Sip, Savor, and Celebrate: Luxury Wine Tours in Greece

Vineyards in Greece

Why should you consider wine-tasting in Greece?

Greek civilization has had a long-standing relationship with wine. From legends of Dionysus to the tales of ancient Greek soldiers drinking wine before a battle, wine is a significant part of Greek culture. Visiting vineyards and going wine-tasting in Greece is much more than just learning about its history. It is an opportunity to explore Greece’s mountains, valleys, and terroirs (mountainous, continental, and volcanic), as well as meet the people who have dedicated their lives to making Greek wines using modern viniculture techniques while preserving their age-old traditions in boutique, family-owned wineries that comply with the highest European standards.

Varieties of Grapes Found in Greece

Greek vineyards offer a variety of grape varieties, including popular European ones like Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay. However, the real allure lies in the unique local grapes that give Greek wines their exceptional taste and color. Classics like Agiorgitiko and Xinomavro produce rich reds, while Moschofilero and Assyrtiko create aromatic whites. With over 34 (Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) locations and 100+ wines with Protected Geographical Indication, Greece has a lot to offer in terms of diverse and high-quality wines.

Greece’s Top Wine Travel Spots

Greece offers a range of top wine destinations that are worth exploring. With the advancement of wine-making, wine roads have been established throughout the country, offering vineyard tours and wine-tasting experiences. Whether you find yourself in Crete, Santorini, the Peloponnese, Macedonia, Central Greece, Attica, Thrace, Epirus, or the Aegean and Ionian Islands, you can expect to discover exceptional wine routes.

Greek Islands

In terms of Greek islands, vineyards can be found on almost every island, even if they are small family-owned plots supplying local tavernas. Some standout destinations include:

Famous for its Assyrtiko wines, Santorini is a must-visit for wine lovers. The island is particularly known for its sweet Vinsanto dessert wine, made with sun-dried grapes.

Lemnos, a volcanic island, specializes in the Muscat of Alexandria grape, originally introduced from Egypt. However, in recent years, the ancient grape variety PDO Limnio has also made a comeback.

With an ancient wine-growing tradition, Samos experienced its peak in the 16th century when the Venetians introduced Muscat grapes on the slopes of Mount Ambelos. The granite soil poses a challenge but is highly rewarding for wine-growers producing PDO Samos wines, the largest PDO for Greek sweet whites.

Kefalonia is known for the white Robola grape, which was also introduced by the Venetians, Kefalonia’s vineyards are located on the slopes of Mt Ainos.

Heraklion and Chania in Crete offer wine routes to explore. Heraklion boasts four PDO-level appellations, and visitors can also take the opportunity to visit the Palace of Knossos. Chania takes visitors into the villages situated in the foothills of the White Mountains, with vineyard tours and wine-tasting experiences available.

These wine destinations provide a rich and diverse wine culture in Greece, allowing visitors to immerse themselves in the history and flavors of Greek wines.

Attica

Athens, a European capital with vineyards you can explore. This unique feature is attributed to the three mountains along its northern border. While your wine journey begins in the city center’s wine bars, offering a taste of labels from across the country, you can also embark on the established Attica wine road. This initiative, led by local wine producers, connects wineries with various archaeological sites and natural attractions in the area. The primary grape variety cultivated here is Savatiano, commonly used in retsina production.

The Peloponnese

The Peloponnese, another region boasting a well-established wine route, is renowned for its Nemea wines, which dominate as the largest PDO zone for Greek red wines, primarily featuring the Agiorgitiko grape. Both the wineries and the rolling landscapes, where Hercules undertook two of his famous tasks, are among the most impressive in all of Greece.

However, wine production in the Peloponnese goes far beyond Nemea. The Arcadian mountains conceal picturesque villages, lakes, and vineyards, while the areas around Patras and Kalavryta encompass the largest PDO zones for Greek white wines (PDO Patras) and sweet reds (PDO Pavrodaphe Patras).

What’s more, a visit to Peloponnese wineries can easily be combined with explorations of some of Greece’s most significant cultural sites. For instance, you can tour the vineyards around Nafplio, along with visits to Ancient Epidaurus or Messene, and explore wineries near Ancient Olympia. Similarly, in the southern Peloponnese, destinations like Monemvasia, Mani, and Pylos offer unparalleled cultural and wine experiences that can be savored together.

Northern Greece

Northern Greece offers an essential aspect of any wine tour across Greece. It is a region that is home to the innovative network of wineries in the north. While Nemea and Agiorgitiko dominate the wine scene in the Peloponnese, in northern Greece, Naoussa and the Xinomavro grape take center stage. The journey along this captivating wine route commences from Veria and includes a visit to Philip of Macedon’s tomb in Vergina. Additionally, there are well-established wine routes in Halkidiki, featuring grapes like Limno, which was even mentioned by Aristotle, and a wine trail around Thessaloniki.

No matter where your wine exploration leads you in northern Greece, you’ll find it to be a truly enriching experience. Wineries around Mt. Olympus and Epirus guide you through some of the most breathtaking landscapes in Europe. Moreover, there’s a Dionysus wine route around Kavala, aptly named after the nearby Mt. Pagaion, which was a hub of Dionysian worship in ancient times.

Furthermore, a visit to wineries near Goumenissa can be seamlessly combined with an excursion to Ancient Pella, the birthplace of Alexander the Great. In western Macedonia, the PDO Amyntaion zone is renowned for its two lakes, Vegoritida and Petra, and its proximity to Nymfaio, a traditional Macedonian settlement adjacent to a bear sanctuary. This region offers a unique opportunity to explore some of Greece’s most remote and pristine landscapes.