Greece is one of the oldest wine-producing regions in the world and
among the first wine-producing territories in Europe. The earliest
Greek wine has been dated to 6,500 years ago where
wine was produced on a household or communal basis. In ancient times,
as trade in wine became extensive, it was transported from end to end
of the Mediterranean;
Greek wine had especially high prestige in Italy
under the Roman Empire. In the medieval period, wines exported from
Monemvasia and other Greek ports fetched high prices in
2.1 Aegean Islands
2.4 Ionian Islands
5 Further reading
6 External links
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See also: Ancient
Greece and wine
Wine boy at a symposium
The origins of wine-making in
Greece go back 6,500 years and
evidence suggesting wine production confirm that
Greece is home to the
second oldest known grape wine remnants discovered in the
world and the world’s earliest evidence of crushed
grapes. The spread of Greek civilization and their worship of
Dionysus, the god of wine, spread Dionysian cults throughout the
Mediterranean areas during the period of 1600 BC to the year 1.
Hippocrates used wine for medicinal purposes and readily prescribed
it. Greek wines and their varieties were well known and traded
throughout the Mediterranean. The Ancient Greeks introduced vines
such as Vitis vinifera and made wine in their numerous colonies in
Italy, Sicily, southern France, and Spain. The Vitis
vinifera grape which thrives in temperate climates near coastal areas
with mild winters and dry summers adapted well and flourished in the
Mediterranean areas. The most reputable wines of ancient
Greece were Chian, Coan, Corcyraean, Cretan, Euboean, Lesbian,
Leucadian, Mendaean, Peparethan wine, Rhodian and Thasian.
also important for ancient Macedonia. Two other names may or may not
be regional: Bibline wine and Pramnian wine are named in the earliest
Greek poetry, but without any reliable geographical details.
In 1937, a
Wine Institute was established by the Ministry of
Agriculture. During the 1960s, retsina suddenly became the national
beverage. With rapidly growing tourism, retsina became associated
Greece and Greek wine. Greece’s first Cabernet
Sauvignon vineyard was planted in 1963. In 1971 and 1972, legislation
established appellation laws.
A system of appellations was implemented to assure consumers the
origins of their wine purchases. The appellation system categorizes
Protected Geographical Origins (P.D.O), i.e. an
Appellation of Origin
of Superior Quality
Protected Geographical Identification (P.G.I.), i.e. a Quality wines
Epitrapezios Oinos, i.e. a
Vin de table Not certified wine in a region
of greece (that does not reflect the real wine quality)
Epitrapezios Oinos, regular table wine which usually comes in
Cava, more prestigious, aged "reserve" blends (minimum aging: 1 years
for whites; 2 years for reds)
Retsina, a traditional wine, flavored with pine resin
The main wine growing regions - so called appellations of Greece
Greek wine regions
Nemea wine made from 100% Agiorgitiko.
Agiorgitiko ("St. George's [grape]") is a variety native to
grows mainly in the
Peloponnese area, producing a soft, fruity red in
many styles. Its sensory attributes are similar to Beaujolais Nouveau
but, unlike its French counterpart, the St. George ages well for about
Xinomavro ("sour black") is the predominant grape variety in
Macedonia, centered on the town of Naousa. This variety has great
aging potential with a palate reminiscent of tomatoes and olives, and
a rich tannic character. It is often compared to Nebbiolo.
Limnio, or Kalambaki is an important red grape variety that is
indigenous to the Aegean island of Lemnos and has been used in red
wine production for more than 2000 years. As a varietal wine
full-bodied, high in alcohol and very herbaceous, with a distinctive
taste of bay leaves.
Mandilaria, also known as amorgiano, is mainly cultivated on the
Rhodes and Crete.
Wine from this grape is often very tannic
and frequently blended with other grapes to soften the mouthfeel.
Mavrodaphne, or "black laurel", is a variety that grows in the
Peloponnese and the Ionian Islands. It is blended with the Black
Corinth currant grape to produce a prized fortified dessert wine made
Kotsifali is a variety mainly grown on Crete. It is blended with
Syrah to enhance its color.
