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The origins of winemaking in Greece date back to 6,500 years ago and there is dated evidence that suggests that winemaking in Greece even hosted the second oldest known wine in the world and the first evidence of crushed grapes in the world.
The oldest wine press ever found was discovered in the ruins of Vathypetro, a village near Heraklion in Crete. Historians estimate that this press dates back to 2500 BC. during the Minoan civilization, thus representing the oldest wine press in the world for the production of wine.
The history of Greek wine is inextricably linked to culture, economy, religion, society and daily life, but also to the places where viticulture, production and consumption of wine developed.
The record of the history of Greek wine and viticulture is probably the longest history in the world among the wine producing countries. Greece is one of the oldest wine regions in the world and one of the top wine regions in Europe.
In ancient times, Greek wine was particularly popular in Italy during the Roman Empire. In the Middle Ages, wines exported from Crete, Monemvasia and other Greek ports reached high prices in Northern Europe.
Also interesting is the fact that the ancient Greeks always drank their wine diluted with water, which distinguishes them from the so-called "barbarians" who drank their wine directly. The reason the ancient Greeks diluted their wine was because they wanted to drink all night during their symposia, but not to get drunk.
In addition, ancient recipes of the father of medicine, Hippocrates, were found, demonstrating how important and sacred wine was for the Greeks. In these recipes, Hippocrates advised his patients to consume a spoonful of wine a day as a remedy.
Greek wines have therefore been present since ancient times and for this reason they can be considered an integral part of Hellenic culture. During the Archaic period (7th century BC) viticulture spread throughout Greece with the development of winemaking techniques.
In the classical period (480-323 BC) the famous Greek wines of antiquity met the then flourishing wine trade. In the following years up to 146 BC, the Aegean islands became important wine and commercial centers in the Mediterranean for the entire empire of Alexander the Great.
After 1850 the first large cellars were founded and the first Greek winemakers appeared producing wines with titles recognized at European level. Around this time, Greek winemakers began sending their children to some of the most famous universities in the world to study oenology. Towards the end of the same century, when the French vineyard was almost destroyed by phylloxera, Greek wine is mainly directed to France and, due to demand, mainly currant wine (wine made from currant) is produced.
There are also some types of wine typical of the Greek tradition such as retsina, which is produced using pine resins with a strong aromatic power.
The modern age of Greek wine begins in the third quarter of the twentieth century. In 1971, Greek wines were classified for the first time according to their Designation of Origin, a process still being updated. In the last few decades, the modern renaissance of Greek wine has taken place and Greek wine tourism has begun to develop.
Today there are 33 Greek wines recognized as PDOs that are produced in certain areas and with certain specifications. For example, in northern Greece there are the following six PDO areas: Amyntaion, Goumenissa, Zitsa, Naoussa (one of the best for red wine), Plagies Melitona and Rapsani. Or, for white wines, one of the most famous is the island of Santorini thanks to its volcanic soils.
The same is for Central Greece, where some really interesting areas for producing good wines can be easily found: Muses valley, Nemea in Peloponnese. All are well know for white grape, red grape, authentic Greek grape varieties.
Small wineries that later grew strongly took the lead, and Greece today has state-of-the-art technology and many talented and enthusiastic winemakers, winemakers and winemakers.
In this new era of Greek wine, Greek winemakers are dedicating themselves to indigenous grape varieties such as Xinomavro and Assystiko.
The results are evident because, due to its diversity and uniqueness, Greek wine is now a "trend" in the main centers of the world, while Greek wine tourism is constantly growing.
At the same time, several international grape varieties have entered the domestic wine production market by right: white muscat, pinot grigio, grenache and many other red wines and sweet wines.