About Greek Wine
by Martha A. Brozyna
Greek winemaking has a long tradition. Greek wine culture had its divine embodiment in Dionysus, god of wine. The renowned ancient Greek physician, Hippocrates, recommended wine as a treatment for almost all illnesses.
Archaeologists in 2007 discovered 2,460 charred grape seeds and 300 empty grape skins dating from 6,500 years ago. The find is believed to represent the earliest evidence of European wine production.
Variety and quality
There is a tremendous amount of variety to be found in Greek wines, with more than 300 indigenous grape varieties, reflecting the varied terrains, soils and micro-climates to be found in Greece.
Main wine-growing regions
Viticulture is common to practically all parts of the Greek peninsula and islands, but among the areas that are best known for their wines are Macedonia, Thessalia, Sterea Ellada, the Peloppenese and the Aegean and Ionian islands.
The best-known Greek wine is Retsina which is flavored with pine resin. Its rather pungent aroma and taste has it often described as being an acquired taste.
While Greeks and tourists alike are very strong devotees of Greek wines, exports are relatively weak. Part of the problem is that retsina is so closely identified with Greek wines in general that prejudices regarding the country's wines survive abroad.