Wine not?

Hello winelover! If you feel that wine-speak is not for you, you will be happy to know that I talk about wine like I talk about people and nature. Communicating in simple terms works best for all of us. Wine is so much fun and that's why I am so serious about it!

Effi drinks wine and she loves it.

Thursday, 11 October 2012

What I didn't see at VorOina (ΒορΟινά)

We have company! My first guest-blogger, Maria Dalabira, attended a wine event at Thessaloniki, where the wine producers of Northern Greece showed their wines.


Every wine is a journey

Maria Dalabira enjoying wine
Maria is a great wine aficionado. She enjoys drinking wine with friends and is always happy to discover new varieties or blends. This is her blog about Thessaloniki, you should definitely check it out and see how beautiful this city is. I reckon that the voice of the consumers and the attributes which attract them the most, are those that the wine experts should focus more on. At the end of the day, we are all working on wine because it's fun and it's honest. Let's keep our ears and eyes open to understand the wine consumers and not vice versa.

 This is how Maria experienced a wine event in Thessaloniki:

Yesterday, on the 22nd of September, me and my girlfriends, were so excited about our Saturday’s night out event. It was wine tasting day! Since 2010 we have been attending «Τα ΒορΟινά», a unique wine journey. This is an event that takes place in Thessaloniki, twice a year and it consists of wine tasting competition, wine tasting of the wines of the 36 winemakers and members of the “Wines of Northern Greece”. The event was held at the Port of Thessaloniki, Dock 1 in particular, which is a recently innovated space with an amazing view and beautiful history.

The day was special, Effi asked me if I could take some pictures and memorise special wine labels that tickled my palate, so me and the girls had a mission going on: Taste as many wines as possible and make our top three!

The organisers held a wine tasting competition for all visitors, a "looking for the lost treasure" game, a moustalevria tasting (special sweet made with grape must) and a children’s wine workshop in which children over 5 years of age would “learn the different varieties of grapes and make their own delicious grape bites”, as the event’s flier stated.

We had a rendezvous at 8:30 pm in the entrance and as I was the first one to get there I stood in line alone to enter the special dock. This year I waited for the first time for 10-15 minutes in line because of the resonance ‘’ΒορΟινα” had. The crowd was BIG and the ages varied from 6 months old to really old wine lovers!
I paid my 5 Euros fee, got my glass and got in to lots of white tents, lights, people, laughter and swirling glasses full of wine. 

VorOina: Tasting of wines & spirits
In the entrance there was a desk with six black bottles and in front of each and every one of them there was a big number from 1 to 6. This table was the  wine tasting’s competition table. They gave each person a paper with all the possible wine varieties and every one should check the box he/she thought represented the wine he/she was tasting at the moment! Every person wrote his personal info, such as phone number, name, surname etc so the winner would be found and rewarded! (The reward is a case of 6 bottles of wine).

So, as I read from the informational paper “Boutari” wines gave me, the main Greek white wine varieties are:
the main Greek red wine varieties are:

And so the journey began.

And what a journey! We had so much fun! Seriously we tasted wines from all 36 winemakers and they were all great! I began the tasting by myself, as I was waiting for my friends and I started from the end towards the beginning and the first white wine was a winner.

The first wine I liked comes from Vourvoukelis estate; a family of winemakers that planted 2 hectares on the fertile hills of the area Avdira at Xanthi with indigenous and foreign wine grape varieties, with a view to realizing their vision of reviving the famous Avdira vineyard. The wine’s name is Lagara, Ktima Vourvoukeli 2009. Lagara, which means clear, pure liquid, is a blend of Sauvignon blanc and Assyrtiko. As my friends arrived at the place we united and continued the wine tasting with so much excitement! There were laughs, cheesy jokes, happy faces and glasses full of wine everywhere!

Certainly, the ladies had great fun!
Another great wine was a white one from Ktima Ligas (wines of Pella).  The PELLA white wine was so velvety, lively and light! Estate Ligas had many fans among our company and we also liked another of their white wines: Roditis

As we went on, glass after glass, we stopped at the Ktima Chatzivarytis wines which surprised us so pleasantly with the lightness of its lively, white whine, the full-bodied red wine and the fashion icon Mister Chatzivarytis; a charmer, so kind and full of smiles! The white wine was: OROSIMO, which consists of 60% Roditis and 40% Xinomavro and the red wine was GOUMENISSA which consisted of Xinomavro 70% and Negoska 30%.

Mr. Chatzivarytis
We enjoyed the Elinos wine: Orizontes, a white wine of 2011.
From the Oenogenesis winemakers we liked: Skylights white wine, a regional wine of Macedonia, cool, with Sauvignon blanc and Assyrtico.

We liked a white dry wine from Boutaris called: SIMEIO STIXIS whose varieties are Malagouzia, Roditis, Assyrtiko, Sauvignon blanc.

