Northern Greece Wineries: Visiting the Source

Paying a visit to nine oenotourism stops in Northern Greece


Kir-Yianni: New arrival

The creation of one of the pioneers of Greek wine, Yiannis Boutaris, and now being run by his son Stellios, the Kir-Yianni estate on the foothills of Mount Vermio is poised to open its new winery to the public in May, promising a new, exciting experience. The tour will include a brief history of Xinomavro, a native grape that was salvaged by Boutaris and is now turning heads, a picnic in the vineyard or a meal on the veranda, as well as the possibility to arrange more in-depth tastings. The underground wine cellar is also something to definitely look forward to.

ΙNFO | Yiannakohori, Naoussa, tel (+30) 23320.511.00 • To reserve a spot on the tour, contact Trip2taste, tel (+30) 210.723.9791. Visits by appointment only • Tours & tastings cost €4-12.

Alpha: Tours in five languages

Set in the heart of a 100-hectare, family-owned vineyard, the Alpha Estate, in the beautiful area of Amyntaio in Florina, offers tours in five languages (Greek, English, French, Spanish and Italian) and attracts visitors from around the world. A force in the wine tourism sector, in 2015 it welcomed over 9,500 guests, who explored the facilities and tasted the wines. After all, the Alpha Estate was named Winery of the Year by Wine & Spirits magazine in 2013, in the 10th anniversary edition of the competition. The winery is located near some lovely villages and two lakes (where boat rides are on offer), while it also has an advanced tasting package.

ΙNFO | 2nd km on the Amyntaio–Aghios Panteleimonas road, tel (+30) 23860.201.11 • Open daily 9:00-16:00. Tours, which are conducted by appointment, are free of charge.

Pavlidis: Nocturnal harvest

Mountain views, a beautiful vineyard, minimalist interiors and a New World philosophy are the defining features of the Ktima Pavlidis estate, in the northern prefecture of Drama. Famous for its emblematic Thema series, the estate has been producing wines for some 20 years that have starred at international competitions such as the Berliner Wein Trophy, International Wine & Spirit Competition and Vinalies. One of the most fascinating aspects of a visit is the tutorial on the nocturnal grape harvest, a practice faithfully applied here so as to maintain the purity of the grapes’ organoleptic characteristics. Tastings are held in the underground cellar.

ΙNFO | Kokinogia, Drama, tel (+30) 25210.583.00 • Open daily 10:00-14:00. Tours are free, but there is a fee for the tastings, depending on the wine selections.

Gerovassiliou: On-site wine museum

A jewel of a winery, a perfect combination of functionality and good looks, the Ktima Gerovassiliou estate has a lot to teach about Greek and international, known and unknown varieties. Its excellent wine museum showcases objects from the personal collection of Vangelis Gerovassiliou, including rare presses, tools, barrels, bottles and a vast collection of corkscrews. The view from the reception area is enchanting, and visitors can look out onto the vineyard, the sea and Mount Olympus as they enjoy a glass of wine. Educational programs can also be arranged by appointment.

ΙNFO | Epanomi, Thessaloniki, tel (+30) 23920.445.67 • Open Mon-Tue and Thu-Fri 10:00-16:00, Wed 13:00-19:00, Sun 11:00-17:00, closed Saturdays. • Tours are conducted every hour and cost €5, including tastings and snacks. Advance booking is required for groups.

Domaine Porto Carras: The whole package

Overlooking the Toroneos Gulf on the slopes of Mount Meliton on Sithonia, the middle leg of Halkidiki’s three peninsulas, Domaine Porto Carras is Greece’s single largest organic vineyard and one of the largest in Europe following the French winemaking philosophy. Villa Galini is an impressive chateau structure based on Macedonian monastic. The vineyards, which cover 475 hectares, resemble an amphitheater around the modern winery. Visits to the estate can be adapted to individual requirements and may include a tour of the winery, Villa Galini Chateau, walks, picnics among the vines, horse riding, diving etc. Wine tastings, accompanied by cold dishes or lunch, are available. No visit is complete without trying the famous Greek Limnio. And to crown the wine tourism experience, the Porto Carras Grand Resort complex is renowned for its distinctive luxury and warmth.

ΙNFO | Sithonia, tel (+30) 2310.253.758, 23750.774.37/770.00 • Visits are arranged by appointment.

Averoff: Meeting with history

A visit to the historic Katogi Averoff winery can be combined with a stay at its excellent boutique hotel located nearby and/or a meal its restaurant (try the leek and meatballs or the veal with local hylopites pasta), followed by a drink at the wine bar. Climbing up the Pindos range, the vineyards at Yiniets were put on the Greek wine map in 1950 by politician Evangelos Averoff-Tositsas, who planted Greece’s first Cabernet Sauvignon vines and started bottling wine in the cellar of his house. The tour of the winery includes an informative video, as well as the chance to sample the voluptuous Rossiu di Munte Yiniets.

ΙNFO | Metsovo, tel (+30) 26560.314.90 • Open daily 10:00-16:00. Tours are free; tastings (by appointment) start at €4 per person, while you can also arrange for food.

Biblia Chora: Organic principles

Besides the unique quality wines that it boasts, Biblia Chora represents the culmination of a long friendship and cooperation between two leading Greek oenologists – Vangelis Gerovassiliou and Vassilis Tsaktsarlis. The tasting room, which overlooks the cellars where wines are aged, sum up this vineyard’s philosophy: the marriage of technology and tradition. The vineyard’s 45 organically cultivated hectares are situated on the slopes of Mount Pangeon, where a modern winery welcomes wine lovers to initiate them into its secrets in English, Greek and German.

ΙNFO | Kokinohori, Kavala, tel (+30) 25920.449.74. Mon-Fri 9:00-14:00. • Free tours and tastings, by appointment.

Wine Art: Modern & elegant

Overlooking Mount Pangeo, which in antiquity was associated with the cult of wine god Dionysus, lies the village of Mikrohori, home to a modern winery consisting of two sites linked by a tunnel. This impressive underground passage also serves as the wine cellar, with red and white wines maturing in hundreds of French oak barrels. Greek, French and Italian varieties are grown on the estate, while the entire production process is constantly monitored by a central computer system. The tour takes visitors through the production area and cellars, with cheese and sausages offered along the way.

ΙNFO | Mikrohori, Drama, tel (+30) 25210.836.26. Open Mon-Fri 8:30-16:30. •  Visits are arranged by appointment.

WINE ROADS OF NORTHERN GREECE

The Wine Producers Association of the Northern Greece Vineyard has created eight routes connecting the vineyards of Thessaly, Epirus, Macedonia and Thrace. With stops at 41 wineries, gastronomic points of interest, cultural monuments and natural beauty spots, the wine landscape of northern Greece has so much to offer the visitor. Route maps are available for download from www.wineroads.gr.



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