There is one winemaking area in Greece, where tremendous financial investment has been undertaken in recent times: the northern part of the Peloponnese. During the last decade, new wineries have mushroomed and vineyard prices have risen steeply. There have even been some heated rows between some of the top winemakers in the pursuit of land of the very best terroir.
Markus Stolz is on the ground in the region and we are thilled to have his unique persepctive on these wines to share with you. Being based in Athens, Markus has easy access to the world of Greek wines and is able to offer us insights that can only come from personal visits, and relationships, with the local producers. Greek wines are an exciting, growing part of the market and worth learning more about.
Markus Stolz: An introductionMarkus Stolz, originally from Germany, lives with his Greek wife and his four children in Athens, Greece, where Greek wines first captivated him. He holds the Advanced Certificate of the WSET. Markus authors Elloinos, a blog that shares his passion for Greek wines and the Greek culture, and can be found on Twitter @elloinos.
The Peloponnese is the most southern part of mainland Greece. It is an area of utter and bewildering beauty, marked by a great number of mountainous zones. In fact, only very few low altitude plains can be found. The climate is overall Mediterranean with short winters and hot summers, but marked differences in humidity and rainfall exist. The poor soil conditions make it often hard to grow anything but vines.
Viticulture has existed for at least 4000 years, and the Peloponnese is one of the very first places on earth where wine was produced. During the Middle Ages, the Malvasia wines of Laconia were world-renowned and at this time also marked the high point for the wine production.
The Turks invaded Greece in the 15th century and occupied large parts of it until 1828. Under the Ottoman rule, the consumption of alcohol was forbidden and as a result, viticulture became neglected. It took another good hundred years after Greece regained its independence, for growth in winemaking to be resumed. The real dynamic wine production started only 25 years ago, and accelerated during the last decade.
Today, some of the most energetic and best-known vintners are to be found here. The Peloponnese is the second largest wine producing area in Greece. As can be seen on the map, there are 7 prefectures, with every single one having significant vine plantations.
Below I introduce the different Peloponnese wine regions and some of its most remarkable winemakers.