Advancing to Ahead of the Glass

A glimpse into Greece’s wine regulation and classification system

As Greece continues to progress as a world class wine producer, there is still plenty of room to grow from a quality perspective.  And that quality progression is on route thanks to the new regulation and designation system that was placed in 2012 by the E.U. Laws for quality wines cover geographical areas as well winemaking and farming practices which include yield, grape variety, alcohol levels, etc.  

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, only about two dozen 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 interesting blends are often classified as regional wines as they have more room for experimentation.

There are currently 28 Appellations in Greece. 20 are Appellations of Superior Quality for dry wines and 8 are Appellations of Controlled Origin for dessert wines.  Some Appellations to name a few are Santorini, Naoussa, Nemea, Mantinia and Samos.

Along with the new regulations and designations to increase the quality there is a growing number of producers that are also farming organically, producing biodynamically, practicing sustainability, and low intervention approaches to winemaking.  

Explore the wine selections on Greekazon and discover wines from these new practices and enjoy the new essence of Greece. Cheers