On the slopes of Mount Meliton, on the Sithonia Peninsula in Chalkidik (aka Halkidiki) Greece, sits the Porto Carras Grand Resort. A resort playground to the rich and famous, it houses Domaine Porto Carras the 475 hectare (4750 acres) organic vineyard and historic winery. A winery, that has been practicing environmentally friendly wine-making techniques for the last 40 years while producing some of the world’s most unique and exquisite wines. With the assistance of University of Bordeaux Professor Emile Peynaud (known as the father of modern wine-making) who planted the first crop of “Greek” Cabernet Sauvignon on the property and Professor Vassilios Logothetis from the University of Thessealoniki they’ve created a turning point in the Greek wine industry. In this enchanted location they are bringing back to life ancient varietals like Limnio and Malagouzia, that for a time were thought to be extinct.
It all began in 1963 during a celebratory cruise in honor of the 1000 year monastic history of Athos, aboard a ship owned by Giannis (Yiannis) Carras. The ship entered the Toroneos Gulf and history was made again. Giannis fell in love and decided he had to stay and create the legendary resort and vineyard. Renowned Greek architect Kapsambelis designed and built the 21,528 sq.ft. Villa Galini on Galini hill and the property was featured in magazines during the 1970’s as one of the most beautiful buildings in the country. By 1965 the first vineyards were planted along with olive groves. Today the property boasts the largest vineyards in Greece with 28 different varietals, a state-of-the-art winery facility, and carries the PDO designate.
In 2000 Domaine Porto Carras was acquired by Technical Olympic Group. The mission of CEO Konstantinos Stengos, is to bring the Porto Carras brand to the top of the international market. After the purchase they began a replanting program and recently completed a reorganization and modernization of the winery. Domaine Porto Carras has also become a model for all other vineyards to follow in their continued implementation of modern trends toward sustainable and organic farming practices, and are winning awards for their wines at many of the top international wine competitions.
Greece itself has always held a special place in my heart, my love of the mythos and history of the country is only surpassed by the history of the vines and wines of Domaine Porto Carras. Learning about the wines, particularly varietals like Athiri or Limnio is riveting, and when I drink them I feel like I’m reaching back into the annuls of time and clinking glasses with Plato (it is said that Limnio wine was Plato’s favorite) and Aristotle.
With all of that said, I’m excited to announce that I have been asked to be the Wine Ambassador for Domaine Porto Carras in the United States and I’ve accepted it. Being part of the Domaine Porto Carras family is a true blessing and a dream opportunity. In my capacity as Ambassador I will help bring more recognition and support to the brand, and to answer your burning question, yes I will be going to visit Greece and tour the property. It will happen sometime in the summer and obviously I will be blogging all about the entire adventure, as well as the upcoming tours locally, around the State, and in New York with additional locations to be announced at a later date. I will also be announcing when and where we will be hosting Greek wine pairing dinners, so keep an eye out on our twitter feed so you can join us! It is both an honor and a privilege to have been asked to be the Ambassador of Domaine Porto Carras. I am such a fan of the wines, and I’m proud to represent such an amazing winery and wine region.
No thing more excellent nor more valuable than wine was ever granted mankind by God.
Plato, Greek philosopher, (c. 427-347 BC)
Stin iyia mas!!!
Great upcoming events: 2/27/15 SLO Craft Beer Festival; 3/ 6 – 7/15 World of Pinot; 3/10-15/15 SLO International Film Festival; 3/20-22/15 Vintage Paso: Zinfandel; 3/28/15 Apple Blossom Days; 3/28-29/15 Garagiste Festival; 4/1-5/15 & 4/1 – 5/3/15 Roll at the Barrels (#ROTB2015); 4/17/15 Earth Day Food and Wine Festival; 5/2/15 Cabs of Distinction; 5/3/15 Flavor of SLO; 5/14-17/15 Paso Robles Wine Festival; 5/27-30/15 Chardonnay Symposium; 5/31/15 SLO Greek Festival; 7/17-19/15 Bacon and Barrels