Greece

Greece

64000
vineyard hectares
9
regions
subregions
1200
wineries
about this region

The Greek wine industry is a captivating tapestry of ancient traditions, indigenous grape varieties, and a contemporary resurgence. Nestled amidst sun-drenched landscapes, Greece's vineyards boast a rich terroir that breathes life into its wines. From the iconic Assyrtiko of Santorini to the robust Agiorgitiko of Nemea, the diversity of Greek grapes is a testament to the country's winemaking heritage.

Revitalized by passionate vintners, the Greek wine scene has undergone a remarkable transformation in recent years. Winemakers embrace innovation while honoring time-honored techniques, resulting in a harmonious fusion of old and new. With meticulous craftsmanship and sustainable practices, they cultivate vineyards that reflect the unique character of the land.

Greek wines captivate the senses with their distinct personalities. Crisp whites exude minerality, revealing the briny essence of the Aegean Sea. Bold reds unveil layers of dark fruit, entwined with the ancient soil's whispers. Aromas of wild herbs, citrus blossoms, and sun-kissed Mediterranean fruits dance on the nose, inviting exploration and discovery.

Embracing authenticity, Greek wines celebrate their indigenous grape varieties, unlocking a world of flavors waiting to be savored. Whether exploring the sun-soaked islands or the rugged mainland, each bottle tells a story woven with passion, heritage, and the pursuit of excellence.

The Greek wine industry is a dynamic force, enticing wine lovers worldwide to embark on a sensory journey through a land where history and innovation flow harmoniously in every glass.

Associations

In Greece, numerous grape varieties are cultivated, producing a diverse range of wines. The most planted grape varieties can vary depending on the region, but here are some of the commonly grown grapes in Greece, categorized by colour:

Red Grapes:

  1. Agiorgitiko: This grape variety is primarily cultivated in the Nemea region of the Peloponnese. It produces full-bodied red wines with rich flavors and often exhibits notes of red fruit, spices, and herbs.
  2. Xinomavro: Widely grown in the northern part of Greece, particularly in the regions of Naoussa and Amyndeon, Xinomavro is a versatile grape variety. It produces complex, age-worthy red wines with high acidity, firm tannins, and flavours of dark fruits and earthy undertones.
  3. Mavrodaphne: Primarily grown in the Peloponnese region, Mavrodaphne is used to produce both dry and sweet fortified wines. The grape has dark skin and imparts flavors of dried fruits, chocolate, and spices.

White Grapes:

  1. Assyrtiko: This is one of Greece's most renowned white grape varieties, mainly grown on the island of Santorini. Assyrtiko wines are known for their high acidity, mineral character, and vibrant citrus flavors. They can be produced both in dry and sweet styles.
  2. Moschofilero: Cultivated mainly in the Peloponnese, Moschofilero is used to produce aromatic white wines. It offers floral aromas, crisp acidity, and flavors of rose petals, citrus, and spices.
  3. Roditis: This grape variety is grown in various regions of Greece, including the Peloponnese and Central Greece. Roditis wines are typically light-bodied with refreshing acidity, and they showcase flavors of green apple, citrus, and herbs.

These are just a few examples of the many grape varieties grown in Greece. The country has a rich viticultural heritage and a diverse range of indigenous grape varieties, offering a wide selection of wines to explore.

Greek wines offer a diverse range of styles, that vary significantly from region to region, showcasing the country's unique grape varieties, terroir, and winemaking traditions. Here are some of the different types of Greek wines:

