If there is one country that seems to have an almost unfair advantage over others, it is probably Greece, with its philosophy, literature, theatre, Olympic Games, democracy, exquisite landscapes, and of course, its long history of winemaking.
Did you know that there is proof of Greece being one of the oldest wine-producing regions in the world? Household winemaking existed here as far back as 6500 years!
In fact, the ancient Greeks traded wine as a commercial product for centuries. Today, we are exploring the Peloponnese, one of the most historic wine regions of Greece—rich in ancient ruins that speak of a glorious past, and replete with lush vineyards.
Nemea, Peloponnese is famous for its indigenous grape varieties, which include the white Roditis, Sklava, Moschofilero, and the red Agiorgitiko. The region also cultivates international varieties such as Chardonnay, Viognier, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Merlot. The Peloponnese region has “AOC” or “Vin d’Appellation d’origins Control” status, a label of quality and guarantee of origin conferred only on specific areas that can produce distinct wines that are consistent in character.
Most of Greece’s vineyards, wineries and registered types of wines are in the Peloponnese, making it ideal for the wine tourist. Add historical and archaeological sites, museums, a magnificent coastline, adventure tourism and much more, and it makes for the perfect wine trail holiday.
A word about the most famous grape variety of the Nemea region: Agiorgitiko, or St. George, is named after the first Byzantine Church in the town. This grape produces an excellently balanced, full-bodied red wine with berry fruit flavors, and tannins. You will meet many delicious wines made from Agiorgitiko, among others, during your Peloponnese wine trail, so we recommend packing your VinGardeValise® for the selection of wines you are sure to bring back.
There are more than thirty wineries and vineyards that welcome visitors in the Peloponnese. We have chosen five unique, award-winning wineries whose wines are accepted as some of the best in the world.
Achaia Clauss Winery
Founded in 1854 by Gustav Clauss of Bavaria, Germany, the Achaia Clauss Winery is located on a hill around eight kilometers from the city of Patras, in northwest Peloponnese. It is considered one of the top tourist attractions in the region. The winery’s owner initially produced the now legendary Mavrodaphne and Muscat of Patras wines for his own consumption. These became so popular that he started commercial production in 1861 in his castle-turned-winery. In 1873, he introduced Mavrodaphne and Muscat in cork finished bottles, followed by Demestica from the village of Demestiha in 1880. In 1901, Demestica became the Greece’s first bottled dry wine.
Legend has it that the Nazis loved the Mavrodaphne so much that they spared the winery during their invasion of Greece in WWII. The winery changed hands after the passing of Gustav Clauss, and is now owned by Nikos Karapanos, who continues the traditional wine production methods.
Today, Achaia Clauss Winery is among the largest in Greece and exports to over forty-two countries. The winery has won many international awards and medals, and currently makes 32 wines and four spirits, ranging from young wines to boutique-style wines.
Quoting from their website,
“The stone buildings, the large carved oak barrels with one century-old Mavrodaphne, the traditional Cava Danielis for welcoming visitors, the new “Varelatiko” museum, but also the unique landscape with magnificent views attract thousands of visitors every year.”
When you visit, enjoy breath-taking views of the landscape around this ancient winery and explore the nineteenth century stone buildings. See their massive oak wine barrels, and don’t miss the one with the century-old Mavrodaphne wine. Do bring home some in your VGV® !
TripAdvisor rating: 4.5 stars, 209 reviews
· Wine castle tour
· Tour includes free glass of the Mavrodaphne
· Tour and wine tasting of selected wines, with snacks
· Educational programs for schools and universities
· Religious tourism
· Wine connoisseurs tour and tasting of selected wines
Achaia Clauss Winery
Petroto of Patras,
Phone: +30 2610 580100
Languages: English, Greek
Domaine Skouras Winery
In 1986, oenologist George Skouras established the Domaine Skouras Winery at Pyrgela, a small village outside Argos, off the Athens-Tripoli highway. He built two more wineries subsequently at Ghymno and Malandreni.
The wines produced by Skouras are made from native and international grapes, and in 1988, it launched its pioneering Megas Oenos label, being the first to blend the native Agiorgitiko with Cabernet Sauvignon.
Skouras wines are stylish, individualistic, and modern Greek classics. Don’t be surprised to see the winery owner taking you on a tour of the winery and its cellar where you will see over 1000 barrels. The picturesque surroundings of the winery offers exquisite views of the landscape, all the way to Mycenae in the north, Argos in the east and undulating mountains in the south and west.
According to their website:
“The whole viticultural team works, observes, supervises, acts and reacts, advises and consults with only one aim: achieving optimum ripeness, obtaining the best possible grape. The better the fruit harvested, the better the wine. Skouras wines are thrilling and all show the hallmarks of their creator: intensity, vibrancy and complexity, all expressed with elegance, grace and nobility. In Domaine Skouras, the wines are engraved by the character of their terroir.”
Tip: In their wine shop, they sell wines you may not find elsewhere, so don’t forget to check those out.
