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Domaine Carras

The Greek winery with headquarters in Thessaloniki in the region Macedonia was founded in the early 1960s by ship magnate and multi-millionaire Ioanni Carras (1905-1990). However, the winery was always "just" part of a huge project with some hotels, marina, golf course, etc. Carras' ambitious goal was to initiate a new era in winemaking in his homeland and to offer the best wine Greece to produce. The total property with all facilities covers 1,800 hectares, the terraced vineyards with 475 hectares are located on the shores of the Aegean Sea on Sithonia, the middle finger of the Chalkidiki peninsula. They form the entire appellation Côtes de Meliton (Playies Melitona). The use of French terms is chosen deliberately, because it is based on the grape varieties, the vinification and the expansion of the French model.

A number of methodological experiments have begun in an area that was not used in any way for viticulture. Under the supervision of experts, professors from the University of Thessaloniki, and Professor Émile Peynaud (1912-2004) from the University of Bordeaux began extensive work. In part, the forest was preserved to serve as a natural barrier against the wind and too high temperatures. Whole mounds were reshaped by bulldozers to achieve better sun exposure. The first vineyards were planted in 1965.

27 different grape varieties were cultivated, including 13 French and 14 Greek. Studies have shown that the French vines thrive better at higher elevations (300 to 400 meters), the native ones at about 200 to 300 meters. The vineyards are planted with the French varieties Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Cinsault, Sauvignon Blanc, Ugni Blanc and the indigenous varieties Assyrtiko, Athiri, Limnio, Malagouisa, Roditis and Xynomavro. 60% are white wine and 40% red wine. The first harvest took place in 1972, but due to various major problems, all the wine had to be destroyed.

The responsible butler was dismissed and the well-known winemaker Evangelos Gerovassiliou was hired. The French-oriented wines are aged in French oak and marketed under the name "Côtes de Meliton". The premium red wine "Château Carras" is blended from Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Limnio. Under the brand "Domaine Porto Carras" wines are produced mainly from Greek varieties. From the beginning of the 1990s there were big financial problems, after the year 1997 there was a total standstill. Since 2002, the entire property and winery owned by the Technical Olympic Group of Companies. All vineyards are now under the guidelines of organic viticulture cultivated.

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