Greek Vines and Wines

Facts & Numbers

Greece’s total vineyard surface has witnessed positive growth after five years in 2021 and stands at 1.9 Kha, about 1,5% of the global vineyard surface area.

Five varieties, Savatiano, Roditis, Agiorgitiko, Liatiko, and Xinomavro, represent almost 30% of Greece’s vineyard area.

Assyrtiko and Liatiko have experienced the most growth over recent years.

Greece produces more white than red wine.

Greece devotes 5% to organic viticulture (certified), one of the top 10 organic grape-growing countries worldwide (2021).

October 2022 / Nikos Panidis

Lexicon of Grapes

Assyrtiko (A-sí-rti-ko) 

A star white grape variety that makes exceptional wines. Its mineral profile, sharp acidity, and texture made it one of the most valuable grape varieties producing top-quality wines. It can be found in varietals and blends, such as the classical Santorinian grape composition with Aidani and Athiri or its more fruity version with either Malagouzia or Sauvignon Blanc. 2-5 years of aging in the bottle can add extra umami quality to the wine. Top, top, top!

Kydonitsa (Ki-do-ní-tsa) 

Its most apparent aromatic element in the wine is the kydoni, which means quince hence the name of Kydonitsa; Overall, distinctive, pure wine with lively freshness.

Malagouzia (Ma-la-gu-ziá) 

Welcome to the fruity powerhouse of Malagouzia. Threatened by extinction a few decades ago, it is today the most famous white grape variety in Greece. It perfectly captures the Greek summer’s essence with its aromatic intensity, full body, and balanced acidity—impressive orange wines.

Moschato/Muscat (dry) (Mo-schá-to) 

Muscat is the classic example of how a grape variety traditionally used to produce dessert wines goes beyond its typical style, giving excellent dry-style wines. The orange version can be powerful with great aromatic complexity.
Of the Muscat family, two are the most important in Greece. Muscat of Alexandria from Lemnos and Muscat à Petits Grains from which the famed wines of Samos derive. The acidity of the first can be slightly lighter than that of the second.

Robola (Ro-bó-la) 

It’s the pride of the Ionian islands to produce wines with delicate citrus aromas underlined by mineral notes and crisp acidity. An extra touch of texture and saltiness when natural.

Savatiano (Sa-va-tia-nó) 

Primarily growing in Attica, Savatiano never got the full attention it deserves since it has been used in bulk quantities to produce bland retsina wines. However, thanks to the efforts of small artisanal producers, its image has been revamped, showing that Savatiano can produce excellent fruit-forward and delightful drinking wines. Expressive orange style.

Vidiano (Vi-dia-nó) 

Native to Crete, it gives at its best beautiful wines, rich in flavor, texture, and chalky minerality.
A much promising grape variety that many wine lovers now appraise as one of the best white grapes in Greece. If you love Chardonnay, you will adore Vidiano.

Moschofilero (Mo-scho-fí-le-ro)

Delicate perfume – check
Flavor intensity – check
Natural high acidity – check
Light bodied – check
Low alcohol – check
Also, pale-colored rosés than the usual whites.

Roditis (Ro-thí-dis)

Mineral, high acidity, low alcohol. Superb orange wines, especially in blends with Malagouzia.
Lovely Pet Nat style.

Agiorgitiko (Agio-rgí-ti-ko)

The wines from Agiorgitiko can range from light, fine-grained glou-glou style to more densely structured with firm tannins and the potential to age. Modern, classic, with or without oak, extremely pleasing. Stunning blends with Mavrodaphne or Mavrotragano.

Limnio (Lim-nió)

Ancient Greek historians have referred to it as a varietal from the island of Lemnos. Usually, moderate in acidity with a distinctive nose of wild Mediterranean herbs and spices. Sometimes, it can be a bit sturdy with notable tannins.

Limniona (Lim-nió-na)

Uncompromised juicy freshness married well with elegant, fine-grained tannins. Beautiful, sensual nose and palate. Upcoming and very promising.

Liatiko (Liá-ti-ko)

Highly aromatic with balanced acidity, producing some excellent dry wines that can reach the quality level and texture found in an aged red Burgundy. Superb sweet wines. Blends with Syrah or Mandilaria can be good examples of powerful, aromatic wines yet with elegant structure.

Mavrodaphne (Ma-vro-dá-phne)

Historically, one of the most influential black grape varieties in southern Greece. Its name means black and laurel, referring to its color and distinctive aromatic profile. Although better known for its sweet port-like wines, dry-style versions have shown that the variety can achieve far more in style and quality than its sweet version. It is widely used to flesh out light-bodied blends.

Negoska (Ne-gó-ska)

Overshadowed by its blending partner Xinomavro, the time has come to celebrate its stand-alone varietal style as it gained great popularity among the Greek natural red wines. Soft in structure with a nice mixture of funkiness and fruitiness.

Vertzami (Ver-tza-mí)

Dense in structure with high, firm tannins. Broad palate of delicious red and black fruit.

Xinomavro (Xi-nó-ma-vro)

Definitively, one of the most intriguing Greek and south Mediterranean black grape varieties. The nose can display an incredible depth of red fruit aromas, tomato paste, and black olives—vivid cornelian cherry acidity with chewy tannins. After decades of aging in the bottle, it can develop a unique flavor complexity reminiscent of tobacco leaves, mushrooms, and leather—ideal for wine drinkers who do not seek easy-drinking wines.

White varieties

Pink skinned varieties

Red varieties