The Greek history of winegrowing began, so to speak, with an affair of the supreme god Zeus with the beautiful Seméle (daughter of Harmonia, goddess of concord), who gave birth to Dionysos the god of wine, joy, grapes, fertility and ecstasy. The antiquity Greece or on the basis of archaeological finds, especially the island Crete is considered one of the "cradles of European wine culture". Already in the Mycenaean culture in the 16th century BC (Mycenae = northeastern Peloponnese ) there was viticulture, whereupon found amphorae point out. Wine was an important part of the drinking culture of everyday life. The Greeks are among the very first, where wine as a valuable commodity acquired great importance.
Already the poet Homer (8th century BC) reports in the Iliad of wine as a home drink of the heroes described. Furthermore, the historians dealt with wine and viticulture Hesiod (~ 750-680 BC), the philosopher Aristotle (384-322 BC), the naturalist Theophrastus (370-287 BC) and the doctor Galen (129-216). On their colonization moves in the Mediterranean, the Greeks brought their vines and viticulture culture after Sicily, after the as Oinotria designated southern Italy, southern France and the Black Sea. Many methods have been used by the Celts and Romans. The Roman poet Virgil described the variety of grape varieties: "It would be easier to count grains of sand in Greece than the different grape varieties."
The famous port city Monemvasia on the peninsula Peloponnese was in the late Middle Ages under the rule of Venice a large-scale transshipment center for Sweet wines from the Aegean which were shipped from here to many countries in Europe. From the 15th to the mid-19th century, the Ottomans ruled the country, at that time lost by the Muslim alcohol ban the wine its meaning, only on most islands it was continued to a relatively small extent. Only a long time after the gained independence in 1830 and the pushing back of the Turkish influence, one began again to deal professionally with the viticulture as an economic factor and reactivated numerous vineyards.
Amongst the pioneers were some Germans, such as Gustav Clauss, who in 1861 was the still existing huge cellar Achaia Clauss founded. By the end of the 19th century, the vineyard doubled, but when in 1898 the phylloxera finally reached Greece, many things were destroyed. The reconstruction was relatively slow, because in the meantime, the demand for Greek wine had declined sharply. Greek winegrowing experienced a renaissance only with the end of the military dictatorship in the year 1974 and the accession of Greece to the European Union in 1981.
Greece, despite its strong maritime character, has a very high mountain range. The soils of limestone, granite and volcanic rock and the prevailing Mediterranean climate with short humid-mild winters and dry-hot summers have a favorable effect on viticulture. The often dry autumns usually produce fully ripe grapes with relatively little acidity. The majority of the wine regions is located near the coast with moderating sea breezes. To give the wines more structure, vineyards are deliberately created at high altitudes. The vines can be extended by the growth cycle build more extract and reach higher acid values. Another effective method of slowing down the Maturity date consists in the deliberate creation of vineyards on northern slopes. Viticulture is practiced, often on a small scale, throughout Greece on the mainland and all major islands. The appellations ( POP, earlier OPAP and OPE) in red:
In 2012, the vineyards covered 110,000 hectares with decreasing trend (in 2000 it was 131,000 hectares). Of these, 3.115 million hectoliters of wine were produced (see also under Wine production volumes ). There are around 300 different ones autochthonous Grape varieties that make up 85% of the area. Only in a few cases are foreign varieties permitted in quality wines. There are also large quantities table grapes and raisins produced; which is the most important variety...