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Greek Wine Production to Decrease 30% in 2023

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Wine industry supports approximately 160,000 families engaged in vineyard cultivation. Credit: Maria Eklind / Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0

Greek wine production in 2023 is expected to drop by 30 percent, primarily attributed to the prevalence of downy mildew, the Athens-Macedonian News Agency reported.

The Greek Winemakers’ Association’s leader, Yiannis Voyatzis, disclosed this projection during discussions with Agricultural Production and Foods Minister Lefteris Avgenakis. Voyatzis emphasized the crucial role of Greek wine as a cultural emissary, contributing significantly to local economies and enotourism.

The landscape of Greek wine production is notably composed of numerous family-operated ventures, prioritizing quality-focused practices over intensive cultivation methods. With nearly 1,400 wineries sprawling across approximately sixty thousand cultivated hectares, the Greek wine industry thrives on its diverse indigenous varietals.

This industry supports approximately 160,000 families engaged in vineyard cultivation, further highlighting the integral role of Greek wine within the country’s socio-economic fabric.

Ancient Roots of Greek Wine

Wine is deeply woven into Greek culture and traces its history back thousands of years. Viticulture’s roots stretch back to the Neolithic era, nearly 6,500 years ago, while the recorded history of Greek wine began around the 15th century BC.

Within Ancient Greece, wine consumption transitioned from a sacred act governed by priests and rulers to a broader cultural phenomenon.

As society evolved, wine emerged as a vital economic asset. The creation of these city-states ushered in new freedoms, including land cultivation for vineyards and olive groves, ultimately giving birth to a small class of merchants.

Greek settlers carried their expertise in wine cultivation to colonies throughout the Mediterranean, introducing the art of winemaking to diverse regions. Athens, in particular, became a thriving wine market, trading Attica’s quality produce across the eastern Mediterranean.

Ancient Greeks had a distinct approach to wine consumption. Mixing wine with water in precise proportions as a form of self-control was customary.

Wine was even used for medicinal purposes under the guidance of Hippocrates. The vibrant deity Dionysus symbolized the essence of wine’s influence, representing the grape harvest, winemaking, fertility, festivity, and the colorful tapestry of existence in ancient times.

Oldest Wine in Europe

In April 2022, special news appeared regarding the history of wine in ancient Greece. The oldest European wine was recently found in northern Greece’s ancient Philippi, as reported by Aristotle University of Thessaloniki’s History and Archaeology Department.

This discovery confirms that wine production originated in prehistoric Greece. The remains of ancient grape seeds and pomace were uncovered in a 4300 B.C. fire-preserved house in Philippi. For over two decades, Aristotle University’s Archaeology Department conducted thorough archaeobotanical research, unveiling insights into Greece’s social, economic, and symbolic history.

Professor Sultana-Maria Valamoti, leading the Laboratory for Interdisciplinary Research in Archaeology and the PlantCult Laboratory, emphasized the significance of this work in shedding light on the social, economic, and symbolic aspects of life in northern Greece.


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