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Aghiorghitiko vine at the end of May at the Koutsoujannis winery.

The approach to Greek wine is arduous. The first thing that comes to mind is retsina, the resinous wine that shapes most Germans' image of Greek wine. Then, at the Greek around the corner, there are the mass-produced wines of the large wineries, which do not exactly entice one to take a closer look at the subject.

Those who are nevertheless interested in Greek wine first have to overcome a few hurdles. It starts with the label. Not only an unfamiliar language, but primarily the Greek script, make access to the label almost impossible for an average European. Those who try to get to know not only the country and its people, but also the wine in Greece, encounter further obstacles: Street signs, signposts, house numbers and even signs on doors and houses are almost non-existent and if they are, they are of course in Greek script and thus very difficult to identify. If you find name signs in Latin transcription, you quickly come across another problem: the conversion from Greek to Latin script is not unambiguous, i.e. you find the same name in different transcription spellings.

Actually, one should invest some time to at least be able to read the Greek script. This way, one is able to clearly decipher all street signs and to find at least the most important information, such as the name of the winery, on the label.

These difficulties are probably the reasons why even the author of this article, despite his passion for wine and simultaneous passion for Greece as a holiday destination, has hardly ever managed to combine both subjects. Equipped with addresses, the Greek wine guide by Nico Manessis (which I was finally able to obtain in a new edition after three years of searching in vain), I set out in May 2002 with the firm intention of combining the subject of wine and holidays in the Peloponnese. Holidays in the Peloponnese have been a matter of course for my family for years. So we already know the country and its people relatively well. So what about the wine?

This article in the Wein-Plus magazine is the beginning of what will surely become, over the years, a deeper and better documentation of the wine of this region that is so fascinating for us. I would be very happy to receive hints, tips and criticism from readers.

Nothing for eternity...

The Peloponnese (I use the masculine article that is customary in German, even if the Greek designation makes a feminine article seem more correct) is a peninsula located in the south of the Greek mainland, which was completely separated from the mainland by the Corinth Canal. The Peloponnese is home to the strongholds of ancient culture such as Olympia, Mycenae, Mistra, Sparta, Epidaurus and many others. At the same time, the Peloponnese is surrounded by a wide variety of beaches that are not yet overcrowded compared to Italy and other holiday regions. Also impressive in the Peloponnese are the mountains, which rise up to 2,500 metres. These are all good prerequisites for a varied holiday.

However, if you are not prepared to forego alleged "virtues" such as punctuality, orderliness and reliability on holiday, you can only be advised to forego an individual holiday in Greece and instead be better off locked up in one of the tourist bunkers on Crete or at other package tourist destinations. "Prohiro" - This word translated means something like: unfinished, provisional, makeshift. At the same time, it is an important piece of Greek life mentality. Everything is somehow provisional. Cars, houses, streets, cities. Nothing permanent and carefully planned, but everything in a certain way unfinished. Eichheim (5) explains this mentality with the historical experience of the Greeks, that it is not worth setting up anything for eternity, because some war will come and destroy everything anyway.

For many holidaymakers - myself included - this mentality is part of the charm of this country. This uncomplicatedness is perfect for a holiday and one of the reasons why we keep coming back.

The most important grape varieties of the Peloponnese

Greece has an enormous variety of its own grape varieties. It is said that there are about 300 autochthonous grape varieties in Greece. The following are those that are most important for the Peloponnese:

Aghiorghitiko red The leading grape variety in Nemea and possibly the highest quality grape variety in Greece. It produces complex wines of high quality there. It is also known as St. George's vine or simply Nemea vine.
Mavrodaphne red The home of this variety is Patras. There it is mainly used for the production of liqueur wines.
Refosko red Grape variety imported by Mercouri from Trieste.
Moschofilero white Occurs mainly in Mantinia. It has a fragrance of roses reminiscent of Gewürztraminer.
Roditis white In the north of the Peloponnese. Produces fine spicy wines and is native to the whole Peloponnese.
Sideritis white Mainly found in the northern Peloponnese.
Lagorthi white According to (2) used by only three growers. First by Antounopulos. Aromatic.
Volitza Aspri white The main region of this grape variety, first cultivated by Oenoforos, is the Achaia region.

The classification system

In 1971, the Greek Ministry of Agriculture introduced a wine law based on the principle of origin, similar to the French or Italian wine laws, for example. In 1981, with Greece's accession to the European Union, the law was adapted.

