PDO & PGI Wine Producing Areas
in Northern Greece
he land or area from where a product comes is a key constituent of its identity. Wines bearing the marking “PDO” (Protected Designation of Origin” or “PGI” (Protected Geographical Indication” come from delimited geographical areas.
When we talk of PDO wines, all of their production stages are carried out inside the designated area, while grapes must also originate exclusively from the same area.
Correspondingly, with respect to PGI wines, the above relate to at least one of their production stages, while with respect to the grapes, at least 80% must originate from the particular area.
The geographical environment from where every grape originates is also reflected in the wine it will produce. The climate and microclimate of every region, the vineyard’s orientation, the altitude, the variety selected and, of course, the entire vinification process which will then follow, are all combined in that we refer to as “wine”.
The 6 PDO Zones in Northern Greece
Varietal composition: Xinomavro 100%
Varietal composition: Xinomavro 80% and Negoska 20%
Varietal composition: Debina 100%
Varietal composition: Xinomavro 100%
PDO Slopes of Mt. Meliton
- For white: Athiri, Asyrtiko, Roditis
- For red: Limnio, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc
Varietal composition: Xinomavro, Krasato and Stavroto (approximately 1/3 per variety)
PGI Northern Greece
- PGI Macedonia
- PGI Thrace
- PGI Epirus
Regional units, regions or towns
- PGI Holy Mt. Athos
- PGI Agora
- PGI Adriani
- PGI Velvento
- PGI Grevena
- PGI Drama
- PGI Epanomi
- PGI Imathia
- PGI Thessaloniki
- PGI Kastoria
- PGI Kozani
- PGI Nea Mesimvria
- PGI Pangeo
- PGI Pella
- PGI Pieria
- PGI Slopes of Mt. Vertiskos
- PGI Slopes of Mt. Paiko
- PGI Serres
- PGI Siatista
- PGI Sithonia
- PGI Florina
- PGI Halkidiki.
- PGI Avdira
- PGI Ismaros
- PGI Ioannina
- PGI Metsovo
- PGI Krania
Viticultural Varieties & Wine Styles
Xinomavro, the diva of viticultural varieties in Greece, reigns supreme mostly in central-western Macedonia. It is a multidimensional variety offering a wide spectrum of wines and which can produce, besides red wines with the capacity for long-term aging, rosé, white, orange style, sparkling, sweet, even exquisite viticultural distillates.
November 1st is established as the International Xinomavro Day
A proud red variety grown in central-eastern Macedonia and Thrace and one of the oldest varieties in the world, Limnio, which has been cited by Homer, Hesiod and Pollux, offers elegant wines which are usually worth consuming while they are young.
Malagousia, the “Cinderella” of the Greek vineyard, revived in Halkidiki and spread across the land. A white aromatic variety, full of liveliness and complexity, it is very popular and grown with notable success in Macedonia.
Asyrtiko, the variety from the Aegean and Santorini which made Greece known as a wine producing country all over the world! It is worth noting that Asyrtiko found a home away from home in Northern Greece, since the soil and climate conditions favour it, boosting its aromatic characteristics.
Debina is the queen of Epirus. A white variety, also producing a wide spectrum of wines, such as Xinomavro, while it is well known for the sparkling and semi-sparkling wines it produces. Debina is complemented in Epirus by two red varieties, Vlachiko and Bekari. All three of these varieties of Epirus cannot be found anywhere else save for Zitsa in Ioannina.
The area of Drama is renowned for the robust cultivation of international varieties, which include, besides the French ones, also Italian, Spanish and Portuguese varieties. Moreover, Drama has established a very distinctive style of white wine in the market, the blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Asyrtiko, combining the wealth of aromas of the first with the acidity and minerality of the second.
From Amynteo, Siatista, Holy Mt. Athos and Pangeo we get, besides the dry well-tempered wines, also sweet, sundried, late harvest wines and the monastic “Nama”, all ideal recommendations for aperitif or dessert wine.
Many Greek white varieties are common in the vineyards of Norther Greece, such as Roditis, Moschomavro, Moschato, Athiri, Vidiano, while there are also red varieties, such as Negoska, Mavrodafni, Agioritiko, Mavroudi, Mavrotragano and several local varieties.
Besides, several international, mostly French, varieties are grown throughout Northern Greece. The first Cabernet Sauvignon in Greece was grown in Metsovo, at an altitude of 1,050 meters. Tsapournakos, a clone of Cabernet Franc in grown in Velvento near Kozani, while the altitude in Amynteo and Kastoria gives us a Sauvignon Blanc with distinctively high acidity. One of the most impressive Chardonnay in Greece can be found in Krania on Mt. Olympus and Grenache Rouge is cultivated in Halkidiki with great success. Of the red varieties, Syrah is very popular in Northern Greece, producing wines with a style that rivals the appellations of Northern Rhone.
Other international varieties we come across in the vineyards of Northern Greece are: Merlot, Tempranillo, Touriga Nacional, Aglianico, Verdichio, Montepoultsiano, Tanat, Gewurztraminer and Semillon.
“Drink in moderation”
“Don’t drink and drive”
“Become the driver for your group”
“Alcohol & Alcoholism – Use & Abuse”
“The imprudent consumption of alcohol is a silent threat”
“Alcohol beneath the desk”
These are just some of the news titles or advertising messages relating to responsible alcohol consumption, in order to prevent the detrimental effects in health and in the safety of human lives.
