I go home every year to Bulgaria.” Atanas has traveled to and even lived in Argentina, Chile, Japan, New Caledonia, Germany, Spain, Italy, Morocco, France, Brazil, Southeast Asia and the Caribbean. It appears, however, that wine is the one thing that makes all those different cultures seem like home.
When prompted on his preferences he says, “I don’t like wines that bluff you—they’re in your face, yet there’s no finish.” Wines that make sense to Atanas include “clean, honest and intensely focused wines…that are shy at first.” But to him, the phrase “favorite wine” doesn’t exist. “Wine comes arm and arm with food. If you want to get buzzed, drink some vodka.” A favorite wine, he emphasizes, should be dictated by the food you are having with it, and even then, there is never a perfect answer.
When asked what a world without wine would look like Atanas says, “put simply, a day without wine is like a day without sun.”