  1. Assyrtiko: Assyrtiko is a white grape variety primarily cultivated on the island of Santorini. It produces dry, crisp, and mineral-driven wines with high acidity. Assyrtiko wines often display citrus flavors, saline notes, and a distinct volcanic character.
  2. Agiorgitiko: Agiorgitiko, also known as St. George, is a red grape variety commonly grown in the Nemea region of the Peloponnese. It yields medium to full-bodied red wines with rich fruit flavors, moderate acidity, and smooth tannins. Agiorgitiko can be crafted into both dry and sweet styles.
  3. Xinomavro: Xinomavro is a red grape variety mainly found in northern Greece, particularly in the regions of Naoussa and Amyndeon. It produces complex and age-worthy wines with high acidity, firm tannins, and flavors of red fruits, tomatoes, olives, and spices.
  4. Moschofilero: Moschofilero is a fragrant white grape variety grown primarily in the Peloponnese. It creates aromatic wines with floral and citrus aromas, crisp acidity, and a refreshing character. Moschofilero is often crafted into dry, aromatic whites.
  5. Retsina: Retsina is a traditional Greek wine style made by adding small amounts of resin from Aleppo pine trees to the must during fermentation. It results in a unique wine with a resinous aroma and crisp acidity. Retsina is typically made from the Savatiano grape variety.
  6. Malagousia: Malagousia is an aromatic white grape variety that nearly went extinct but has experienced a revival. It produces wines with exotic floral aromas, tropical fruit flavors, and a medium to full body. Malagousia wines are crafted into dry and occasionally off-dry styles.
  7. Mavrodaphne: Mavrodaphne is a black grape variety used to produce both fortified and unfortified wines. It is commonly grown in the Peloponnese and produces wines with intense flavors of dried fruits, spices, and sometimes chocolate. Mavrodaphne can be used to make sweet, fortified dessert wines.

These are just a few examples of the diverse range of Greek wines. The country boasts numerous other grape varieties and unique regional styles, making it an exciting and rewarding wine-producing nation to explore.

History of the Region

The history of wine in Greece is deeply intertwined with the country's rich cultural heritage, stretching back thousands of years. Here is an overview of the history of Greek wine by period:

Ancient Times (3000 BCE - 146 BCE):

  • Viticulture and winemaking in Greece have ancient roots dating back to the Bronze Age (around 3000 BCE).
  • Wine played a significant role in Greek society, culture, and religion. It was consumed during banquets, religious ceremonies, and everyday life.
  • Greek city-states, such as Athens and Sparta, had established laws and regulations related to wine production and trade.
  • Wine was exported to other Mediterranean civilizations, contributing to its spread and influence.

Hellenistic and Roman Period (146 BCE - 476 CE):

  • The Hellenistic period saw the expansion of Greek winemaking and trade throughout the Mediterranean under the influence of Alexander the Great and his successors.
  • The Romans later conquered Greece and adopted Greek winemaking techniques and grape varieties. Greek wines became popular throughout the Roman Empire.
  • The poet and philosopher, Pliny the Elder, praised the quality and diversity of Greek wines in his writings.

Byzantine Era (476 CE - 1453 CE):

  • During the Byzantine Empire, the production and consumption of wine continued, although with some restrictions due to religious influence.
  • The Byzantine monks played a crucial role in preserving viticultural knowledge and cultivating vineyards, as they were the keepers of winemaking traditions.

Ottoman Rule (1453 CE - 1821 CE):

  • Under Ottoman rule, wine production in Greece faced challenges due to Muslim restrictions on alcohol consumption.
  • However, some regions, such as the Aegean islands and the Monastic State of Mount Athos, maintained viticulture and produced wine for religious and local consumption.

Modern Era (1821 CE - Present):

  • Following Greece's independence from the Ottoman Empire, there was a revival of the Greek wine industry.
  • The late 19th and early 20th centuries saw the replanting of vineyards and the modernization of winemaking techniques.
  • The establishment of winemaking cooperatives and the introduction of international grape varieties influenced the industry.
  • In recent decades, there has been a resurgence of interest in indigenous grape varieties, organic farming, and quality-driven winemaking. Greek wines have gained international recognition and continue to evolve, embracing both tradition and innovation.

Throughout its history, Greek wine has endured challenges, undergone transformations, and retained its cultural significance. Today, Greece is celebrated for its unique grape varieties, diverse terroir, and a thriving wine industry that combines ancient traditions with modern practices.

Regions and Subregions

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