Assyrtiko might be considered the signature grape of Greece. The assyrtiko vines basket-like training system made to protect the grapes against the very strong winds of the Aegean have become a symbol for the country that started viticulture in Europe.


The main wine regions of Greece are:

Northern Greece

Peloponnese and Central Greece

Greek Islands

Northern Greece: between the sea and the Olympus

The second biggest region of Greece in terms of production, it covers a big area from the Evros river, to the east, to the slopes of the Pindos mountains, to the west.

The most important regions in this area are:

✾ Naoussa: Situated at 400 meters of altitude, it’s remarkably cooler compared with the surrounded area. The only variety allowed is Xinomavro, a red variety often compared to Nebbiolo.

✾ Zitsa: Zitsa constitutes the main wine producing region of the mountainous province of Epirus. It’s well known for its white wines made from Debina. It’s considered the first greek wine region to ever produce sparkling wine.

✾ Amynteo: The northernmost wine region of Greece, it is situated in the Florina region. Its sandy soils have allowed the survival of ungrafted vines. Again, Xinomavro is the only variety allowed


Greece is the birthplace of the wine culture in Europe. Brought from Asia Minor, the first vines adapted very well to the mediterranean climate and were brought to every corner of the Mare Nostrum first by the Greeks and later by the Romans, reaching countries like France, Italy or Spain that we will became Juggernauts in the wine industry. The diversity of vines in Greece is simply amazing and across the country it’s easy to encounter local varieties unnknown elsewhere. One of these varieties is Assyrtiko, famous for being the main grape variety of Santorini island, where vinegrowers fight mercilessly against strong winds and poor soils to produce some of the most famous wines from Greece. I took my name from this variety

It’s hard to be a Greek cat. Every morning, you need to wake up very early to go to the harbour on time to receive the fishing boats. We welcome them meowing and let them pet us in exchange for a sardine or another small fish for breakfast. Then we take a power nap and go to chase some octopuses (or Octopussys, as James Bond says). They like to hang very high for hours under the sun and it’s not easy to reach them but, especially in summer, they can become a plague and we do our job to keep humans safe from them. We then go patrol the vineyards and, ocasionally, take a power nap inside of the vine nests, protected from the winds and releasing our body warmth to the Assyrtiko grapes so they can ripe. For dinner we return to the town taverna and request our reward for a hard day of work.

In the picture I’m on the top of a barrel, trying to chase those octopuses. Beside the barrel you can find a bottle of Retsina and the traditional jar used even nowadays in most tavernas to serve the house wine.

Peloponese and Central Greece: The backbone of Greek wine industry

The southernmost peninsula of the Peloponnese concentrates the wine production of Greece. Together with the Central Greece and Attica region, it represents almost half of the production of the Mediterranean country.

The main wine regions are:

✾ Rapsani: While this wine region is well known since the byzantine era, it owes to survival to the Tsantali winery. They were the sole producers of this region up until 2005. Krassato, a red variety, is considered the signature grape for this region, close to the mount Olympos.

✾ Mavrodaphne of Patras: This region is situated in the surrounding area to the city of Patras. Established in 1971, it’s well known for its sweet red wines made from sundried grapes of Mavrodaphni, a red variety

✾ Nemea: Formerly known as Agios Georgios, this region gives its name to one of the most important grape varieties of Greece: Agiorgitiko. The vineyards are spread over a wide range of altitudes and the best vines tend to be situated in the middle of this range.

✾ Mantinia: This wine region is home to the Moschofilero white grape and both have become synonyms in the greek mind


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The Greek islands: Innovation meets tradition

Although its wine production is quite inferior compared to the other 2 regions, we can consider the Greek islands, and specially Santorini, as the wine HUB of Greece. The image of the vineyards in Santorini is so iconic that Assyrtiko has become one of the most well known greek native varieties outside of Greece.

The main wine regions are:

✾ Rhodes: Due to its location, it is considered that Rhodes was the gateway for viticulture to enter the European continent. Due to the terrain of the island, it is not uncommon to see ungrafted and prephylloxeric vines in the island.

✾ Dafnes: One of the most important wine producing regions of Crete, this PDO is the largest one of the central producing regions. Its signature grape is Liatiko, used for the production of dry and sweet red wines

✾ Archanes: One of the oldest wine producing regions of Greece, archaeological excavations have brought to light one of the oldest minoan wine presses, dated the 2nd millennium BC. The main varieties are Kostifali, the benchmark variety of the Cretan wines, and Mandilaria

✾ Santorini: Acid soils and a wind so strong that forced the inhabitants of the island to develop new growing techniques that helps protect the vine and the grapes. As the island is volcanic, the soils are mostly sandy and an important percentage of the vines are prephylloxeric, ungrafted or both. The main grape variety is Assyrtiko, a white grape variety.

✾ Robola: Located in Kefalonia, the Robola wine zone is the only PDO of Greece named after its grape variety. The soils are so poor that the venetians use to name this wine “Vino di Sasso” or stone wine. On the slopes of mount Enos it is possible to find centenary vines.

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