Grape growing and wine production have a long history in Bulgaria, dating back to the times of the Thracians. The temperate continental climate in the area and the favourable distribution of precipitation are good premises for the developed red wine growing in the lowlands of Upper Thrace. The region includes the central part of the Valley, as well as parts of the Sakar mountain. Mavrud, a famous local wine, as well as Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Muscatel and Pamid are grown. The Balkan Mountains serve to block the cold winds blowing from the plains of Russia, and the region to the south of the Balkans, the valley drained by the Maritsa River, enjoys a Mediterranean climate, with mild, rainy winters and warm, dry summers.