People kept coming again and again and not only Greeks but foreigners too. I am guessing Erasmus students in Thessaloniki, whose picture I took but forgot to ask how they landed there. The night was wonderful, warm, the sky was clear and the winemakers were happy!

ERASMUS students enjoying every minute of VorOina

In the end of the kiosks there were three kiosks with local traditional products such as peppers from Florina, moustalevria sweets and meat products such as pork, calf and others!

Delicious meat products by
We found some wines that came to add to our favorites list!
I loved a rose demi sec from EAS Amyntaion , called AMYNTAION and so did my friend Sissy! We are definitely going to buy this one!
This is the only rose wine with ‘Appellation of Origin of Superior Quality’ in Greece
There were also two of Kir Yianni wines, the first one a white wine, SAMAROPETRA and the second one, a rose sparkling called AKAKIES, 2010.

For us, the surprise of the evening wasn’t a wine but a tsipouro, the best one I have ever tasted. Strong and bold, it burned your mouth and leaved your lips numb, a Zoenos winery tsipouro called: IPEIROTIKO, aged Tsipouro was a winner!

There was also a buzz about a new rose from Boutari, called Pink Kong, which we didn’t have the chance to taste because it was finished by the time we reached the Boutari’ s kiosk.

Anyway our top three wines were (not only three)
Rose wine: EAS - AMYNTAION
And guest star: ZOENOS WINERY- Tsipouro, Palaiomeno Ipeirotiko.

As the night came to its closure we were happy drank girls, with our wine glasses as a souvenir (they let you keep the glass as a remembering), with our cameras filled with photographs and our memories filled with wines we are definitely going to buy for a home wine tasting experience!

View of the kiosks
Thessaloniki during the after-hours
Great view from the tasting site

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Winemaker: Vasilis Georgiou Part 2

Young Winemakers and Wine professionals of Greece

          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?

At this point, I think we ought to focus on our indigenous varieties since they give us a competitive advantage. Other than that, we must monitor closely what the current trends in the wine market are and try to offer an alternative but similar approach to that trend thus creating a market for our wines. That’s why we came up with Simia Stixis (punctuation points) which is a triad of a white, a rose and a red all aiming for a very fresh and easy to drink style just as the current market demands. Therefore it is dangerous to focus solely on indigenous varieties without keeping in mind what the consumer really demands.

Which Greek variety and which international are your favorites 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? 

Admittedly, I am a loyal fan of Xinomavro. Especially Xinomavro from Naousa. Over the years, I have seen this variety’s potential is limitless and the fact that the region of Naousa and its different teroirs give different expressions to the wines of xinomavro make it even more intriguing. Boutaris has worked with Xinomavro closely for so many years and I’m proud to pick up from there to continue such a huge tradition. In terms of winemaking, you need to be very patient and show “respect” to Xinomavro since overmaceration can bring out very rough wines. Soon you will have a chance to taste a great xinomavro from Naousa that we have been working on. From the international varieties I would pick Sauvignon Blanc, which is always a challenge to get those fresh cut grass, capsicum notes to make it great.

Old vintages of Xinomavro Boutari
Do you organize activities in the Estate you work for? If, yes, please specify and comment on their impact on the sales and communication. If not, what are your plans for the future?

Anyone can visit our wineries and learn about the history of the first winery that bottled wine in Greece. Wine tasting is also offered by appointment.

A little something About You.

I have always kept some time free to enjoy sailing. Being so close to the sea creates a soothing feeling which all Greeks have in their heart.

 Last but not least, do you export in the UK? If yes, who is your importer or distributor? If not, would you be interested in doing so?

Yes we export in the UK through our distributor 


You can learn more about Boutari wines if you:
1. Visit their webpage
2. Follow them on Twitter
3. Join them on Facebook

Monday, 1 October 2012

Winemaker: Vasilis Georgiou Part 1

Vasilis Georgiou

    Young Winemakers and Wine professionals of Greece

       Vasilis (or Bill; as I have met him) is Boutari's Naoussa enologist in Northern Greece. Anyone, who's in Greek wine already knows how big Boutaris name and heritage in the Greek wine scene is. Hence, I recknon that the fact that a young, talented and very well educated man, as Vasilis is, works at this winery and is building the future of Greek wine with his colleagues, is of great importance. Investing in a highly educated generation of wine professionals is mandatory if Greek winemakers want to thrive and continue progressing.

   When was the first time you realised that you are a dedicated winelover and decided that your future would be associated with the wine industry? Which factors played the most crucial role to this decision?

I have to admit that coming from a family with a very long tradition in producing and distributing spirits and wine played an important role in deciding to become a winemaker. My family has been distilling spirits in Nafplio since 1869 (Karonis Distilleries) using technology and equipment brought straight from Italy and France making the Distillery one of the biggest producers in the 1930s. It was actually my uncle, a wine connoisseur who runs a wine shop in the heart of Nafplio that visited me in my early high school years and took me on a range of winery tours in Northern Greece. Watching renowned winemakers speak so passionately about wine immediately made me realise that continuing a family heritage such as mine was exactly what I wanted to do (the scents of wine and oak barrels also helped!).