Today, Greek wines are classified as follows:

OPAP (Onomasia Proelevseos Anoteras Piotitos) Dry and residually sweet wines from a specific production area for which certain parameters (grape variety composition, production methods, etc.) are laid down. The wines are marked with a red banderole. There are currently 25 such protected appellations, three of which are in the Peloponnese.

OPE = Onomasia Proelevseos Elegchomeni This is used to identify liqueur and dessert wines. There are three OPEs in the Peloponnese: Muscat of Patra, Muscat of Rio of Patra and Mavrodafni of Patra. However, compared to other Greek regions, especially Samos, this type of wine is not of great qualitative importance in the Peloponnese.

OPE wines are labelled with a blue banderole. Optionally, OPAPs and OPEs can be labelled with the attribute EPILEGMENOS (Reserve) and IDIKA EPILEGMENOS(Grand Reserve). For this, in accordance with the regulations in other European wine-growing countries, certain minimum requirements regarding barrel and bottle maturity must be fulfilled.

Only 10% of Greek wine production is appellation wine. The rest is divided into"Epitrapezios Inos" (table wine) and"Topikos Inos" (country wine). Country wines of the Peloponnese are: Peloponnesiakos, Playes, Petrotou, Trifylias, Pylias, Playes, Orynis, Korinthias Letrinon.

For table wines, the attribute"Kava" can optionally be used, which, similar to Reserve, marks certain periods of maturity.

Large wineries and cooperatives still dominate the scene

In contrast to the other European wine-growing countries, where most producers concentrate on their respective home regions, the assignment of region to producer is far from clear in Greece. Many producers, especially the large wineries such as Boutari, Kourtakis, Tsantali and - the one of the "big four" that has its headquarters in the Peloponnese - Achaia Claus, either have wineries all over Greece where they usually process bought-in grapes or they buy in the finished wine right away, which is then transported many kilometres and bottled. Since these large companies also have the necessary export power, it is of course mainly their wines that are available in gastronomy, food retail and specialised trade.

Another important role in Greek viticulture is played by the cooperatives. The often very small winegrowers deliver their grapes to them. About 40% of the Greek vineyard area is cultivated in this way. In the Peloponnese, the cooperatives in Patras and Nemea play a strong role.

For the last 20 to 30 years, a welcome change has been taking place: small producers, mostly based in their own region, are concentrating on producing high-quality wines instead of quantity. Mostly they cultivate their vineyards themselves and take care of the grape varieties that are suitable for the respective region. The cooperation between these producers is good. A friendly, collegial relationship instead of competition determines the relationship between them. Many of these producers are members of the E.N.O.A.P (Union of Wine Producers of the Wineyard of Peloponnese), an organisation that supports cooperation and collaboration. Any self-bottler can join the E.N.O.A.P, which so far consists of 40 members. However, according to Vassillis Kanelokopoulos, the president of this association, "Achaia Claus is not a member with us" and further with an ambiguous smile, "we are not sad about it".

The small, individual producers in the Peloponnese are to be discovered. Here we have a lot to look forward to in the future.

The growing areas in the Peloponnese

On the Peloponnese, about 1.5 million hl of wine are produced on about 60,000 ha of cultivated land. This is about half of the total Greek wine production. The history of viticulture in Greece is said to go back 7,000 years. In recent years, a very positive dynamic has emerged throughout Greece. Quality-conscious producers are beginning to make their mark in the diverse regions. Both with autochthonous grape varieties and with international varieties (Cabernet-Sauvignon, Chardonay & Co), wines are increasingly being produced that need not fear international comparison.

Viticulture in the Peloponnese is concentrated in the areas along the coast on the Gulf of Corinth in the north and the northwest on the Ionian Sea, where viticulture benefits from cool sea breezes; also the areas of Nemea and Mantinia in the higher areas in the east of the Peloponnese.

Below are the regions arranged in the order they would appear on a clockwise tour around the Peloponnese:


For the holidaymaker touring the Peloponnese by car, the ferry port of Patras, located in the northwest, is often the first contact with the Peloponnese. What you see here as a traveller is not exactly tempting for a longer stay. In terms of wine, this region plays an important role. With 4,000 ha, it is the largest appellation in the Peloponnese. Achaia Claus is also located here, one of the cellars that "attract attention" with Demestica, which is ubiquitous in German Greek restaurants. Another large producer is the local Co-Op, the cooperative in Patras.

