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The Wine Bar Culture in Greece

Along with the Greek wine renaissance, we witnessed the arrival of the modern meeting place, a new ‘steki’, namely the wine bar.

Even from the early 2010’s we welcomed the first wine bars in the capital and in Thessaloniki. At about the same time, Greece went into a serious economic recession. Monthly salaries and pensions were severely cut, making Greeks more cautious on how and where they were spending their money. Wine, fitted nicely in the new budget as it was half the price of their usual hard liquor or cocktail consumption.

Wine bars fast became the new meeting point -after work with colleagues, meeting up with friends, romantic dates -wine is a good ice-breaker! Women felt more comfortable and safe in the wine bar environment to have a drink, midweek with their friends. In most central wine bars, visitors from other countries would seize the opportunity to taste Greek wines by the glass. Often they would do a tasting of 3-4 different wines and choose, delightfully, their favourite Greek wine! They new wine discovery would become their ‘go-to’ wine for all their social meetings in Greece!

Soon as, locals and visitors alike, discovered the new and improved wines of Greece, drinkers became wine lovers: they started attending special tastings, winery presentations, “meet the winemaker” events and gradually they were training their tasting palate. The more they learned about wine, the more they enjoyed this divine drink! Soon, the wine bars started extending their ‘by the glass’ wine list, offering wines from single varieties and exclusive labels from boutique wineries. Most wine bars now offer a good selection of wines, both Greek and International labels. The ‘meze’, the food offerings have been upgraded, pairing nicely the wines on the lists.

In all large cities across the country, Athens, Thessaloniki, Heraklion, Patras, Volos, and the Greek islands, one can find a number of wine bars of excellent ambience aesthetics, good vibes, warming atmosphere. Most are in central locations, near hotels and on squares. All offer both inside and outside seating, accessible with public transportation. The crowds tend to be a mix of professionals, students, travelers, foreigners, all ages and the stay open well pass midnight. Next time you visit Greece, make certain you visit a wine bar and experience this special wine drinking culture.

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Greek Rosè Wine

It’s October and harvest across Greece is at its full swing. Most small to medium size wineries harvest by hand and many folks work or volunteer at friends’ vineyards.

Summer is slowly fading. Now, during the night, we cover ourselves with a light weight blanket. When day time comes, the sun is shinning and people still enjoy a swim at the sea. Autumn is the best time to drink rosè wine. In the last few years, Greece has seen a rise in rosè wine production and sales, shaking away the taboo that rosè is a girly wine choice! Greek rosè showcases a broad selection of wonderful wines that vary in style and character, from all corners for the country. So, for example, we have the light, crisp refreshing roses made from Xinomavro variety from the northern vineyards of Naoussa and Amyntaio. We have excellent rose wines from Thessaly and Central Greece -more aromatic, floral notes, medium bodied made from Limniona and Muscat grapes. Further south, the colour becomes deeper and more pronounced red fruits character: Agiorgitiko from Nemea makes sensational rosè wines: good body, balanced acidity and gorgeous colours depending on the vineyard location and altitude. Aegean islands vinify their rosè wines from Mantilaria and Mavrotragano varieties found on the islands.

Rosè wines match beautifully an array of Greek summer dishes: vegetarian ladera -green beans, gemista, okra, tomato salad, Greek cheese boards, fried kalamari, and chicken. They are enjoyed lightly chilled, outdoors and with good company. Wine is meant to be shared. So remember: if you want to feel a little bit more summer, have a glass of a Greek rosè wine.

I am Ourania Margomenou, aka Margo. I was born in Athens, Greece. My family and I have lived in many countries around the globe. I completed my BSc in Hospitality Administration at Boston University.

There, in this wonderful city, I fulfilled my practical requirement for my degree at the two most prestigious hotels of the city: namely The Ritz-Carlton and The Four Seasons Hotel. READ FULL BIO >