Greek wine an ancient tradition reaching new heights

Greek wine an ancient tradition reaching new heights

There was a time when some connoisseurs might have turned their noses up at Greek wine. But things have changed.

I often talk here about the story of transformation that Greece has been undergoing over the last five years, and the rising status of Greek wine is a great symbol. In truth, the growing reputation of our vineyards has been a longer process than just five years. It has been maybe 40 years in the making. But good wine takes time does it not?

You can see the evidence of this recognition everywhere, in the pages of wine journals and websites, and on the shelves of the finest retail shops of Europe, where Greek wine takes pride of place, and rightly so, next to its French and Italian counterparts.
It all means the market for Greek wine is getting bigger and expected to grow by almost 12% between 2021 and 2025.The lion’s share of that is in the United States, where Greek gastronomy is on a roll. The recent visit of the Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO), the government retailer and wholesaler of wine, beer, and spirits in Ontario, confirmed the export potential of Greek wine to Canada too.

But that also means that with Greek wine’s new vigour, there is headspace in Europe too, where our exports are moving into the European market in a way they haven’t in the past. This growth is underpinned by the evolution of the product on one hand, and the discovery of the breadth of the Greek offering by wine connoisseurs on the other. Enterprise Greece and the Greek Wine Federation co-organized a visit of thirty three distinguished sommeliers and wine professionals from across Europe to help promote Greek wines last month. Guests included sommeliers from the 3-star Rutz in Berlin, Azurmendi in Barcelona and Geranium in Copenhagen, which has been declared the number one restaurant in the world for 2022.

The number of unique grapes grown in the mountainous areas of our country make our sector, both challenging to grasp and tantalising to engage with. Two thirds of Greek wine is white, and you can find amazing variation between grapes grown on the mainland and on different islands because of the distinctive conditions and soils between say, Crete, Ios or the volcanic Santorini. One can also make favourable cross-border comparisons. Assyrtiko is our answer to Chablis, or even Riesling. You won’t be surprised to hear that I think it stands up rather well to both comparisons.

I wrote here some weeks back about the bumper tourism trade being done this year, and how stars like Nicole Kidman, Roger Federer and Elon Musk are now choosing Greece. That so many travelers chose Greece for their holiday destination will only further our progress, given so many people see enjoying wine as a part of their experience.

Next time you choose your bottle, remember that Greece is home to 300 indigenous grape varieties grown in a wide range of terroirs. It’s time to discover Greek wine, you won’t regret it. Yamas.

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