Patras is the home of the O.P.A.P. appellation of the same name. This appellation stands there for sweet, alcohol-stopped wines from Mavrodafni and Moschato.

Antonopoulos Vineyards

Platia 23rd October
61300 Goumenissa
Tel: +30 3430 41293
Fax: +30 3430 43513

A. S. Parparoussis

Achilleos 2
Proastio Patras
26442 Patras
Tel: +30 610 438676
Fax: +30 610 420334

B.G. Spilioupoulos

Akti Dimaion 87-89
26333 Patras
Tel: +30 610 317054
Fax: +30 610 316663


East of Patras, Egion is home to another top producer:


The Oenoforos winery is located on a hillside near the village of Selinous, overlooking Egion. There, the oenologist Anghelos Rouvalis and Yannis Karabatsos produce modern wines. The cellar, completed in 1994, is based only on gravity. The vineyards face north. Wines of the autochthonous grape variety Roditis are produced there; but Chardonnay, Riesling, Cabernet, Merlot, Syrah also grow there.

Oeneforos is considered a pioneer of the modern wine style in Greece.

The annual production is 160,000 bottles.

Tel: +30 691 29451
Fax: +30 691 60380


Vineyards in Nemea

One of the three O.P.A.P. appellations of the Peloponnese. The grape variety Aghiorghitiko (St. George vine) is firmly linked to Nemea. The Nemea O.P.A.P. consists of 100% of this red grape. It produces complex wines with a red berry aroma. This is certainly one of the most interesting wine-growing areas in Greece.

The Nemea appellation has existed since 1971 and consists of the 14 villages of Neméa Proper, Archaia Neméa, Aidonía, Petri, Archaiï Kleones, Leondio, Psari, Asprokambos, Dafni, Kastraki, Koutsi, Bozika, Titani and Kefalari.

George Papaïoannou

The likeable George Papaïoannou

We visited George Papaïoannou for the first time in 2000. At that time we found him by chance, this year we went there specifically. The wines we bought at that time were so convincing - even under neutral conditions at home - that Papaïoannou was an absolute must for our tour.
It is relatively easy to find: the easiest way is to orientate yourself from the well signposted "Archilogical Site" in Ancient-Nemea. Coming from the access road of this archaeological site, turn right onto the main road between Ancient-Nemea and Nemea. On this main road, after a few hundred metres, you will find the winery on the left.
Considering the holiday (Whit Sunday), we did not dare to make an appointment. Instead, we tried it on "good luck". We met George Papaioannou, the owner of the winery, who manages the estate together with his father. He proudly presented us the barrique cellar, which was completed in 2001 (picture).
Papaioannou concentrates entirely on Nemea and the main variety there, Aghiorghitiko, 80% of which he grows in his vineyards. In addition, he experiments in small quantities with other Greek vines, but also with international vines such as Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonay.
In total, he cultivates 55 ha of his own vineyards.
In the evening, we couldn't resist opening his top wine right away, the Palea Klimata 1998. An explosive wine with lots of fruit, acidity and substance. Still much too young, but it has the potential to be a great wine that you have to look for a long time elsewhere for less than 10 euros.

Arhaia Nemea Cotinthias
Tel: +30 7460-23138,
Fax: +30 7460-23368

e-mail: info@papaioannouwines.gr


In 1997 Leon Karatsalos and Yannis Paraskevopoulos built their own winery in the Peloponnese near Nemea and named it Gaia (Mother Earth). Gaia produces one of the most expensive (the most expensive?) Agiorghitiko wines in the Peloponnese.

Tel +30 10 805 5642


20500 Ancient Nemea
Tel: +30 7460 - 24190
Fax: +30 7460 - 20191


Mantinia is the second O.P.A.P appellation in the Peloponnese. It is located south of Nemea at an altitude of about 600 metres. Moskophilero, a white wine variety with a rose scent reminiscent of Gewürztraminer, grows here to 85%. Accordingly, Mantinia is also primarily a white wine region. We decided to pay a short visit to the Mantinia region at short notice:

Ktima Spyroupoulus

Is generally considered the leading producer in Mantinia. Spyroupoulus is an organic winery.

Ampelones Tselepou

Part of the building of the Tselepou winery.

We decided to drive by there on the off chance. Unfortunately, we were faced with closed doors. Luckily we bought a bottle of Tselepou beforehand from Karonis, the wine merchant from Nafplio, so we didn't have to go home without a Mantinia wine.

