Peloponnese wine region is a great destination with a broad offering of wineries with wine tasting and tours. On our website you can book your visits in order to be prepared for your time in the region.
Greece wine country enriches the international wine range with rare white and full-bodied red wines that are produced from indigenous grape varieties.
The history of the viticulture of Greece wine country goes back to the Mycenaean era. (16th century BC) Wine played an important role in Greek culture. Wines together with vines and grapes were considered as not only the gift from the god but the symbolic interaction of gods with the earth. They even had the god of the grape harvest, winemaking and wine, and fertility, Dionysus.
Even if Greece wine country is not the cradle of wine, the Greeks are among the very first which traded with wine as a valuable commodity. The famous port city of Monemvasia on the Peloponnese peninsula in the late Middle Ages under the rule of Venice was a widely used hub for sweet wines from the Aegean, which were shipped from here to many European countries.
A Moment of Mythology
god of fertility and wine, Dionysus gave birth to viticulture and spread wines across the world. According to Greek Mythology, when Ampelo, Dionysus’ lover, died, a vine grew from his body. Dionysus squeezed the grapes and produced the substance of drunkenness. So, the wine was born…
Diversity of Greece Wine Country
Despite its strong maritime character, Greece wine country has a very high proportion of mountains. The soils made of lime, granite and volcanic rock and the prevailing Mediterranean climate with short, humid winters and dry, hot summers have a favorable effect on viticulture. The often-dry autumns usually produce fully ripe grapes with relatively little acidity. The majority of the Greek wine regions are close to the coast with moderating sea breezes. To give the wines more structure, vineyards are deliberately created at great heights.
Viticulture is carried out, often on a small scale, across all Greek wine regions from the mainland to all larger islands. The country has a total of 61,500 ha planted with vines from which 1/3 of is planted with red grape varieties and 2/3 with white grape varieties. All wines of the protected origin (in Greece PDO) must wear a consecutively numbered control band over the neck, which is issued by the Ministry of Agriculture. The non-fortified wines have a red/pink band and those that have been fortified have a blue band for wines.
Retsina – The Resinated Wine
The most famous wine from Greece is probably the Retsina. The preference for resinated wine, especially the Retsina with around 10% of the wine production, is an ancient Greek tradition. The wine matures traditionally in old resinous barrels and therefore has its name. Also well-known are the anise-flavored schnapps Ouzo and the Metaxa brandy flavored with herbs in a secret mixture (including rose petals).
Wine Tourism in Greece
Greece wine country is ready to introduce ancient traditions of winemaking, divine wines, and local traditions. Wine tourism experiences across the Greek wine regions go in harmony with the natural environment, cultural heritage, and mouthwatering cuisine. Start planning your wine trip to Greece to discover the gift of Dionysus.
Greek Wine Regions
Viticulture is spread all over Greece wine country. Greek wine regions spread from the mainland to the Aegean and Mediterranean islands. Greek wine regions are devided.
Only a tenth of Greek vines are grown in the north, but they stand for some of the best Greek wine regions. They range from Thracein the east, where red wines from Xinomavro, Limnio, Mavroudi, and white wines from Roditis, Malvasia grow. The climate here is milder than in the other northern Greek cultivation areas, as the Rodopi mountain range protects to the north. The international grape varieties such as Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Merlot, and Cabernet Sauvignon dominate in Drama and Kavala.
The historical region of Thrace covers the north part of Greece wine country. Thrace is long considered to be the place, where the cult of Dionysus, the Greek god of wine, was established. Wine traditions in Thrace continued throughout the centuries. Today, the region presents thousands of years of winemaking history in numerous paintings and pottery that was found during archeological excavations.
Macedonia, with Naoussa, is arguably one of the most famous Greek wine regions. Xinomavro is considered the highest quality variety and is also called the “Nebiolo of Greece”. Its wine is very dark red, smells a bit spicy of tomato and olive, has a powerful taste, dense, provides a relatively high acidity, and is very aromatic. It also has very good aging potential.
In Thessaly, a very popular coastal region, the indigenous varieties like Krassato, Stavroto, Xinomavro, Savatiano, Roditis, Messenikola, Batiki, Mavro dominate. The vines grow here on vineyards between 150 and 750 meters on very different soil.
Central Greek wine regions used to be very well known for the production of Retsina wines, but this trend is declining, and international grape varieties are replacing traditional grape varieties such as Savatiano used for the original Retsina production.
Peloponnese – The Historic Peninsula
The Peloponnese, which is derived from the mythological figure of Pelops, who was a son of Tantalo’s, is divided into two climatic zones: the center and the east are very hot and dry, the west milder and has more precipitation. In the east, the Nemea region with the Agiortiko grape is particularly recommended. Smaller and cooler is the area around Mantinia is a little higher, where the late-ripening Moschofilero is the main variety and somewhat resembles the Traminer. In the west around the city of Patras, you can find the white Roditis grape, which produces plump, slightly aromatic white wines.
In the southern part of the mainland of Greece wine country, Peloponnese boasts breathtaking landscapes, heritage sites, and a diversity of wines produced from local grape varieties
The Aegean Islands, which includes Crete, Samos, Paros, and Santorini, lie in the Aegean Sea between Greece and Turkey. The islands thousands of years of winemaking history. Wines are also produced on almost all Aegean islands, primarily sweet, partly fortified dessert wines. The best known is probably the Samos wine from the island of the same name. Samos is the protected designation of origin of the sweet and fortified wines, which come exclusively from this island. It is made from 97% of white muscat grape which grows on terraces at heights of 600 – 800 meters.
The Aegean Islands form the most famous image of Greece – White houses overlooking the crystal clear blue water. The unbearable beauty of the islands attracts millions from different parts of the world. However, there is much more hidden behind the famous imagery of Islands. With 4000 years of history of winemaking, ancient traditions, indigenous grape varieties, and one of the best-fortified wine, the Aegean Islands are waiting for you to be discovered.
But also the islands like Crete and Kyladen Islands like Paros and Santorini are known for their wines in addition to their beautiful landscape of dream beaches and green mountains. Wine-growing in Crete concentrates primarily on the northeast part of the island. The vines grow in small nests here that leaves growing outwards protect the grapes inside from the wind and keep the moisture inside. The baskets that often sit in coves collect the water from the rare rainfall (on average only 250 mm per year) much better than upright vines.
The main grape variety here is the Assyrtiko: the only Mediterranean grape variety with naturally occurring high acidity and sugar that can withstand drought very well. It turns into pale yellow, fresh, aromatic, wines with a lot of substance and longevity that have a light jasmine bouquet combined with lime aromas.