TripAdvisor rating: 5 stars, 65 reviews
· New wine bar and lounge
· Spacious visitors’ wine tasting, lecture, and exhibition hall
· Wine tastings, winery tours and presentations
· Tasting includes four wines, served with local cheese and bread
· Prior booking mandatory for winery tours and tasting
· Skouras Wine Club membership
· Onsite wine shop with discounted pricing on wines; also sells wine accessories and books
· Children’s reception area, includes a treat
Domaine Skouras Winery
10th km Argous – Sternas,
Μalandreni, Argos 212 00,
Phone: Tel: (+30) 27510-23688
Languages: English, Greek, German, French
Monemvasia Winery was established in 1997 in Velies, Monemvasia, Laconia. One of the highlights of this winery is its beautiful location and castle. Its Monemvasia-Malvasia wine is named after the area, and has dominated several markets since the twelfth century. Living up to this tradition, Monemvasia Winery now produces high profile bottled wines under its trade names Kastropolitia, Maleatis, Laloudi, Monamvasios, Laconicos, and Anthosmias, including wines from grape varieties Asyrtiko, Kidonitsa, Asproudi and Fileri. The winery has hosted research programs that recorded fourteen vine varieties from the area, based on which they produce a sweet wine made of sun-dried grapes. Besides winning several awards, the winery has been named as the best new business in the Peloponnese region.
When you visit Monemvasia Winery, expect a trip through history in sublime surroundings. Here is what they say about their unique Malvasia wine on their website:
“Starting on the 12th century and for the subsequent 300 years, this wine ruled the European world. It is still being produced in many countries … but it is not produced in its country of birth, Greece, from which it took its name – Malvasia – which is the Frankish name for Monemvasia … For twelve years, Monemvasia Winery persistently and consistently studied the features of local grape varieties, an adventure marathon with many battles on the way … Armed with the research results and experimental vineyards, Monemvasia Winery, has produced, experimentally, ‘Malvasia’ sun-dried sweet wines with exceptional results. Monemvasia Winery bottled the “Monemvasia-Malvasia” wine 2010 for the first time in the year 2013!”
You will definitely want to bring back this historic wine in your VGV®!
TripAdvisor rating: 5 stars, 8 reviews
· Fully equipped tasting room can accommodate more than 50 people.
· Free tours of the vineyard, winery, cellar, and tasting room
· Tours last 30-40 minutes
· Wine tasting includes 5-10 wines served with local cheese and bread
· Wine shop at Monemvasia Winery offers 30% discount; sells wines not available in the market
Velies Monemvasias, 23070 Lakonia,
Phone: +3027320 53096
Languages Greek, English
The charming Lafkiotis Winery was established in 1963 in Ancient Cleonai, Corinthia, in the wine zone of Nemea, close to the temple dedicated to Hercules. According to legend, Hercules drank a red Agiorgitiko wine before he set out to slay the Nemean lion, and hence these wines are referred to as the blood of Hercules.
The Lafkiotis family produces wines from strictly selected grapes and processed in modern facilities. The wines are aged in French oak barrels in environment-controlled cellars. The ambiance in the winery is warm and hospitable, where you can enjoy wine tasting with a meal or a mini-meal in the elegant stone-and-wood décor.
According to their website,
“The particular micro-climate of the region allows the cultivation of local varieties, the most important of which is the charismatic red Agiorgitiko. It literally means the wine of the Agios Georgios which was the former name of the modern town of Nemea. This particular variety yields the excellent AOC red wines of the region.”
Enjoy this winery’s Agiorgitiko, Agionimo, Rose, Nemea, Rodamos reds, and their invigorating fruity Moschofilero white, and of course, Retsina. There’s plenty to make your VGV® —and you—happy!
TripAdvisor rating: 5 stars, 3 reviews
· Tasting room
· Wine tasting with a meal or mini-meal
· Tasting includes four wines with gruyere and bread
· Special wine tastings arranged on request
· Guided tour of the tasting room and wine aging cellar
· Wine shop with discounted pricing and special packaging
Ancient Cleonai Corinthia
Phone: 2746 0 31000
Languages: English, Greek
The family-owned Palivos Estate, established in 1995 by George Palivos, is located just steps away from the temple of Zeus in Ancient Nemea, about an hour’s drive from Athens. The vineyards have been in the family for 150 years and today, the estate owns one of the two largest vineyards in Nemea. Agiorgitiko is the flagship grape for its wines that are recognized worldwide, along with Roditis, Malagouzia, Chardonnay, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah.
George Palivos believes that wine is made in the vineyard, not in the winery. At harvest time, along with his family, he is the first to inspect the grapes before they are handpicked. The classic vinification process takes place in the state-of-the-art winery in stainless steel tanks and French oak barrels.
As George Palivos quotes,
“behind the wine is the vine grower
and back through the years his skills;
and behind of it all, are the vines, the sun, the rain and master’s will..”
The Palivos Estate invites you to relish its portfolio of reds, whites, and rosé wines in its delightful winery, buy your favorites at its retail store, and perhaps explore the area.
#palivouestate #ancientnemea #agiorgitiko #palivouvineyards
TripAdvisor rating: 4.5 stars, 35 reviews
· Vineyards and winery tour
· Tour is free for Greeks, and upon request for foreign visitors
· Wine seminar and wine tasting
· Wine tasting of up to eleven wines, accompanied by delicatessen, cheeses and bread.
· Greek meal at the winery for a group of ten
· Retail store onsite that sells wines, honey, vinegar, traditional pasta, herbs and more
· Palivos Wine Club membership
· Children reception with playground
· Sightseeing in Nemea
20500 Ancient Nemea, Corinth
Phone: +30 2746 0 24190
Languages: Greek, English, French, German
Did you enjoy the Peloponnese wine trail? How about combining it with a relaxing holiday, or perhaps a weekend retreat? As you savor original wines distinct to this region, take a break to explore the mountainside villages; visit historical ruins; spend time in the museums, and be enchanted by the natural beauty of this historic wine region of Greece. Bring home wonderful memories of your trip in your VinGardeValise ®!