Wine has been an important part of Greek culture for over 4000 years as the numerous archeological discoveries throughout Greece have revealed. The ancient Greeks knew well the nutritional value of wine as it became an inseparable part of their daily regimen. Wine also played and important role in the evolution of the local economy.
Another popular event was the grand celebration known as “Dionyssia” that took place in Athens every March. In addition to welcoming the spring season Dionyssia is also thought to have followed in the Babylonian tradition of celebrating the New Year in March. The remarkable theater of Dionyssus located below the Parthenon is a clear testament to the strong influence of this God in the every day life of the Greeks.
The Ancient Greeks loved to organize intellectual gatherings called “symposia” where they would eat and talk about predetermined philosophical subjects while drinking wine. While moderation was strictly adhered to, the Greeks would utilize the beneficial effects of wine to help achieve greater intellectual clarity and spiritual awareness. Wine was always diluted with water before drinking in a vase called “kratiras,” derived from the Greek word krasis, meaning the mixture of wine and water. The word “Krasi” is now currently used in the Greek language as the term for wine.
PRICES DO NOT INCLUDE COST OF WINE TASTING
This adventure will take us from Athens south to the Greek wine region of Nemea, in the Peloponnesus, one of the most important appellations for the production of red wine. Here the Agiorghitiko grape ,which, literally, means the grape of St. George, is used and produces wines famous for their deep red color, complex aroma and long, velvety palate.
In recent years, the Greek wine industry has undergone enormous improvement with serious investments in modern wine making technology. The new generation of native winemakers is being trained in the best wine schools around the world and their efforts are paying off as Greek wines continue to receive the highest awards in international competitions as well as the recognition they deserve throughout the world.
We will visit some of the best wineries there and afterwards we will drive back to Athens with a brief stop at Corinth Canal on the way.
Alternative Tour Options:
There are so many other things to see in this area. Keep in mind that your driver is at your disposal, so if you would like to adjust the proposed itinerary at all, just let him know!
- Don’t be shy. If you ask simple questions like “Does this look like it will be a good year?” or “What food goes best with this wine?” the person behind the counter will appreciate your interest. Don’t try to show off with questions like, “Did this get any ML?” unless you really, really care about malolactic fermentation. There are no stupid questions — and, in any event, you can’t do worse than the visitor who once asked a tasting-room pourer whom we’ve known for years, “How long does the wine stay in caskets?”
- Remember that it’s a tasting room, not a bar. People who have had too much to drink ruin the tasting experience for everybody.
- Be careful how much you buy. It’s a nice gesture to buy a bottle or two, but you shouldn’t feel pressured to. Still, we tend to get carried away at wineries and buy more bottles than we intended
- The wines you bought at the winery will not taste as good at home as they did at the winery. We’re sorry to end this list with a downer, but it’s true. When you’re there, surrounded by the wondrous sights and smells of a winery, with the winemaker across the bar, pouring wine in pristine condition that has never traveled, the wine tastes special. You simply can’t replicate those conditions at home.
Did you Know?
Nemea-Agiorgitiko is colored in myth. There is an ancient legend that the rich, dark, soft and mysterious Nemea-Agiorgitiko wines from the region of Nemea, taste that way because the very vines on which the Agiorgitiko grapes grow, were stained by the blood of the lion that Hercules slew, in a time long past. Truth or not, this is the stuff that mythology is made of, and this place, and the wines from this place, Nemea-Agiorgitiko, are as ancient as any in the world, perhaps, more so, and yes… this is indeed the land of Hercules.