From all alcoholic drinks, this website focuses on wine, which, in sharp juxtaposition to the “strong liquor” category is a traditional tabletop product. Moreover, it contains much less alcohol which, let it be noted, comes from the fruit producing it, namely the grape and relates to the alcoholic fermentation of its juice, a natural process converting sugars to alcohol.
Indeed, provided it regards a product with the PDO or PGI classification, then we can know the precise region from which it originates.
Vineyards and wine are inextricably tied to the history, morals and customs of our land, across all of Greece, where it is inconceivable for there to be a celebration, a toast or joy without wine. As a sealing wax of sorts, wine seals every joyous moment or any moment we wish to infuse with value and symbolism.
Moreover, the preference of consumers for wine has been ascertained in recent years in Greece, be it at restaurants, bars or even at home, where we are given the opportunity to familiarize ourselves with the product, to process its label, taste it in more comfort, by itself or combined with our food or some snack.
We, of course, refer to branded wine, the wine bearing the producer’s signature, which underpin responsibility, lawfulness and safety.
There are frequent references to laboratory research on the benefits of wine for our health, such as for cardiovascular diseases, memory, oxidative stress, blood pressure and more.
However, the consumption of alcohol is not recommended for minors, pregnant women, people with a personal or family alcoholism history, those suffering from liver and pancreas ailments, heart failure or other heart-related diseases and cannot be combined with medicines (consultation with a doctor).
At any event, the safe consumption of wine improves our mood and our quality of life in general, thus improving our overall health.
In compliance with the basic guidelines for safe wine consumption and based on a serving of about 100ml:
- Men can safely consume up to 3 glasses of wine on a daily basis.
- Women can safely consume up to 2 glasses of wine on a daily basis.
One should not drink more than 4 glasses of wine on any occasion (going out, dining, to celebrate or to mourn).
By selecting a bottled, branded wine we can stir clear of the increased alcohol content of hard liquor, but also of accidentally consuming a adulterated product, while we support legal distribution against the illegal, no-name and hazardous for our health bulk or jug wine, thus benefiting in terms of safety, quality and delight. From then on, it is up to the consumer to choose the style, category and price for the selected wine/label.
Wine has now become a trend, a fashionable and safe choice, leading to real pleasure. The more we come to know wine, the greater this pleasure becomes, since, as our ancestors proclaimed “wine gladdens the heart”, lest, however, we forget another noteworthy saying, “all in good measure”.
Raw material quality (grape)
|Produced from grapes with defined quality characteristics and limited yield per acre, thus ensuring high quality.||The quality of the raw material is debatable, since the focus is on quantity and the lowest possible cost for maintaining the vineyard, possibly by means of imports from abroad.|
Vinification and safety
|Vinified in licensed facilities with high hygiene standards, product quality controls by specialized personnel and services, rendering it as a product safe for our health.||Vinified under unknown hygiene conditions, in substandard facilities and using equipment of undisclosed suitability. The appropriate percentage of sulfur dioxide cannot, therefore, be ensured, while there is a possibility that various other additives, colouring agents or artificial aromas are used.
Moreover, checks by specialized personnel and services are not provided for.
|Labels are checked by the services of the Ministry of Rural Development and Foods, while in compliance with the Community legislation, labels cite all of the required information (type of wine, origin, producer, variety, colour, characteristics, lot number, alcohol content, the presence of sulfur dioxide), as well as the certifications by the competent bodies (Organic wines).||It is common for there to be no label, or a handwritten or poorly printed one, without any valid information. Indications such as “Organic wine” or those relating to the origin are frequently arbitrary.|
Promotion of Greece
|Promotes the good image of Greek wine to the visitors in the country, thus creating ambassadors for its reputation abroad.||Creates a negative image for all Greek Wines to foreign tourists, causing issues for the extroversion of Branded Greek Wine, while in parallel undermining the systematic efforts of the sector to establish the image of its high quality in order to improve exports.
Hence, it shapes a negative image for the entire sector of Greek catering and hospitality.
Support of the economy
|Supports the Greek viticulturist, winemaker and those working in the chain for the cultivation of grapevines, the production and trade of wine and catering, while it contributes to the National Economy, by means of the legal taxes paid from the entire production and distribution chain.||The consumption of wine in bulk supports “anonymous producers” and black economy, thus causing considerable damage to the National Economy and Greek citizens.|
|An honest relation between quality and price in the market, proportionate to its production, quality and distribution costs. The same holds true for catering (restaurants, coffee-shops and bars), since it is available to the public at 2 to 3 times its purchase price.||It is sold to consumers at a much higher price (usually at open-air points of sale, which lack the guarantee offered by the status of a legal entity) or in catering, where its sale price is usually 4 to 8 times its purchase price.|
|Brings out the variety, terroir and the microclimate of the region from which it comes, the work by the viticulturists and winemakers which have been engaged in its production. Its sensory characteristics, aromas, body and the overall sensation and length of aftertaste it offers, all reflect these features. It offers a rich spectrum of quality and sensory characteristics with primary, secondary and tertiary aromas, acidity and tannins as its basic quality indicators for its body and aftertaste.
Moreover, it is able to complement dishes with a corresponding gustatory capacity, in order to offer balanced food and wine pairings.
|The questionable quality of the raw materials and production cannot ensure its gustatory characteristics and vinous pleasure in general.
In addition to this, there is always the chance that the product contains unsavory traces from the unsafe upkeep of the production and packaging equipment.