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The History of Greek Sparkling Wines

Grapes hanging on the vine
It might surprise you when we tell you that the Greeks were viticulture pioneers.

You may initially associate wine, both still and sparkling, more with France, Spain, and Italy, but without the Greeks, we may not enjoy quite as many varieties as we’re able to today - Aphrodise is one such example of what Greek grapes are capable of. 
With roots that stretch back to the Ancient Greeks, we’re looking at where winemaking in Greece began, how it’s evolved, and the legacy that is still honored today.  

Athens ruins

The unique position of Greece between the Aegean, the Mediterranean and the Ionian seas, plus the sheer diversity in the terroirs found across the country, means that there are plenty of indigenous grape varieties for them to have explored.

Locations with particularly rich histories in winemaking include Zitsa, in the mountainous region of Epiru, the northwestern area of Thrace, and the island of Crete, where artifacts have been discovered that suggest wine making on something of a professional scale.

Of course, no mention of Ancient Greece can be without reference to its mythology, and there is, unsurprisingly, a Greek wine god, Dionysus; an indication of how highly wine was regarded in this era.

View of Athens
Harvesting grapes

The 1970s saw Greece’s winemaking take off once again, when investment was made into Greek vineyards that had fallen victim of neglect during the early 20th century. This investment meant that indigenous grape varieties were revived, and the whites, reds, rosés, and sparkling varieties that the Greek landscape is capable of could once again be explored.

Technological advancements in the world of wine meant that the grapes indigenous to Greece, such as Roditis, Savvatiano, Xinomavro and Agiorgitiko, could be properly honored, increasing the quality and consistency of the wines, including sparkling, that they produced.

Today, the production of Greek wine is thriving, thanks to vineyards with north-facing slopes and higher altitudes, giving Green sparkling wines a fresh, well-balanced flavor. Growing demand for both still and sparkling wines is testament to perfected growing and fermentation methods.

Decanter World Wine Bronze award 2024
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