For those who want to try it, here are the directions: the winery is located just outside the village of Rizes on the wine road there. Coming from Tripoli, drive south (Sparta). Shortly after Tripoli, the road branches off to the left towards Astros and Kastri. Follow the road until you reach Rizes. Drive through the village of Rizes. After the end of the village, the road forks. You can recognise the fork by a tourist information office directly at the crossroads. The wine road is signposted to the right. If you follow the fork to the right, you will see the farm on the right after about 1.2 km. (Photo)

14th km National Road Tripoli-Kastri
22012 Rizes
Tel: +30 710 544440

E-mail: Tselepos@Compulink.gr


Argolis is the easternmost growing area of the Peloponnese around the town of Argos. It does not have its own appellation. The leading producer is Georges Skouras, a dedicated producer who, according to (2), makes one of the best Argiogitico wines in Greece.

Georges Skouras

Skouras secondary winery in Gymno

Georges Skouras' heart is obviously not in Argolis, but in the Nemea growing region further north. As early as 1996, he built a winery in the village of Gymno, where grapes from the Nemea region are processed (see picture above). Directions: From Gymno (located southwest of Nemea) on the road towards Argos on the right. The building cannot be missed. However, it is hardly worth visiting. It is only a side business for processing the grapes on site.

We met him instead in his office, in his previous headquarters in Pyrghela near Argos. Behind him on the wall are the plans of his new winery under construction in Maladrenig, south-east of Nemea. He plans to open it in 2003. He will then give up his current main location. Even today, his best wines come from the Nemea region. After his racking in 2003 at the latest, he will clearly be one of the producers in Nemea, no longer in Argolis.

Georges Skouras in his office in Pyrghela

Georges Skouras studied oenology in France (Dijon) before starting his business in 1986, as he tells us, "with no money, a small cellar and a small bottling machine". At that time he produced 6,000 bottles a year. Now it's 750,000.

Skouras has a very wide range of grape varieties: Moschofilero, Chardonay, Viognier, Roditis, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and of course the grape variety that is most important to him: Agiorgitico.
We had the opportunity to taste his most important wines on site. Both the white wines (Megas Oenos Moschofilero 1999, Chardonay) and the reds were very convincing. By the way, we did not experience the always highly praised red Megas Oenos as leading, at least at the moment, but its Grande Cuvee 1999 from 100% Agiorghitiko.

The positive impression I had already gained at ProWein 2002 was confirmed. Skouras certainly plays a driving and leading role in the production and marketing of top Peloponnesian wines abroad. By the way, he already exports 50% of his production abroad. To Germany, 240,000 bottles go per year.

Domaine Skouras
2eme km Argos-Pyrghela
21200 Argos
Tel: +30 7510 23688,
fax: +30 7510 23159

Homepage: www.skouras.gr
E-mail: skouras@hol.gr

The wine merchant Karonis

Already in the year 2000 we found him after a long search: Dimitris Karonis, the wine merchant from Nafplio. Originally a distillery, he has now devoted himself strongly to the wine trade.

The dedicated Karonis in his shop

In his small shop he has a very select range of Greek wines from all regions. Of course, the Peloponnese is also well represented. We went to see him again this year. With our request to supply us with a box of the most typical and best wines of the Peloponnese, he was completely in his element. Even though we had to turn down some of his suggestions because these producers were on our programme anyway, he put together some examples for us with much love and competence.

It is relatively easy to find him: for one thing, he assured us, everyone in Nafplio knows him anyway. After all, his business has been around since 1882, so all you have to do is ask. If you don't want to rely on that, you can look for the very beautiful Sintagma Square in the centre of Nafplio as a point of orientation. From the square, take the north-eastern exit, turn right and after 20 metres on the left you will find his shop (see picture). So, a visit to Nafplio is worthwhile anyway. It's a very nice little town that's worth a stay. For a visit to Karonis, it's even worth a slightly longer diversions.


In the very southeast of the Peloponnese once lay the heart of Malvasia production. Nowadays, winegrowing in this area is rather the exception. I found two recommendable producers:

Yannis Vatistas

Yannis Vatistas planted other vines besides the traditional Malvasia vine in 1986. Today he has a wide range of international and autochthonous grape varieties. Unfortunately, we did not have the opportunity to visit him.

