Greece Wants to Make Wine Tourist Magnet, World Favorite

The National Herald

(Photo by Eurokinissi/Antonis Nikolopoulos)

With Greek wines until recently frequently ignored and criminally underrated around the world - despite the country’s ancient tradition of producing some of the world’s best with regions of different grape varieties, there are plans to finally promote it better.

“Wine has always been listed among the five primary elements of the Greek diet,” explains minister of tourism Harry Theocharis. “Either as the complement of a meal, as a sedative or as a drug, wine is closely connected to the Greek culture and religion.”

Breaking said the New Democracy government wants to showcase the wine industry to the world even as its reputation, spurred by stories in The New York Times and specialty sites, trying to catch up with competing countries with better marketing.

“The geography of the country has favored the creation of a great number of small, independent vineyards,” said Theocharis. Many of these are open to the public, similar to Italy, where tourists can stop in Tuscany and other regions to sample local wines.

In the Peloponnese, the Domaine Skouras winery is already well established and owner George Skouras’ business has two wineries in nearby villages, and guided wine tours and tastings are offered.

The Pella region in northern Greece is regarded as the birthplace of wine, and the islands also have a heritage, as well as Domaine Economou on Crete and Vioma Organic Farm on Mykonos, featured by the site.

Along with more than 300 native grape varieties including Assyrtiko (a delicate, crisp white) and Xinomavro (a tannic red), classic vines such as syrah, merlot and chardonnay are cultivated.

“We would like to see more museums, vineyard tours, tastings and even spas,” says Theocharis, outlining ambitions for the future. “We hope to involve tourists in the different stages of the winemaking process, including ploughing in the vineyards, harvesting, stomping and weighing of the grapes.”