Young Winemakers and Wine professionals of Greece
Stamatis is one more winemaker, who I haven’t met in person, yet I feel that I have understood quite well his norms and values in the cellar and the vineyard. His winery is located in Keratea, Greece and in its 12 hectares several Greek and international varieties are planted: Assyrtiko, Savatiano, Malagousia, Agiorgitiko, Mandilaria, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. The vineyard practises ensure low yields and high quality grapes. Stamatis, his wife and their two children are the soul and spirit of this almost one century old winery.
When was the first time you realised that you are a dedicated wine lover and decided that your future would be associated with the wine industry? Which factors played the most crucial role to this decision?
I don’t remember myself being anything else than a wine lover! I was “born and raised” this way, I started walking and talking in this vineyard and this winery. My grandfather and my father were winemakers, as well. I’ve always considered this procedure to be magical; from the planting and cultivation of the vines till the wine making process and the ageing of our wines. The feeling of being creative is the most important one and this is what keeps giving me the strength to go on despite the exhausting long hours of work.I am glad that my two brothers and I follow the footsteps of our family.
Tell me about your background in the wine world, including harvests, studies, projects or qualifications.
As I mentioned I was raised in our family winery, so I guess that I have been in plenty of harvests in my 35 years of age. Although, I have done the last 10 harvests as the Head Oenologist. Moreover, I have a Bachelors’ degree in Chemistry with a specialisation inOenology. I was also very lucky to have studied under the valuable guidance of Konstantinos Lazarakis MW, the only Greek Master of Wine in the Greek department of WSET School until the Diploma Level. I feel that this is something really significant in my until now career.
Being part of the new wave of Greek Wine Industry generation, which 3 things you would change in the industry, including vineyard management, oenological techniques, communication, marketing e.t.c.?
In the Greek wineries,I believe that we have gained the expertise and we also have the technological equipment needed to make fine wines. In my opinion, what is missing is a new revolutionary generation of winemakers, like the one of the Oenologists in the 90s. Of course, producing premium Greek wines is not enough if you can’t sell them. At this point there are the other top two milestones. Communication strategies and Marketing techniques, especially in the International Market,are the two areas that need a lot of work.
|Stamatis sampling wine from the tank
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?
I reckon that the answer is somewhere in-between, the presence of Greek and international varieties is necessary. Sure, the indigenous varieties give us a unique advantage in foreign markets. On the other hand, Greek premium wines made from International varieties could assist with the recognition of the quality of the Greek vineyards in an international level.
Which Greek variety and which international are your favourites and why? Please, explain your affiliation and say a few words about the variety itself. Do you grow them in the estate you are working for?
My two favourite grape varieties are Assyrtiko and Savatiano. I appreciate Assyrtiko’s uniqueness and adaptability in different soils and climates, with the most reputable the one of Santorini. Moreover, it evolves beautifully through time. Savatiano is the variety that mostly intrigues me. It has a surprisingly good dynamic that I continue discovering year after year. I believe that it is a variety that has a lot to show. We cultivate both of those varieties and we experiment with them every year. As far as the the international varieties is concerned, I would like to distinguish Riesling that unfortunately we can‘t cultivate in Attica due to the climate but I would love to vinify it.