Greece is

Greece boasts the world’s longest recorded history of winemaking (6,500 years) and is credited with being the first area to develop sophisticated techniques for the cultivation and production of grapes.

The Greek 4th-century BC writer Theophrastus left a detailed record of some of the Greek influences and innovation in the realm of viticulture and grape growing. One important technique was study of vineyard soils and matching them with specific grapevines. Homer wrote that Laertes, father of Odysseus, had over 50 varieties planted in different parts of his vineyard. Another way to control yields for the better concentration of flavors and quality, rather than increased quantity; contemporary economics favored high yields for most crops, and intentionally limiting agricultural output was far from common practice in the ancient world. Theophrastus also detailed the practice of using suckering and plant cuttings for new vineyard plantings. The Greeks also practiced vine training with stacked plants for easier cultivation and harvesting, rather than letting the grapevines grow untrained in bushed or up trees.

Those techniques, along with Greek indigenous grapes, were the seed that spread to the rest of Europe and ultimately led to today’s development of the art and science of winemaking.

Ancient Greeks had a rich wine culture not found anywhere else, centered around Dionysus, the God of the grape harvest, wine and love for life.

The topography of Greece is very diverse and ranges from alpine and mountainous microclimates, to hot, arid and volcanic islands.

Greece is the third most mountainous country of Europe, covered in mountains by 80%. It features a rugged terrain, with steep cliffs, deep gorges, and jagged peaks. Its average terrain altitude compares to Alpine regions.

At the same time, Greece has the longest (and tenth longest in the world) coastline of the Mediterranean basin (8,350 miles). A highly convoluted coastline, which wraps around 6,000 islands approximately, and is itself mountains with multiple cliffs that rise out of the sea.

White Grapes

ASSYRTIKO

Assyrtiko is the “queen” of Greek grapes, and is indigenous to the island of Santorini. Santorini hosts many ancient Greek variety and has been called the “Jurassic park” of Greek grapes. The Assyrtiko variety has perfectly adapted to the arid and windy conditions of the volcanic Santorini island, and maintains an impressively steely minerality despite the hot and dry Mediterranean microclimate.

Red Grapes

XINOMAVRO

Xinomavro is considered the “king” of red Greek varieties. Notoriously hard to farm and vinify, it is also called a “diva”. Its name is a combination of the words “xino” (“sour” or “acid”) and “mavro” (“black”), which gives a hint to its untamed and tannic character.

Indigenous to western Macedonia and the towns of Amyndeo and Naoussa, Xinomavro prefers humidity and bears low yields.

It expresses itself through notes of mushroom, canned tomatoes, gooseberries, dark fruit, and olives. The palate is usually structured with unforgiving tannins, framing a medium body. The color tends to a brick red and deteriorates rather quickly.