   Tell me about your background in the wine world, including harvests, studies, projects or qualifications.

At the age of 15 not many kids have decided what to do with their lives career-wise. My mind was set by that time and I started planning my steps carefully in order to achieve my goal of becoming a winemaker. After I graduated from high school I decided that studying abroad would expand my horizons and opportunities. I attended the University of Reading in the UK where I graduated with a bachelor of Food Science which gave me an extensive knowledge of food chemistry. During my studies I joined the winemaking team of a winery in Chalkidiki as an intern to help with grape quality control during vintage. That was my first hands on experience with winemaking and I have to admit that I loved it. After I graduated from Reading I had to pick where to specialise in the art of winemaking. Choices at the time were quite many including France and the US. However, Australia’s uprising wine industry at the time and all the innovative research that was being conducted there to support an uprising industry helped me choose. I went to Adelaide where I graduated from the University of Adelaide with a Masters degree in Oenology. That was a once in a life time experience which shaped my thoughts about the wine industry for life. I performed a vintage in Australia where my favourite moment was the opportunity to tamper with Aussie Shiraz! After I came back to Greece, I started looking for a winemaker job. It was only when I met with Dr. YannisVoyatzis who inspired me to become a winemaker like him and make the most out of Greek native varieties. His passion and experience has provided me with valuable guidance throughout the six vintages as Boutari’s Supervising Winemaker in Naousa. Being a winemaker for Boutari is an ongoing journey of knowledge due to the interaction and experience sharing of the winemaking team which is made up of promising oenologists. Boutari has six wineries in all major wine regions of Greece and one in France. Sharing knowledge with the winemakers in these other wineries is what makes the Boutari winemaking team so successful in pursuing quality in our wines.

Boutari's beautiful winery in Naoussa

      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.?

The Greek wine industry has made enormous progress in the last years. Increasing competition amongst the many wineries that operate in Greece and the technology that winemakers brought with them from abroad has created solid foundations for a quality orientated industry. I am also very proud to see that a national marketing strategy has been planned in order to promote “the New Wines of Greece” as a brand. This same concept I came up in Australia where “wine Australia” was being promoted in export countries with remarkable results. It is my strong belief that our wines can clearly benefit if they are promoted as a brand which focuses on our indigenous varieties. What we need to focus on now is the vineyard. New vineyard practices and other innovations in viticulture need to be applied throughout the whole Greek vineyard in order to keep up with competition abroad. Yes we have made enormous steps in making quality wines, but the next step in continuous improvement is the vineyard itself. Individually, many wineries excel in their vineyard practices experimenting with new techniques but many grape producers are still growing their grapes traditionally based only on the notion of terroir in their vineyard. Making changes in the Greek vineyards will not only improve quality of the grapes but produce new opportunities for employment for young viticulturists and grape growers. We are promoting “new wines of Greece” but we must make sure we have the supply to meet the demand we are aiming for…

Monday, 24 September 2012

Winemaker: Stamatis Mylonas Part 2

Young Winemakers and Wine professionals of Greece


 In case you missed Part 1, please click here.

In a vineyard including vines, that are counting 100 years, Stamatis is producing wines that have a clear Greek heritage but are also modern and sophisticated.

This is the second part of the interview. In a future post, tasting notes of Mylonas Winery wines will be included.


Do you organize activities in the Estate you work for? If, yes, please specify and comment on their impact on the sales and communication. If not, what are your plans for the future?

We try to organize activities in our estate or to participate in more general activities concerning wine. We hope will be more active in the future when our winery will be completed.
In my opinion, it is extremely important for every winery  to give the opportunity to people to “get to know” their wines and vines.  In addition, I believe that the personal contact with the consumer, is the best advertisement one can obtain. We try to be in touch with the consumer and give them the opportunity to visit the winery and get fascinated by wine. A personal contact and a fine wine have a positive result both in communication and  in sales afterwards .

Beautiful scenery

Assyrtiko vines

A little something About You:

My wife always says that I can’t think of anything else but wine!!! I enjoy spending my free time with her, my two small children and with good friends. Traveling around the world is something I really love to do, meeting new people, exploring new traditions and food.  I always enjoy a nice movie that relaxes me at home. I also wish I had time to swim a bit more.

Last but not least, do you export in the UK? If yes, who is your importer or distributor? If not, would you be interested in doing so?

We do export in the UK. I consider UK market to be one of the most difficult. Our wines are imported by Yamas Wines ( and Just Great Wine (

Mylonas' wine selection

If you wish to know more about Stamatis and Mylonas winery then use the following information: 
Mylonas Winery : Keratea Attica, 19001, Greece 
Tel. +302299068156
 Fax +302299068256

You can also like their page on Facebook!

À bientôt