Young Winemakers and Wine professionals of Greece
I was first introduced to winemaking and viticulture in 1999. It was then, when my father planted his first 20 vine hectares in his hometown, Avdira. I remember myself, 14 years old at that time, and my brother at 17 to not actually entertaining ourselves in the vineyards as our interests were quite diverse. Of course, with time we both realised that our connection with nature and more specifically with grape growing and winemaking gave us a deep satisfaction, motive and drive to all aspects of our lives. Our involvement in the estate gave us a vision, to recreate and resurrect an ancient vineyard, which was widely known in our own region and to make wines that carry both a heritage and a brand name. We aim to make special wines, that would feel like being grown in our own soil. This is how my journey as another Odysseus started in the world of wine.
Being part of the new wave of the Greek Wine Industry generation, which 3 things would you change in the industry, including vineyard management, oenological techniques, communication, marketing etc.
The Greek state is not investing in research, as far as viticulture is concerned. I have been trying to organise several exciting projects on Greek wine varieties, which are almost uncountable and I am confident that with hard work and the right management we will be able to promote them. This is directly connected to the winemaking of these grapes and the production of wines of higher quality. Another link in this chain is the planting of grape varieties in different parts of the world and the way we can approach different consumer groups and understand their tasting preferences. For instance, in a region where more red wine with soft tannins is consumed, more focus should be drawn to varieties with similar characteristics. Of course, I would insist on Greek indigenous varieties, as this is where I see the future of the Greek Wine Industry. In matters of communication, I feel that the older methods used involving publications in wine, food and lifestyle magazines have completed their circle, because of the rising power of social media. I personally tend to invest in direct connections.
Many wine-journalists suggest that Greece’s point of difference is the amount of its indigenous varieties and that in order to differentiate itself in the wine world, winemakers should focus on them. On the other hand, others claim that we should also cultivate international varieties, in order to keep up with the world’s competition. What is your point of view regarding this subject?
My favourite Greek variety is called Pamiti or Pamidi (Pamid); I feel it’s like a child to me or better an ancestor, as it is an ancient variety from Thrace, Northern Greece. It gives light dry and semi-dry whites and rose wines. We produce a semi-dry rose. This is my favourite variety as me and my family revived it; we meticulously collected grafts from all over the region, sent them to France for DNA identification and then planted them in the nursery. The Pamiti wines are very aromatic and fruity; they have great balance of sweetness and acidity. These are wines that go pretty match with everything; they match a great variety of food but are also very enjoyable on their own. Regarding the international varieties, my taste is different. Merlot wines with long ageing, high alcohol and rich tannins is the international variety I enjoy the most. It may leave you wondering but it will finally let you discover its secrets, unlike other more complex varieties. We make a red wine blend with 50% Merlot, 30% Syrah and 20% Pamiti.