Protecting the Fruits of Our Labor

Greece has come a long way in the modern world of wine making (post WWII), from bulk production of mainly retsina and mavrodaphne to high quality small production wines. In order to achieve quality of global recognition Greece had to indoctrinate a system of regulations and laws to maintain quality and consistency.  They decided to mirror the French appellations laws and apply them to their wine culture.  

Greece's appellation system is a work in progress. In early 2010 the EU released a new set of classifications that member countries must begin using in 2012 and supersedes the previous classification system. Requirements for the appellations are still the same, but now using a universally accepted designation system. There are currently 28 PDOs and 37 PGI wine districts.  

The new classifications are as follows:

PDO: Protected Designation of Origin - the wine has to be produced from specific grapes grown within a defined appellation or area, and winemaking requirements.

PGI: Protected Geographical Indication: this labeling is applied to wines produced outside of the PDO parameters.  Winemakers are allowed to blend local and international varieties.

Greece produces more white than red wine, with the latter accounting for just a third of total production. Almost 90% of plantings consist of the country’s yields of indigenous grape varieties. White Savatiano grape is on the top of the list, followed by the pink skinned Roditis. Agiorgitiko is the most planted red grape variety and third overall, followed by Liatiko, Xinomavro, Muscat of Hamburg and Assyrtiko. Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot are the two most popular international grape varieties in Greece.

While there are over 200 varieties of grapes grown in Greece today, around twenty are used in mainstream production. A great way to learn about Greek wine types is by trying single grape varieties side by side and learning their characteristics. It helps that appellation wines are limited to only one grape variety. Some of the more exciting blends are usually classified as regional wines as they have more flexibility for experimentation.  Below are some of the more popular PDOs that are creating awareness globally.


Nemea, Peloponessos
Mantinia, Peloponessos

Naoussa, Northern Greece
Daphnes, Crete
Archanes, Crete
Peza, Crete
Sitia, Crete

Santorini, Cyclades
Rhodes, Aegean Islands
Samos, Aegean Islands

Greece continues to raise the bar in quality and consistency thanks to the commitments and passions of veteran and new winemakers to the industry. Have you had a glass of Greek wine today? 

Stin ygeia mas! Cheers!