The world's wine market is dominated by traditional wine producing giants, France and Italy, and the new world countries of Australia and the South American continent.
However, the origin of winemaking in Europe was in Greece, long before France and Italy started producing wine and eons before the young pretenders of other continents.
Greece is a country with two types of climate, continental in the upper half with hot summers, mild spring and autumn but cold between December and March, and Mediterranean climate in the southern half and on the islands. Greek vineyards are blessed with stable climatic conditions, except during the winter snows in the North The country enjoys considerable variations of “microclimate” from vineyard to vineyard, depending on the region, that favour the development of different grape varieties and their characteristics.
Although France and Italy are the frontmen of world wine culture, it was from Greece that the Roman empire borrowed viticulture and then spread it throughout Europe. The idea of Appellation Controllee, today’s regulation of wines, first started in Greece when the name of the region was given to its wines. Wine production in Greece amounts to about 6 million hectolitres, of which most are red. Naoussa reds and world acclaimed sweet muskato such as Samos Muscat are widely exported but not produced in sufficient numbers to compete with Greece's larger neighbours.
Due to the large ex-pat population of Greeks in Germany, their wine market has known more of Greek wine over the last 20 years. Today Germany is the biggest importer of Greek wine estates like Boutari, Tsantali, Gerovassiliou, Achaia Clauss, and Kourtaki as well as some boutique producers. Aside from Germany, most of Europe have little knowledge of Greek wines outside of the trade and holidays to Greece where they may try retsina and have bad memories of the dreaded Demestika!
Nowadays Greek wine is well worth seeking out. Try travelling down the green peninsulas of Halkidiki with Tasteful Travel, through huge vineyards. Sample the luscious reds and crisp whites at Porto Carras at their state-of-the-art winery and museum, or stop for a tour of the 120-year old E. Tsantali winery. Alternatively travel with us to Naoussa near the birthplace of Alexander the Great. Sample the red wines made from the Xinomavro grape and tour the historic Boutaris winery. Or choose from a selection of viticulture destinations where you can sample the very best of the Greek wine makers art. With so much history, Greek wines never disappoint.