Vertzami is a thick, dark-skinned grape variety, best known for
single-varietal wines produced on the Ionian island of Lefkada. It is
also grown in central
Greece and Peloponnese, where it is often
blended with other Greek wines, and Cyprus, where it is known as
Negoska is found in Northern
Greece and also produces rose and red
wines of carbonic maceration worth mentioning, with the expected
aromas. blended into the PDO
Black Mesenikola is cultivated exclusively in the homonymous region of
Central Greece, to a limited extent. It is typically part of the PDO
Assyrtiko is a multi-purpose variety which maintains its acidity as it
ripens. It is similar in character to Riesling, and is mostly
island-based, being a native variety of the island of Santorini, whose
old vines have been resistant to Phylloxera.
Athiri is a lower acid variety and one of the most ancient. Originally
from Santorini, it is now planted in Macedonia, Attica, and Rhodes.
Debina is a white
Greek wine grape primarily in the
Zitsa region of
Epirus. The grape's high acidity lends itself to sparkling wine
Lagorthi is a variety mainly cultivated on high slopes (850 meters) in
the Peloponnese. The grape produces a very malic and fruity wine.
Malagousia is a grape growing mainly in Macedonia, with a special
aroma leading to elegant full bodied wines, with medium-plus acidity
and exciting perfumed aromas.
Moschofilero is a Blanc de gris variety from the AOC region of
Arcadia in the Peloponnese. Its wines offer a crisp and
floral character in both still and sparkling styles.
Robola is most grown in the mountainous vineyards of the Ionian Island
of Cephalonia. It has a smokey mineral and lemony character,
excellently complementing seafood.
Roditis (the "pink" or "rose" grape) is a grape that is very popular
in Attica, Macedonia, Thessaly, and the Peloponnese. This variety
produces elegant, light white wines with citrus flavors.
Savatiano (the "Saturday" grape) is the predominant white grape in the
region of Attica, where it displays excellent heat resistance and
shows a distinct floral and fruity aroma when cold fermentation is
practised. When fermented without cooling, it makes retsina or
rustic unresinated wines that complement
Mediterranean dishes well.
^ Ancient Mashed Grapes Found in
Greece Archived 2008-01-03 at the
Wayback Machine. Discovery News.
^ a b Mashed grapes find re-write history of wine Zeenews
^ a b c 6,500-year-old Mashed Grapes Found in
2012-10-08 at the Wayback Machine.. Discovery News.
^ 6,500-year-old Mashed grapes found World’s earliest evidence of
^ 6500-year-old Mashed grapes found Archived 2007-03-20 at the Wayback
^ a b c d e f Introduction to
Wine Laboratory Practices and
Procedures, Jean L. Jacobson, Springer, p. 84.
^ The Oxford Companion to Archaeology, Brian Murray Fagan, 1996 Oxford
Univ Pr, p. 757.
^ Wine: A Scientific Exploration, Merton Sandler, Roger Pinder, CRC
Press, p. 66.
^ Medieval France: an encyclopedia, William Westcott Kibler, Routledge
Taylor & Francis Group, p. 964.
^ THE GREEK WINE LAW symposio.com
^ a b Yachting paradise Greece, the yachting paradise planaco.gr
^ a b
Winemaking region Macedonia. All about Greek wine.
Wine Searcher. 29 October 2014.
Wine Roads of Greece".
www.wineroadsofgreece.com. Retrieved 2018-03-22.
^ Shara Hall, Lisa, Guide to Greek Wine, Epikouria Magazine,
Spring/Summer 2006, "
Dalby, Andrew (2003), Food in the ancient world from A to Z, London,
New York: Routledge, ISBN 0-415-23259-7
Dalby, Andrew (1996), Siren Feasts, London, New York: Routledge,
ISBN 0-415-11620-1 (Paperback ISBN 0-415-15657-2)
Lambert-Gócs, Miles (1990), The Wines of Greece, London: Faber,
All about Greek wine
The Greek Vineyard
Wine Guide by Konstantinos Lazarakis MW
Wine by country
Wines and winemaking
Acids in wine
Aging of wine
Annual growth cycle of grapevines
Aroma of wine
Alternative wine closure
Wine and food matching
Wine tasting descriptors
Styles and methods of production
Syrah / Shiraz
Pinot gris / Pinot grigio
Shesh i Bardhë
Ugni blanc / Trebbiano
Grand Noir de la Calmette
Grenache / Garnacha
Mencía / Jaen
Mourvèdre / Monastrell / Mataro
Petite sirah / Durif
Shesh i Zi
Zinfandel / Primitivo