Greek Wine Exports Soar, Catch World’s Attention, Not EU’s

A selection of Greek wines from Santorini with a view. (Photo by Marcelo Costa via Wikimedia Commons)

ATHENS – Underappreciated and under-marketed, Greek wines are catching on around the world with everyone from sommeliers and connoisseurs and oenophiles to consumers learning of their value and taste.

With near-perfect grape-growing regions and oodles of sun and favorable conditions for producing wine in a wide range of varies, from the bitter retsina to the silky smooth Assyrtiko and a host of others, Greece is finally being discovered.

From 2009-16, nearly coinciding with an ongoing crushing economic crisis that has forced scores of thousands of companies to go out of business, Greek wine sales have increased by 81.6 percent in the USA, 90.7 percent in Canada, 555.9 percent in China, 104.9 percent in Australia and 562 percent in Japan.

The soaring results in the campaign to promote Greek wine beyond the borders of the European Union were presented at a recent event organized by the National Inter-Professional Organization of Vine and Wine of Greece (EDOAO) featured by Kathimerini which reported on the growing success and interest around the world.

According to the statistics presented, the gains for Greek wines in the internal European Union market aren’t as impressive in sales, another indicator that Greek wine companies, like other great Greek commodities, aren’t advertised, marketed, pushed or promoted.

Still, some 84 percent of all Greek wine exports are inside the EU which leaves room for great growth potential around the world and outside the 28 countries in the bloc.

Greek winemakers have not only seen increases in their sales abroad, but also in the prices buyers are willing to pay, a fact that demonstrates that the country is gaining recognition as a source of high-quality wines, the paper said.

In the US, for example, the average price of Greek wines increased by 41.3 percent over the 2009-16 period, with the average price per liter increasing from 2.80 euros ($3.47) to 4.40 euros ($5.46.) In China, it went up from 1.75 euros ($2.17) in 2009 to 4 euros ($4.96) in 2016, an increase of 103.5 percent in a country with growing interest in Greece.

Greek wine prices are also going up within the EU where there’s substantial competition from France, Italy, Spain, Portugal and others, even though the sales of Greek wines aren’t holding in the bloc while climbing outside.

But that data also indicates that “wine snobs” see Greek wines of increasingly high quality and are turning to them and willing to pay more.

“The international rhetoric and the image of Greek wine has shifted completely due to the efforts that have been made,” said Kostas Arkoumanis on behalf of Wine of Greece during the presentation of the results.

The Director of the Department of Vineyards and Wine at the Agricultural Development Ministry, Dionysis Grammatikos, also announced a new 4.56-million-euro ($5.66 million) funding program for the improvement of Greece’s wines and the marketing of wine products.