Xenofon Koutsougiannis

Outside of Githio, one of the most fascinating producers we visited has set up shop: Xenofon Koutsogiannis. After having had the campsite Gythion Bay there for over 20 years, he decided in the early 90s to plant Agiorghitico vines a few metres away. He planted 2.5 hectares of vines directly in front of his house and has been cultivating them according to organic methods ever since. At present, he still delivers his grapes to Tripoli and has them vinified there on his behalf. The wine, bottled after 18 months of barrel ageing, is then returned and stored in his warehouse. It is only sold when Xenofon Koutsogiannis thinks it is ready to drink. Currently (2002) he is selling his 98 wine. In addition to his main wine "Melanas", he has also been producing a second wine under the name Mavrodi since 1999, also from Aghiorgitiko grapes. This is sold younger and also drunk younger.

Five years ago, there was an attempt to use carbonic acid maceration. However, this attempt was abandoned and they decided to produce the wines conventionally.

View of the vineyards and his home

Planting wine here in this area undoubtedly requires a lot of idealism and courage. Why? He answered this question while we were standing in front of his vines and his house and I remarked how beautiful it was here: "That's why it's here". Indeed, it is hard to imagine that financial motives are his main motive. Neither his house, nor his warehouse etc. indicated that he is here to sell wine. Not even a name on the letterbox or a bell plate etc. did we find on his house. It was a bit of a detective game to find him at all, having only known his name and that he was based near Githion. But as Dimitris Karonis, the wine merchant from Nafplio, said: "If you are looking for someone in Greece, you don't look for signs, you ask someone on the street or at the post office". That's exactly what we did and found him.

Xenofon Koutsogiannis in front of Agiorghitiko vines.

But this is not to say that we were not welcome. In the mixture of nonchalance, inner peace and friendly, accommodating straightforwardness so typical of Greece, he answered questions, fetched his tractor from which it is easier to photograph his vineyards, "kidnapped" our children to see the Dalmatian puppies that had just been born, drove with us to his camp, showed us the flowers in front of the house and talked about his wines and philosophy.

As if it was actually unimportant, he told us about his far-reaching plans for next year: Then he wants to have completed his new company buildings on 1,200 square metres, in which he will process and vinify his wine completely himself in the near future. For him, however, there is no question that he will continue to concentrate on this region and on his 2.5 ha of Aghiorghitiko. He criticises the efforts of many Greek producers to make wine from all possible areas of Greece.

Incidentally, Koutsougiannis' office and probably also the one who takes care of such "annoying" things as sales etc. is his daughter Xenia in Athens. Information material, price lists etc. etc. can only be obtained there. Her father takes care of the vineyards and the packaging of the wine. Part of his production is sold in specially made clay coolers. Bottle after bottle is placed in a clay cooler, which cools the wine for transport and is also used later. The clay coolers are printed with a special machine from Japan, which he presented to us in his warehouse. For 2004, when the Olympic Games will take place in Athens, he has come up with a special idea. Then the clay coolers, for which he has his own patent, will be printed with an Olympic symbol. Surely a sought-after additional benefit in restaurants in the States and in Europe for guests who order one of his wines there.

Years ago, by the way, he also ran a small pottery, the remains of which we were allowed to look at. No, not just any pottery. Here, too, he put his own ideas into practice. For example, he added doors to the traditional Greek python so that it could be used as a bar.

We say goodbye to an extremely likeable, creative person. We will certainly visit him again when his new company buildings are finished. I am already looking forward to it.

Directions to his house: From Githio, drive south towards Areopoli. You then pass the village of Mavroroni. Outside the village there are three campsites. After passing the second of the three (Gythion Bay), there is a small, inconspicuous path on the right after about 150 metres, just before the "On the road pub". Follow this path until you see the vineyard in front of you. Drive around the vineyard to the left and you will find your house at the back, right next to the vineyard.

Tel: +30 7330 23930 and 23931
Fax: +30 7330 24436
23200 Githion - Mavrovouni

E-mail: Info@melanas.gr

Office in Athens (his daughter):
11 Nikis Str.
10557 Athens
Phone and fax: +30 10 3317861

Visitors are always welcome. Advance booking by telephone is advisable.

A little tip on the side: In the village of Mavroroni we discovered a taverna down by the beach that can be recommended. A very wide range of Greek food and even a small wine list with bottled wines. Just drive down to the beach and you will find the taverna at the end of the tarred road (see photo).


