"Wine, the benevolent demon" as it is called by Athinaios in ‘Dipnosofistes'
The beloved beverage of our ancient ancestors. The complement of our meals
Our companion in joys and grieves.
Wine has always been listed among the five primary elements of the Greek diet, together with water, salt, oil and cereals. Either as the complement of a meal, as a sedative or as a drug, wine is closely connected to the Greek culture and religion.
An element that has significantly contributed to the improvement of Greek wines is the proper development of the Greek vineyard. The geography of the country has favoured the creation of a great number of small, independent vineyards, in areas with a special eco-system (soil - climate - grape variety), where the produced wines are of high quality. In each one of these areas, the ground and climate conditions are extremely favourable for vines.
The mild Mediterranean climate of Greece, with the cool winters and the sunny summers is differentiated under the influence of the sea or the nearby mountains and obtains a character of a unique micro-climate. Vineyards are situated in privileged places, lands by the sea, islands, mountain slopes, up to an altitude of 1,000 metres. There are very few lowland vineyards. The soil, often of moderate to low fertility, produces grapes of good quality.
Many of the indigenous grape varieties, cultivated under the above conditions, are found as early as in ancient Greece. Totally, there are more than 300 valuable indigenous grape varieties in Greece. Of course, in the last three decades, select foreign varieties are also cultivated in Greece, and have adapted to the Greek land with remarkable results.
All these varieties produce Appellation of Origin Wines, Regional Wines, as well as many other bottled wines, distributed under trade names. Pluralism in eco-systems, micro climates and grape varieties lead to an admirably wide range of Greek wines.