One of the oldest wine producing countries in the world with evidence of vinification dating back to 3000 BC. For years unfairly tarred with the stigma of Retsina, numerous new, boutique wineries have emerged in the last 30 years offering quality wines from the big range of indigineous grapes. Coupled with extensive classical and cultural sites, and a wonderful climate with long hours of sunshine, Greece is a great place to visit. With a series of unique tours, Criterion Wine are THE leading experts in Greek wine tourism.
The wine regions are spready widely over the mainland and the islands. The key geographical regions include Thessaly, Macedonia, Epirus, Attica, Crete and the islands. The important PDOs are Nemea, Mantinea, Naoussa, Amyndeo, Rapsani and Santorini as well as the luscious sweet wines of Samos, Limnos and other Aegean islands.
Greece has a huge range of indigenous grape varieties (most unpronounceable!), and the most important ones are – for whites, Assyrtiko, Malagousia, Moschofilero, Vidiano, Roditis, Savatiano and Robola; and for reds Agiorgitiko, Xinomavro, Kotsifali, Mandilaria, Limniona and Mavrodaphne.
Greece is Europe’s third most mountainous country after Switzerland and Spain. The climate is Mediterranean with mild winters and hot summers, though more continental further inland. The strong maritime influence comes from three oceans – Aegean, Ionian and Libyan. Soils are mainly limestone, sandstone, loam on sedimentary rock, and volcanic on Santorini and other islands.
Past Tours To Greece
We followed the footprints of ancient civilisations as we explored the lesser-known north of the country. We discovered diverse wine regions, off-beat classical sites, mystical mountain-tops, monasteries and stunning scenery. We went to the two main wine regions: Naoussa near Thessalonika and Drama close to the town of Kavala with some special wines. We dropped into some of the best Greek wineries including Gerovassiliou, Alpha Estate, Biblia Chora and Kir-Yianni, as well as the extraordinary mountain-top monasteries near the beautiful town of Metsovo. Truly a classic wine tour, in every sense.
A truly unique wine tour in Central Greece, not offered by any other wine operator. Amongst the wine regions of Greece, the vineyards of Central Greece are maybe the most diverse as far as soil and climate is concerned. They include the vineyards of Thessaly (Mesenikolas, Anchialos, Tyrnavos) and of Central Greece (Fthiotida, Viotia, Attica). Here many traditional vineyards but also modern plantations meet, and where we spent a fabulous five days exploring. Not just the wines, but the ancient monuments and heritage of this world-renowned country, and its fabulous gastronomy too.
A magical mix of the modern and the ancient. That sums up our 9 day tour around Athens and the Peloponnese. We held our breaths at the astonishing views of the Acropolis, from our hotel’s rooftop bar in Plaka, Athens. We plunged into deep pools overlooking hillsides, in historic Olympia. We exclaimed at the classical sites of Mycenae, Epidaurus and Olympia. We tasted heavenly wines, sighed over exquisite food, bathed in crystal clear waters and sighed over stunning scenery. And we could almost imagine the Greek gods smiling down on us benevolently, throughout the tour.
Crete & Santorini
Take sun-kissed Greek islands and add some stunning wines. And you get our incredible wine tour to the islands of Crete and Santorini. We stayed in the gorgeous town of Chania, the bustling city of Heraklion and the hilltop village of Pyrgos on Santorini. We sampled some outstanding wines in Crete from local and international grape varieties. When in Greece, eat delicious Greek food and enjoy warm Greek hospitality. And we did both in abundance. We also learnt about the Minonan civilisation at Knossos and Akrotiri. It’s a tour to be summed up in one word: perfection.