Greece is well known for many things: the Ancient Gods, fabulous Greek food, and being an idyllic travel destination. Should wine also be one of them?
As you may know, in 6th century BC, Greece was where the party was at, and wine may have been a big part of that.
The Greeks have literally been making wine since the Stone Age, but the practice of viticulture became more widespread in the Bronze Age (3300 - 1200 BC).
Classical Greek coins have images of wine clusters, vines, and wine cups, showing the importance of wine to the culture.
The Greeks also used their wine knowledge to trade with other countries, and emigrants took their grapevine cuttings with them as they settled in colonies in Italy and southern France.
There are many, many unique Greek varietals such as Assyrtiko, Moschofilero, Malagousia, Savatiano, Retsina, Agiorgitiko, Xinomavro, Rapsani, Vinsanto, and Mavrodaphne.
While the names might not exactly roll off the tongue, the accomplished (or novice) wine palate still deserves a taste of them.
I just wonder why the great tradition hasn't continued and why we don't see more Greek wine in modern times.
The actual historical reason is the Ottoman Empire. As world power shifted from Greece to the Turkish empire, the Greek wine industry declined with it.
The final nail in the coffin was the Greek War of Independence in 1821, when the Turks destroyed all the vines in their retreat.
Luckily, the indigenous grape varieties--the Ancient Greeks may have drunk--are available to us to try now, and the national wine industry is experiencing a resurgence.
According to Post Magazine:
The country’s modern wine industry went through a rebirth in the 1970s. Today, 80 per cent of the wineries in Greece are less than 20 years old. There has been a rise of small producers who have been trained in modern winemaking methods, and they make high-quality wines. They have a treasure trove of 200 indigenous grape varieties to choose from, of which around 50 are used commercially. There has also been an increase in the planting of foreign varieties.Greek wine’s rich history and recent rebirth, and a sampling from one of its best new wineries, Post Magazine, 5/18/2017
The history of wine in Greece is EXTENSIVE and truly more than I can cover in this little preview post.
Luckily, the Wine Pairing Weekend Writers are SO GOOD at writing about wine, wine history, and all the geeky wine details. They also LOVE food and will have food pairing recommendations for Greek wines!
Stay tuned for these scrumptious blog posts on to learn all about Greek wine and food pairings:
- Wendy is tasting Assyrtiko from Santorini paired with Greek Mac and Cheese at A Day in the Life on the Farm.
- Camilla is Waiting for the Temperature Drop: Still Eating al Fresco and Pouring Moschofilero at Culinary Adventures with Camilla.
- Andrea asks Do You Know Fokiano? at The Quirky Cork.
- David is having a Greek Spaghetti Recipe and Wine Pairing at Cooking Chat.
- Cindy is exploring how Xinomavro Thrives in Naoussa Where Key Elements Define Its Character at Grape Experiences.
- Gwendolyn is pairing 2 Greek Wines with Grilled Eggplant, Black Cod, Lamb Kebabs at Wine Predator.
- Nicole is showcasing Three Off-the-Beaten-Path Pairings for Holiday Cheese & Charcuterie Platters at Somm’s Table.
And what are you having?
I hope you are able to find and enjoy a Greek wine. Until then, may Greek gods be with you!