The southwest of the Peloponnese is a wonderful place to spend a holiday, but not exactly the heart of Peloponnesian wine growing. Although, according to greekwinemakers.com, a lot has been happening here in recent years. According to this source, the leading name in this region is:


Main road from Pilos to Pirgos 5.5 km past Chora comes Pirgos(Purgo). (Note: Do not confuse with Pirgos further north, which is written in the same transcription). In Pirgos turn right towards Mouzaki. After 4.5 km you come to the village.


Elis is certainly not known as a wine-growing region, but rather as the home of the famous Olympia with its excavations. Not far from Olympia on the coast opposite the island of Zakynthos are two dedicated producers:

Ktima Mercouri

The visit to the brothers Vassillis and Christos Kanelokopoulos was the end of our Peloponnese tour. It was a good ending!

We found the Mercouri estate - as always only by asking. In Korakochori, opposite the taverna, you leave the main road and go straight on. If in doubt, keep left twice at an angle and you will automatically reach your estate.

Welcome to Mercouri by a magnificent peacock

You drive a few metres through its vines and are in the middle of an idyll: immediately after getting out of the car, a camomile scent hits your nose. The ears are distracted by a peculiar sound. This turns out to be the cry of peacocks, which are often found on the farm. One of them immediately greeted us with its magnificent peacock tail (see picture). It took us a while to decide to part with it and look for Vassillis Kanelokopoulos, with whom we had an appointment.

Vassillis Kanelokopoulos(left) with wine friends. In the back on the left, Christos Kokkalis(report below).

We met him with a group of wine friends. There we got into the middle of a vertical tasting of "Ktima Mercouri", a Cuvee of 85% Refosko and 15% Mafrodone.
On a walk through part of his estate, where organic olive oil is produced in addition to wine, Kanelokopoulos explained to us the history of Mercouri: in 1870, Theodore Mercouri, the great-grandfather of the current owners from Trieste (northern Italy), imported the first Refosko grapes and planted his first vineyards with them. The regional name of Refosko is still "Mercouri" for this reason. In the course of history, the family's interest in viticulture waned; although vines were still cultivated, the grapes were sold to bulk buyers. In 1990, the current owners initiated a turnaround. They modernised the cellars. They also started using a clone of the Refosco grape from Italy, which they evaluated and found to be more successful than the original clone. In this way, they imported Refosco from Italy for the second time, so to speak. Besides Refosco, Mavrodaphne plays a role as a cuvee partner for the estate's main wine: "Ktima Mercouri".
At this point, in the report routinely delivered by Vassilis Kanelokopoulos, we had arrived in the middle of an olive grove. From there we had an overview of the bay of the estate. Yes, indeed: the Mercouri estate includes a beautiful sea bay from which the estate's wine was exported to Trieste in oak barrels as early as the 19th century.

Vassillis Kanelokopoulos in front of the estate's bay with the author's daughters (from left to right: Linda and Mona).

Mercouri has also been making white wine since 1994. This is not produced from their own vineyards, but the grapes are bought from vineyards near Olympia, which grow at an altitude of about 500 metres, which is suitable for white wine. After harvesting, the grapes are transported to the winery where they are vinified.

Mercouri can be visited Monday to Saturday from 9.00 to 15.00 without appointment. Wine can be bought on site. A small agricultural museum is an interesting addition.

By the way, Vassillis Kanelokopoulos is the chairman of the "Peloponesean Wine Producers Association".

27100 Korakochori
Tel: +30 6210 41601
Fax: +30 6210 41901

E-Mail: mercouri@otenet.gr

Christos Kokkalis

Christos Kokkalis, the pharmacist from Mönchengladbach, has his business in Skafidia. His wine "Trilogia" has already made a name for itself in some circles in Germany. The name is explained when you know that Kokkalis had to completely replant his vineyard twice because the first two attempts were destroyed by slope failures. This is now the third attempt. Hence the name Trilogia. Let's wish him that he doesn't have to make a Tessaraligia any time soon.

By chance we met Kokkalis at Merkouri

We met Christos Kokkalis at Mercouri together with a group of German wine friends although he actually lives in Mönchengladbach. At some point he went to Germany from Greece as a guest worker, later studied pharmacology and opened his pharmacy, with which he still earns his living today. Ten years ago, he gave in to his passion and bought his vineyard in Skafidia. I wanted to know if this meant he had one foot back in his former home country, so to speak: "No, no; he feels comfortable in Germany; feels neither Greek nor German, but rather cosmopolitan."

