“It’s a shame that Greece has been tarred with the retsina brush for so long…it has unquestionably embraced modern tastes, with refreshing whites and fine reds produced from expressive indigenous grape varieties.”Anthony Rose, Sat 6th Feb 2016 independent.co.uk
Join us for a Grape Picking Holiday. Learn about the Best Names in Greek Wine.
Grape Picking Holidays, Harvest Holidays
We make a holiday out of grape picking and pruning. Friends come from overseas, we organize one of our local friends with decades of practical experience to work with us, and we all learn as we go along. The camaraderie helps. And being outside in the sun, with the ocean around us makes the whole experience invigorating and special.
Join us for a Grape Picking Holiday. Accomodation prices are much lower and on work days we share long lunches, then later fabulous evening barbecues watching the sun go down.
The Good Life vineyard
“When we first walked down the driveway of the Good Life, the view took our breath away. It was a soft, rural view across vineyards and olive groves over to the sea. The only sound came from nearby chickens and further down the slope were goats and horses contentedly munching. We fell in love, of course. Already living in Athens, our new country weekender became a full time job. Caring for an organic farm is not easy, however small. So we moved there full time.
To begin with there were 500 roditis vines, over ten years old, on our slopes, one of the most popular varietals in Greece, hardy and suited to small farming. They make a pinkish white wine and this vineyard had been producing 1000 litres of rose with little care. No watering, virtually no pruning, fertilizing or weed clearing. For us it was a great way to begin. Our vines could only improve. And the process of grape picking, pruning and managing grapes is not just a holiday, but it is immensely satisfying. Everyone benefits from a learning curve!” Nick and Elspeth Geronimos
The New Greek Wines
Greece has been home to wine making since the Hellenic era, so there are varietals in Greece that are genetically unchanged for centuries. Grapes are grown and wine made everywhere in Greece, and few country people are without their home-made wine in the cupboard. Greek grapes have not been commercially produced in the way France, Italy and Spain have done so successfully. But the upside is a wine making culture staying true to the past. For example, few winemakers use preservatives.
In recent years the Greek wine industry has undergone serious improvements. The new young wine makers are trained in the best international schools, but have the advantage of unique indigenous grape varieties. The soil and conditions in Greece are perfect for grapes and the new wines emerging are winning the highest awards internationally. Output is small, and experts predict that with continued improvement, original flavours, increasing sophistication and limited supply the new Greek wines will soar in price. At the moment, no one in Europe can compete with Greece on price/quality. A spectacular Greek wine can still be bought for under 10 eus. On your grape picking holiday you can take away some wine from this vineyard.
The Best Names in Greek Wine Varietals
- Agiorgitiko grapes give rise to full pine aromas through to juicy cherry. It is a red grape, but it can be used to make white - a very palatable table wine, moderate alcohol. Light and summery with a higher sugar content than a cabernet.
TRY: Lafkiotis’s Agionimo from Ancient Kleones in Nemea in the Peloponnese or Gaia Estate's Agiorgitiko 2012 (also Nemea)
- Xinomavro is often blended with Merlot or Syrah – usually grown in Macedonia. These wines can be aged, rich in tannin, berry and spices. One of the top Greek varieties.
TRY: Kir-Yiannis Xinomavro, Alpha Xinomavro, or Paliokalias Dalamara Xinomavro or Thymiopoulos Xinomavro, Naoussa 2013
- Mavrotragano grape is another variety unique to Greece.
TRY: Domaine Sigalas Mavrotragano, 2013 or any Santorini label
- Assyrtiko is one of the finest multi purpose whites, first cultivated on Santorini and found on most grape growing Cycladic islands like Syros
TRY: Tselepos Winery - they have a large range
- Malagousia – winemaker Gerovassiliou from Drama, northern Greece was the first to revive this almost extinct varietal and give us original, aromatic elegant whites
TRY: winemakers now use this fresh summer grape in blends and by itself. Try any maker – it is inexpensive and delicious.
Farm Holidays include
- Olive Picking Holidays (November/December - depending on the weather) Includes 2 litres of oil to take away, evening barbecues on picking days and olive preserving tuition. Sign up for our newsletter for actual dates.
- Grape Picking Holidays – November (date to be advised later) – weather dependent. Evening barbecues, sunset wine tastings with a full introduction to the best names in Greek wine. Sign up for our newsletter for dates nearer autumn.