Greece has arguably one of the longest wine histories in the world as wine has always been an integral part of Greek culture since antiquity. Greece might not be the first country to produce wine, but what can be attributed to Ancient Greece is the development of a culture encompassing all aspects of wine: vine growing, production, legislation, trading and, of course, the art of consuming wine.
Greek terroirs play a key role in the shaping of a wide range of unique wines. They are divided into four broad categories: Mountainous and semi-mountainous, Coastal, Continental and Volcanic.
The mountainous and semi-mountainous terroirs are the most common in Greece. These are the best endowed, due to the country’s hot and dry climate.
Wine production in Greece is contemporary, yet maintains its human scale. It became modern without phasing out the advantages of tradition. Many ventures have been established recently, using up-to-date equipment while remaining mostly small- or medium-sized. However, it is worth bearing in mind that a medium-sized winery by Greek standards would be rather small if compared with the average winery of many other European or New World countries.
The Wines of Greece are truly European. This is not just an issue of provenance but a matter relating to style and quality. They are a part of the premier European wine league and in terms of quality they belong to the same class as Italian, Spanish, French, Portuguese, German and Austrian wines. They are wines expressive of their distinctive and historic terroirs, bearing all the hallmark characteristics of their Old World provenance. Hence, they are a must-try for all people wishing to explore and taste the wines of the essential vineyards, the grand terroirs of the world.
An important aspect that reinforces the unique proposal of the Wines of Greece is their excellent value. They will never be cheap— cheap enough to compete at the bottom end of the market—but their top quality makes them an outstanding value-for-money option. There is a large number of Greek wines that, if produced in other more established countries, would certainly cost twice or three times as much.
Greece is a moderately small country, especially in terms of vine growing, with acreage of about 61.500 hectares of vineyards. The surface under vine has been remarkably stable over the last decade although a slight increase is projected for the future. The number of growers is close to 180,000, which is about a fifth of all landowners involved in agriculture. Therefore, the average land- holding size in terms of vineyards is slightly above half a hectare, indicating that viticulture in Greece is a hugely fragmented sector.