Aegean Islands



Wine is deeply rooted in the culture of the Aegean Islands, as they represent the route via which vine cultivation and wine entered mainland Greece and effectively Europe as a whole. 

Homer mentions “Pramneios Oinos”, an “Ikarian red wine” in Odyssey. The central Aegean Island Ikaria is famous with its red variety Fokiano and endemic white grape Begleri.

Hometown of philosopher and mathematician Pythagoras and philosopher Epicurus, East Aegean Island Samos, is famous for wine production since ancient times. Samos’ Muscat Blanc or Muscat à Petits Grains was highly regarded in the ancient world and transported in faraway lands.


Further north lies the majestic island of Lesvos, home of the Arts of Poetry and Music and made famous by notable laureates Sappho, Alcaeus and Arion during the ancient times but also by the local wine made by the grape variety Chidiriotiko.


North Aegean Island Lemnos, just across from the ancient city of Troy, has been in the centre of legendary stories whereby wines have been exchanged to ensure peace among different powers in ancient times. Both based on Muscat of Alexandria grape, there are two PDO appellations in Lemnos, one for sweet wines and the other for dry wines. The red variety Lemnio originates also from this island.


The breath-taking Santorini has some of the oldest and healthiest vines in the World. Thanks to its volcanic soil, the vines on the island are naturally resistant to certain infections and drought. The combination of hot Mediterranean climate, scarce rainfalls, strong winds and high humidity defines the nature of its indigenous white grape varieties Assyrtiko, as well as Atheri and Aidani and red grapes Mandelaria and Mavrotragano.
In the centre of the island complex of Cyclades lies Paros, another island on the trade routes of the Aegean with a very long history in winemaking supported by archaeological evidence since the very early Cycladic Civilisation. Today wine production on the island is steady with prominent grape varieties, the imported Malagousia and the Aegean Mandelaria and Mavrotragano.


On the crossroads of ancient sea routes, wine producers of Rhodes have been shipping wines to different parts of the World since the 7th century BC. An important centre for the preparation of the final legs of the crusades as well, the island has benefited from the Court manners and taste preferences of its high ranked governors and officers during the medieval times. Long, dry summer days and mild winters along with sea breezes, some altitude and mostly firm limey soil, define the wine production on the island. Atheri by far is the most cultivated wine grape of Rhodes.
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​Aegean Islands Wines by Style

Red
White
Rose
Sparkling
Orange
Sweet
Red
White
Rose
Sparkling

Aegean Islands Sparkling Wines

Orange

Aegean Islands Orange Wines

Sweet

​Aegean Islands Wines by Producer

Afianes
CAIR
EAS Lemnos
EOS Samos
Garalis
Gavalas
Hatzidakis
Methymnaeos
Lyrarakis
Moraitico
Moraitis
Vakakis
Methymnaeos

Award-winning Methymnaeos Winery was founded in the remote village of Chidira, in Western Lesvos in 1985, and is the first professional winery in the modern history of an island with an age-old winemaking tradition, dating from mythical times. Its operation is based on the principles of the exclusive use of the unique grape variety Chidiriotiko, native only to the island of Lesvos, cultivation on volcanic soil near the Petrified Forest of the island and organic viticulture and winemaking. Furthermore, because of the sulfur and sulfur compounds found in the soil, they have been first-hand witnesses of the natural protection against disease the soil provides, both in the vineyard as well as in the bottle, helping them to achieve minimal intervention and practically natural wines.

Afianes

For more than 20 years, with love, persistence, faith in organic cultivation and a spirit of creative experimentation, Nikos Afianes, a local Pharmacist, has been growing on the impressive granitic island of Ikaria the two local PGI grape varieties, Fokiano and Begleri. In the course of making wines from experimental vineyards at different altitudes and different microclimates on the Western part of the island, a few innovative styles have been created in a limited number of bottles from these two grapes. Nikos’ wines defend the term ‘fine’ with their elegance, unquestionable quality and development potential with time, whilst they remain anchored to traditional practices and totally pure without any technological intervention or additives.

CAIR

For more than 20 years, with love, persistence, faith in organic cultivation and a spirit of creative experimentation, Nikos Afianes, a local Pharmacist, has been growing on the impressive granitic island of Ikaria the two local PGI grape varieties, Fokiano and Begleri. In the course of making wines from experimental vineyards at different altitudes and different microclimates on the Western part of the island, a few innovative styles have been created in a limited number of bottles from these two grapes. Nikos’ wines defend the term ‘fine’ with their elegance, unquestionable quality and development potential with time, whilst they remain anchored to traditional practices and totally pure without any technological intervention or additives.

EAS Lemnos

The Agricultural Cooperative of Lemnos established its winery in Myrina, the capital town of the island and within an area of 10 acres near Agios Nikolaos Port in the mid-20th century. Having made wine in reinforced concrete tanks until the late 1980s, it is now fully equipped with modern stainless steel tanks of of 35000 hl total capacity. The entire production is bottled and packed at the winery’s premises.

