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From the mid-1970s until the mid1980s the Bulgarian wine industry flourished. The first intimation of change came in 1984, when President Gorbachev of the USSR took the first of his measures to restrict the alcohol intake of the Soviet citizens; aimed primarily at vodka, this nevertheless affected all Comecon wine-exporting countries. Bulgaria's exports of wine to the USSR fell from 25 million cases to 14 million cases in a single year, and then to 8.3 million cases the next year. The result was a massive vine uprooting programme, combined with restrictive measures like a freeze on the price of grapes: nearly half of Bulgaria's vineyards were destroyed, and some of the rest were neglected. There has been some replanting since, particularly of Chardonnay, but in 1990 production of wine was 20 million cases, down from 50 million in 1985.

In 1989 the Communist government fell and in 1990 the wine industry was liberalized - at 36 hours' notice. In 1991 the Law of Restitution was passed, which sought to restore land to those who could prove family ownership prior to 1947. Most of the vineyards were then quickly transferred to private hands. No change in the use of the land is permitted for but the five years, but the law cannot enforce proper care of vineyards, and the new owners may live in the cities and be unable to look after their nee acquisitions, or they may just not be interested in viticulture Privatization for the wineries was more gradual.

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