In 1911 Evangelos Kechris returned to Greece from Boston, USA – where he had emigrated and opened a restaurant – and one of the things he brought back was glass bottles for bottling wine. The conditions, however, were not ripe.
Later, in 1939, his four sons opened their own restaurant in Thessaloniki and made house wine for their customers with Savvatiano must from Karystos in Evia and Assyrtiko from the island of Santorini. Demand for the wine gradually grew and they started selling to outside customers, eventually, in 1954, opening the Kechris family’s first winery in Kalochori along with a retail outlet.
In 1984, the range of products was enriched with the traditional Doriki liqueurs, while the business was taken over by the eldest of the 10 (!) first cousins, Stelios Kechris, who had studied chemical engineering in Thessaloniki and later oenology in Dijon, France.
With his new-found know-how, Stelios introduced to the family winery methods that were pioneering at the time in Greece.
He also decided to focus his efforts on retsina, a popular white flavored with pine resin. He wanted to prove – contrary to prevalent perceptions – that this was not a product that necessarily had to be of poor quality. And he succeeded. Kechribari (Greek for amber) was launched on the market and it is a classic yet high-quality, elegant and intensely fresh wine.
Stelios’ daughter Eleni – also with studies in France, at Bordeaux – has taken over in recent years and the winery is now producing almost 1 million bottles a year, 30 percent of which are exported.
Tear of the Pine
This fine white embodies the philosophy of high-end retsina and has received numerous awards (Decanter World Wine Awards, International Wine Challenge, Mundus Vini). It is based on the Assyrtiko variety and aged in new oak barrels.
Lobster pasta, rich fish soup, salmon, shellfish, baked or grilled fish fillets, roasted vegetables, roasted feta, white meats and sundry Greek meze.