EOS Samos

EOS Samos is one of the oldest cooperatives of Greece, founded in 1934 and one of the largest wineries nation-wide, collecting the grapes of 2.200 member producers. All wines are produced and bottled in the two modern wineries of the Cooperative on the island and the total output reaches 5.000.000 litres of wine annually. The local variety Muscat of Samos characterises one of the oldest protected appellations of Europe (PDO Samos) and the wines made by it have obtained many distinctions in International Competitions and Fairs since as early as in 1937.

EOS Samos

Garalis

Manolis Garalis is a third-generation viticulturist. With an ambition to see his high-quality organic grapes turned into first-class wine, he launched his winery in 2006 and released his first wines in 2007. He cultivates Lemnos’ indigenous varietals, Limnio and Muscat of Alexandria, over 5 hectares of certified organic sulphuric volcanic soil. Garalis’ approach is minimal intervention without any addition of yeasts or other additives, in order to express this unique island terroir in its purest form. Limnio is the oldest referenced grape in the world, mentioned by Homer, Aristotle and other ancient Greek authors as “Limnia Ampelos” and has been on the island for thousands of years. Muscat of Alexandria has become the main grape since the 1920s when brought by Lemnian immigrants from Egypt.

Gavalas
Continuing a long tradition of winemakers, spanning over three centuries, the Gavalas family has been exclusively engaged with the vinification of a number of indigenous varieties grown on the island of Santorini.


They have been working particularly on the unknown varieties of Santorini, beyond Assyrtiko and they are the Santorinian winery with most wine labels produced by indigenous varieties, including the almost extinct Katsano variety, from which they produce a unique and notable white wine, capable of ageing slowly and gracefully. The combination of traditional and modern winemaking methods and the unique volcanic soil and open sea climate of the island assist them in producing fine and balanced wines of vibrant fruity character, refreshing acidity and unique minerality. Their Santorini Natural Ferment and Nykteri labels are very good expressions of the local star Assyrtiko variety, whereas their benchmark Santorini, in the iconic Aegean blue bottle, keeps on gaining fans.
Hatzidakis

In 1997 Haridimos Hatzidakis started an important chapter in Santorini’s wine making history by establishing his winery. He had earlier in 1996 started to replant small vineyard plots near the village of Pyrgos Kallistis, some of which abandoned since the earthquake of 1956. The first bottles of the winery, Santorini & Mavrotragano, were released in May 1999. At present the winery works on grapes grown on 10 hectares of vineyards found mostly in the villages Pyrgos Kallistis, Megalochori, Emporio and Akrotiri at altitudes between 70 and 350 meters and with mainly South or Southeast orientation whilst maintaining low yields.

Vakakis

Nikos Vakakis has been one of the most important and largest viticulturists on the island of Samos with 3 hectares of the privately-owned vineyard and another 3 hectares belonging to the extended family. He owns some of the oldest vine plots in the entire Aegean region with autochthonous pre-phylloxera plants of Muscat a Petits Grains reaching the age of centenarians, whilst the altitude of the plots, ranging between 250 to 1050m above sea levels and the very low yields of 5t/ha are unique and impressive. His youngest vineyard is planted with the red variety Avgoustiatis, brought from the Western Peloponnese, and is now 15 years old. Viticulture on the island of Samos is very much traditional, with the vines growing in “masies” or terraces, very much in Oporto’s style and manual harvest together with the employment of mules for the transportation of the harvested fruit is the rule here.

Moraitico

Originating from a family of viticulturists, George Moraitis established his modern winery in 2000 in order to make a small selection of labels based on the varieties traditionally cultivated on the island of Paros. The most important of these varieties is the aromatic Malagousia, which takes centre stage in his white and rose labels. Breaking away from stereotypes, both in winemaking and the presentation of his wines, he has created characteristic and personality evoking examples of Aegean island wines, pleasing and resonating at the same time. His vineyard and winery are certified organic and he applies minimal intervention in the winemaking. The total output of the winery is 25-30000 bottles.
Moraitis
The Moraitis winery is a 4th generation enterprise, focusing on tradition and an organic approach. The winery has been in existence for just over 100 years, situated on the picturesque island of Paros in the Cycladic islands. The vines are not irrigated and are un-grafted (one of the few sites in Europe able to do this). The vines are grown in the traditional fashion, crawling across the ground, intended to protect them from the hot summer winds (known as the Meltemi).


Lyrarakis
A family-owned winery in Crete, Lyrarakis was established in 1966, but it wasn’t until 1992 that they first bottled their own wine using the Lyrarakis name. They are based in the Peza appellation, in the village of Alagni, Heraklion. Vineyard area is comprises of 14 hectares, with gravel over limestone soils. The warm climate is tempered by the altitude, which averages 550 m.  Manolis Lyrarakis is a champion of local varieties, some of which have been rescued from near extinction. International varieties are also grown.


​Producers in Ionian Islands"

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