By the way, employees of his in Skafidia take care of the vineyard and the cellar. But when it is important or critical, he is there himself and takes care of it.

Actually, we wanted to ask him how to find his business. A few hours before our chance meeting, we drove all over Skafidia to find his business. There was even a big sign there, one of his German friends told us. "But it was already gone," was Kokkali's comment. We didn't understand if he was being serious or not; neither did his friends; a moment later he was already thinking about something else. Kokkalis describes himself as "a bit forgetful and a bit chaotic". This is obviously paired with his likeable charisma and his skills as a winemaker - in any case, we very much regretted that our meeting with him was so brief.

Christos Kokkalis
27100 Skafidia
Tel: +30 6210 54069

His address in Germany:
Sperberstraße 14
D-41239 Mönchengladbach
Tel: +49 2161 482156
Fax: +49 2161 41046

He does not have a homepage. Kokkalis' comment on this is, of course, not entirely serious: "What is the internet?"


Greek wine has a great chance to gain a foothold on the European market. Currently, the import share from Greece in Germany, for example, is only 1.6%, which was even slightly lower than in 1999. Greece could also profit from the "Italy effect": Holidaymakers get to know the country and the wine on holiday and want to drink the wine at home. However, this presupposes that high-quality producers, such as those described above, find access to the European market and do not just leave it to the large wineries. This requires appropriate marketing activities such as labels that are also legible for non-Greeks. Certainly a difficult decision for Greek producers. "We are very proud of our language and our writing," says Christos Kokkalis.

Another prerequisite to help Greek wine succeed abroad is to establish appropriate contacts between these producers and efficient importers. The consumer can give an impulse here through his demand behaviour. I hope to support this effect a little through my reporting.

This research of mine is a start. I will gradually complete the information in this article. Through research from a distance, but also through further research in the Peloponnese. I am very grateful for any support that can be given to me from outside. Please contact me if you think you can contribute one or the other piece of information.


E.N.O.A.P Union of Wine Producers of the Wineyard of Peloponnese
22100 Tripoli
Tel: +30 710 234838
Fax: +30 710 234838

Greek Embassy Berlin
Commercial Section
Tel: +49 30 236099-0
Fax: +49 30 236099-20

Sources and recommended reading:

  1. "The illustrated Greek Wine Book" by Nico Manessis, ISBN 960-85593-2-4. The only wine guide in English that I know of. With many detailed producer portraits and wine descriptions.
  2. Website www.greekwinemakers.com. Very detailed information on Greek wine. What is incomprehensibly missing is detailed address information on the producers or links to websites etc., not to mention directions.
  3. Travel guide "Peloponnese" by Michael Müller-Verlag, ISBN 3-923278-45-4.
  4. And it does exist: a reasonably reliable and accurate map of the Peloponnese. In Germany I have only ever found extremely inaccurate maps. Despite the apparently good scale of 1:300000, these are very inaccurate and often faulty. From "Road-Editions" we found a map on the scale of 1:250000, which is really useful. ISBN 960-8481-15-5. Can only be strongly recommended to anyone travelling to the Peloponnese. If you like it even more precise, you can use the detailed maps from the same publisher for the various districts of the Peloponnese at a scale of 1:100,000. For the Latin spelling of Greek place names (which is handled differently), I have used this map as a guide.
  5. "Greece" by Hubert Eichheim. Not a conventional travel guide, but a book that helps to know and understand the country and its people.

Greek script

Large Small Name Keyboard Pronunciation
A a Alpha A Branch
B b Beta B Victor
G g Ghamma G Any (before i and e) else Good
D d Delta D THat
E e Epsilon E Ebb
Z z Sita Z Silke
H h Ita H Inge
Q q Thita Q THanks
I i Jay I Inge
K k Kappa K Carnival
L l Lambda L Lamp
M m Mi M Me
N n Ni N Not
X x Kssie X keKSe
O o Omicron O Omelette
P p Pi P Pilot
R r Ro R anymoRe
S s Sigma S mauS
T t Taf T Table
U u Ipsilon U Inge
F f Fi F Error
C c Chi C iCH
Y y Psi Y PSychology
W w Omega W Omelette
In addition, there are exceptions for the pronunciation of
certain letter combinations. For details you should
literature for details.

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