LIFESTYLE: Grape Expectations - the Greeks Olympian Wine Drinkers

The News Letter (Belfast, Northern Ireland), August 7, 2004 | Go to article overview

LIFESTYLE: Grape Expectations - the Greeks Olympian Wine Drinkers


THE Greeks are great hosts as Olympians will soon find out.

They've turned somersaults to have everything ready for one of the biggest events in their history, starting next Friday.

They are also great wine drinkers and this is not just a recent phenomenon.

Thousands of years ago they were sophisticated enough to have lashings of wine, as virtually every graphic of the ancient Greeks shows.

And they keep the tradition going. When it comes to expenditure on wine, it's fair to say, the Greeks today have few equals.

The average person in Greece drinks 29 litres of wine every year, of which 90 per cent is thought to be of native origin, according to Euromonitor's latest research, putting Greece's consumption per head above Australia, New Zealand and the UK.

But, at present, it's quite hard to find a good selection of Greek wine, although that's likely to change, as the nation's producers hope to win Greek wine a wider international audience.

Having the Olympics on their territory is bound to help.

Greek winemakers have worked hard over the last few decades to bring their viticulture and cellar practices into the modern world, yet have clung to indigenous grapes.

Even wines that blend Greek grapes with international varieties, like the bright, fruity 2000 Katogi-Averoff, among the reds and the Kir-Yianni, among the whites, retain their particular Greek character, a wonderful thing in a world of increasingly homogenised wines.

The Katogi-Averoff comes from the Sterea Ellada region, which stretches northwest of Athens. …

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