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A brief history of winemaking in Greece

By Edited Jun 15, 2016 0 0

For over 4000 years has been cultivated in Greece and enjoyed wine

In before-ancient Greece started the cultivation of wine in Europe. From here the art of winemaking over the known world was widespread.

For over 4,000 years, wine is an important part of the culture in Greece. Many archeological discoveries prove the cultivation of the vine and the enjoyment of wine, which also belongs to this day the Greek life.

The mythology of antiquity and the wine

Dionysus, son of Zeus, was an especially revered god of the ancient Greeks, numerous festivals held in honor of the god Dionysus. This Anthestiria or Feast of Flowers was in February. Because then the time was to open up the jars with the young wine. A Dionyssia wine festival has been celebrated every year in March in Athens. The Theater of Dionysus in Athens shows the importance of God in the everyday life of Greeks in ancient times.

The wine had belonged in antiquity to the social life. When Symposia on philosophical topics of wine and water was one of them always. In moderation, the ancient Greeks used the stimulating effect of wine, to stimulate the mind.

The traces of wine in Minoan

The earliest references to the production of wine come from the middle of the 3rd Century BC and were found on Crete. Important insights into the culture of wine delivered to the findings in the Minoan town Myrtos. Presses, seeds and wine amphorae found on Crete in different places. These findings demonstrated the importance of wine in ancient times. Tombstones in Crete, dating from the period 3000 to 3200 BC, show images of wine presses. Probably the oldest wine press in the world, archaeologists have found in the ruins of Vathypetro. And in the palace of King Minos of Knossos, many well-preserved wine vessels could be salvaged.

The traces of viticulture in Mycenaean times

The Mycenaean culture, with its center in the Peloponnese was around 1600 to 1100 BC. Among the archaeological finds from this era, there are several gold and silver goblets. The best-known piece of this period is the famous gold cup of King Nestor, the Heinrich Schliemann found in a Mycenaean grave. This cup has already been mentioned by Homer. On display is the cup of Nestor in the National Archaeological Museum in Athens. From the Mycenaean period there in the writings of Homer read a lot about the lives of people in this time. And the poet tells in detail about the wine and its enjoyment.

The major wine producing regions in ancient Greece were the islands of Chios, Lemnos, Lesvos, Rhodes and Crete and Thrace and Macedonia on the mainland. Countless shipwrecks show with their cargo trade in wine in the world of antiquity. This was already introduced in this time of quality and origin and adulteration severely punished.

Expansion of viticulture in by Mycenaean time

From Greece spread of wine from the 8th Century BC in the entire Mediterranean area. In the classical period of the wine trade grew in importance and spread out up to Northern Europe and around the Black Sea. With Alexander the Great, the wine was then spread deep into Asia.

Greek wine in the Byzantine Empire

The tradition of wine production in the growing areas of Greece continued to successfully continue in the Byzantine period. Beautiful Byzantine wine goblets show the wine culture. With the imposition of Christianity, the homage of the God Dionysus was terminated. But until today Dionysus is one of the most famous ancient Greek gods, and will continue to put the wine together. The Crusaders prized Greek wines. Above all, the nutmeg was already found its way to Europe.

Greek wine to Byzantium

With the decline of the Byzantine Empire began the decline of viticulture in Greece. Above all monasteries were talking vineyards for their own needs. And in the Venetian possessions in Greece, the grape growing and wine production have continued. This occurred in the Ionian Islands, Crete and Santorini.

Greek wine under the Ottomans

During the reign of the Ottomans were in Greece, the wine and the enjoyment of wine severely restricted. The Ottomans high taxes levied by the growers. On many islands and even in some remote mountainous areas of Greece, where the arm was far from the Sultan, was further cultivated wine.

New wine in Greece

In March 1821 the Greeks declared their independence. During the liberation struggles have been destroyed many vineyards. But after the retreat of the Ottomans, the wine again took a strong upswing. This included especially the trade in currants.

The many wars until the middle of the twentieth century impeded the further progress of Greek wine industry. The emigration of the early nineteenth century led to the task of many vineyards. In the 20th Century of wine in Greece focused on the production cost table wines. RESIN-COATED became the most popular of Retsina wine in Greece.

Greek wine after the Second World War

In addition to the Greek table wines, winemakers increasingly also gave increased attention to quality. The diversity of regions, its climate and the diversity of grape varieties, about 300 native Greek varieties are still cultivated, offer the best conditions for producing wines for special requirements. Quality wines from Greece are exported around the world.

A considerable part of the Greek grape crop is sold as table grapes. And with raisins and currants, Greece is a very significant producer in the world. Only just over half of the grapes are fermented into wine. And underneath still dominate the table wine for everyday life. About 90 percent of Greek wines are consumed in Greece by the Greeks and their guests.



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