Greek wine scores points in the US, Canada and Russia

Symposio gia to Elliniko krasi
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Symposium in Nafplion brings together communicators and winemakers.

Greek wine is breaking through in several important markets, say wine professionals from the US, Canada and Russia, who just completed a tour of Greece’s most important vineyards. According to testimonies from more than 30 sommeliers, wine writers, bloggers, buyers, educators and others, Greek wine is now being listed in gourmet restaurants across the US, is being referenced by well-established non-ethnic importers and is getting favorable reviews by the media, after years of waiting in the sidelines. “You might not know it, but Greek wine is becoming fashionable in the United States, especially in New York”, said wine consultant Steve Olsen at a one-day Symposium that took place in Nafplion recently, addressing himself to an audience of Greek winemakers and guests from abroad.

The Symposium was part of a week of visits to wineries and extensive tastings, organized jointly by the National Interprofessional Organization of Vine and Wine (EDOAO) and the Hellenic Foreign Trade Board (HEPO), as part of Greece’s campaign to promote its wines in non-EU countries, within the framework of the new Common Organization of the Market in Wine.

Greece’s “Wine Ambassadors” in the US, Canada and Russia took the opportunity to share their enthusiasm for Greek wines, citing repeatedly their “uniqueness”, their “sense of place” and their “food friendliness”. “I am constantly amazed at how fresh and lively both whites and reds are”, said Master of Wine and Master Sommelier Doug Frost.

“With their relatively low-alcohol levels and fruit-based characteristics, Greek wines are the ideal restaurant wines, so don’t be surprised when you start seeing them on more and more wine lists”, added Toronto-based sommelier John Szabo MS.

Last year the Greek wine industry adopted a long-range strategic plan for the promotion of its wines, based upon its top indigenous varietals. “Choosing assyrtiko, moschofilero, agiorgitiko and xinomavro as the driving forces for the whole industry, is an excellent idea”, said wine communicator Véronique Rivest from Montreal, Canada. “Greece is investing in its native grapes which, besides being unique, have the added advantage of an extremely long history. In fact, some of them are still grown on ungrafted vines, that is vines still unaffected by phylloxera!”.

Although moving at a slower pace, Greek wine is also making significant inroads into the Russian market as well, where consumers are sensitive to Greece’s long history and a common religious background. “It is a huge market with small doors”, said wine consultant Bisso Atanassov, “but Greek wine is already opening some of them”.