According to archaeologists, Greece winemaking started in the Neolithic period (8,500- 4,500 B.C.) and it evolved during the Minoan and the Mycenaean times. The Ancient Greeks believed that wine was a gift from the gods and they frequently organized festivals to honor Dionysus, the god of wine. In fact, wine cultivation has been an integral part of Greek agriculture along centuries. Although during the Byzantine period the grapes were mostly cultivated by monasteries, this fact led to the continuation of wine cultivation until today, where modern technology is applied to produce an even greater variety.
One of the most notable areas cultivating wine in Greece is the island of Samos, which produces fine quality wines since the ancient times. The oldest citation refers to the Muscat grapes which grow in the mountainous vineyards at the northern part of the island. Greeka.com talked to Mr Giannis Parasiris, member of the Union of Vinicultural Cooperatives of Samos, who explained why the wine of Samos is so popular. The union was founded in 1934, aiming to support the cultivators of the island and protect their rights from the traders. The union has also created a museum to show the historical course of winemaking in Samos.
What is the secret of success that makes the Samian wine so popular?
The wine of Samos has retained its recognition due to the trustworthiness and stability in the quality and price. According to specialists, our sweet wines have the best correspondence of price and quality in the world. Both Samian dry and sweet wines carry an exquisite harmony with bursts of aromatic fruits and flowers, the basic characteristics of the Muschat wine variety of Samos.
Which wine varieties are cultivated on the island?
The White Muscat with small grapes covers the 98% of the vineyards in Samos.
Which are the most well-known Samian wines?
Samos Vin Doux is the most well-known wine among Greece and other parts of the world, except France, for its exquisite quality and harmony and also for the affordable price. In France particularly, Samos Grand Cru is the most popular sweet wine, as it has great taste. Its finesse and delicacy allows it to compete with the very best French wines. Among the dry wines, Psiles Korfes (High Mountains) has rapidly increased its value for the freshness and crispy acidity.
Which countries consume the most of Samian wine?
France is the country that makes use of almost 60% of our annual wine production. Samos wine is exported to countries like USA, Canada, China, Japan, Belgium and England, in a total of 18 countries.
When was the Wine Museum founded?
The Samian Wine Museum was founded in 2005 in order to accentuate the tradition and history of our wine. The museum is hosted in the headquarters of the union at the region of Malagari. It has several rooms that take visitors into a short trip to the difficult years of vine cultivation, from the past until today. The museum comprises numerous old barrels, cultivating tools which have no use nowadays, old posters and prizes from wine competition. Furthermore, the Museum hosts a special atmospheric place where visitors can taste different varieties of wines.