These 4 Female-led Wine Experiences Are a Must-visit in Greece

Wine tasting is a year-round pleasure in Greece.

<p>Annie B. Shapero/Travel + Leisure</p>

Annie B. Shapero/Travel + Leisure

Island-hopping season has its charms, but wine tasting is a year-round pleasure in Greece. From vibrant wine bars to rustic and revolutionary family wineries, women are emerging at the forefront of Greece’s wine scene. Check out these four itineraries for a taste of local flavor with female flourish.

Athens and Attica

<p>Annie B. Shapero/Travel + Leisure</p>

Annie B. Shapero/Travel + Leisure

All too often a stopover en route elsewhere, Athens’ exuberant wine bar scene warrants a week-long stay. Kick off your tour at the beloved institution Cinque Wine Bar, where co-owner and tireless advocate for Greek grapes, Evangelia Tseliou-Prassa welcomes guests with equal parts warmth and wine knowledge. Head uphill toward the Thissio area for stunning acropolis views and cozy Caravin Wine and Wanderlust. Word of mouth keeps owners Anna Chriskioti and Leoni Panagopoulou busy serving locals and visitors exclusively Greek wines and a lighter take on traditional fare.

Just beyond the city limits, Attica is Greece’s largest wine-producing region with a smattering of historic and enterprising wineries, among them Roxane Matsa Estate. Roxane passionately carries on her family’s 150-year-old legacy, farming organically and producing stellar bottles of indigenous Savatiano and Malagousia, among other varieties.

Book a picnic in the vineyards or even a light wine and food experience during your layover. Just 15 minutes from Athens airport, the estate offers transport as part of the package.

North and Central Peloponnese

<p>Annie B. Shapero/Travel + Leisure</p>

Annie B. Shapero/Travel + Leisure

Take the road west of Athens, up the Saronic Gulf coastline for about an hour to reach the Peloponnese. Stay seaside along the Gulf of Corinth toward Patras to reach Aigialeia, where mountains surge inland from the sea, creating optimal conditions for wine production. Here, Oenologist Sossana Katsikosta manages multi-generational Acheon Winery along with her sister Katerina. Arrange a visit to try her award-winning white wines Roditis, Sideritis, and Mavrodaphne—a dark-skinned grape named for its herbaceous bay leaf (daphne) aromas and deep, dried fruit notes. Mere minutes away, Theodora Rouvalis and her partner, Αntonio Ruiz Pañego bring years of winemaking experience in Chile, New Zealand, and Burgundy to both Greek and international varieties. Get in touch directly for a tour and unforgettable tasting.

Head back toward Corinth and veer south to reach Neméa, Greece’s most notable red-wine-producing region, famed since antiquity for the indigenous variety Agiorgitiko. Vineyards coat steep slopes and the views are as gorgeous as the wines, which range from bright and fruity to rich, smoky, and complex. Sisters Evangelia and Vassiliki have taken the reigns at their family winery, Palivou Estate, a thoroughly modern facility dedicated to preserving traditional flavors. Book a tasting to learn more from these ladies.

If Agiorgitiko reigns as the red king of Nemea, Moschofilero flourishes to the southwest, in Mantineia. This semi-aromatic grape exudes sumptuous aromas of just-picked summer peaches and rose petals but finishes with a sleek mouthwatering mineral finish. Katerina Bosinakis, of a small yet mighty Bosinakis family winery, believes in the potential of this indigenous stunner. With a team comprising her two brothers Sotiris and Konstantinos and a collection of trusted local growers, Bosinakis has elevated a grape once considered destined for mass production and is actively experimenting with white, rosé, and even red versions made from extended skin contact.

Visits to their facility are available on request, but as space is limited due to day-to-day operations, Katarina recommends contacting the winery to organize lunch at a local taverna where you’ll sample their wines and meet members of the family for a dose of true local flavor.

Thessaloniki and Macedonia

As an alternative to Athens, touch down in Thessaloniki. The city exudes youthful energy and boasts an explosive culinary scene. Before you hit the road, pop into the cool and cozy Souel Wine Concept Bar at 16 Pavlou Mela Street (no reservations) and try something from sisters Eleni and Tania’s 250-bottle collection, 30 of which they offer by the glass!

West of Thessaloniki in Central Macedonia, Naoussa is known for Xinomavro, a red wine grape that seems to be on everyone’s lips lately. Connoisseurs liken it to Italy’s famed Nebbiolo variety for its potential to age and expansive aromas—everything from ripe raspberries and tobacco to vine tomatoes, olives, and dried fruit. Veteran agronomist, oenologist, and author, Haroula Spinthiropoulou makes magic with Xinomavro at her winery, Argatia. Contact the winery to meet her and learn more.

A bit further west, Afrodite Stergiou’s boutique family winery lies nestled in the hillsides overlooking Lake Orestiada, in Kastoria, a city of Como-like splendor and deserving of a day trip. When not on the winery, you’ll find seasoned sommelier Afrodite ninety minutes southeast of Thessaloniki on the Sithonia Peninsula, at award-winning Danai Beach Resort where she guides guests through a 1,700-bottle wine list.

Thirty minutes down the western coastline of Sithonia, Eyfrossyni Drossou oversees production at landmark Domaine Porto Carras, a model of regenerative agriculture and organic farming. Vineyards blanket the hillsides of Mount Meliton in amphitheater formation to maximize the cooling effect of the lagoon. Together with viticulturalist Haroula Spinthiropoulou, Drossou balances nature and nurture to create wines full of local and varietal character. Peruse their extensive options for tasting with a view.


<p>Annie B. Shapero/Travel + Leisure</p>

Annie B. Shapero/Travel + Leisure

Crete is synonymous with Greek wine. In recent years, the island has seen a female revolution — daughters taking over for fathers and grandfathers in what was predominately a man’s world. These enterprising lady leaders bring fresh perspectives, transforming their facilities to work in harmony with nature and exult indigenous flavors.

From Heraklion, hit the road to Peza, the heart of Cretan wine making and home to Emmanuela and Niko, whose winery, Domaine Paterianakis put Crete on the map as pioneers of organic and natural winemaking. Visit during the week to meet the family and try their flagship red blend of Kotsifali and Mandilari.

Up the coast in Chania, book a table at Oinoa, where sommelier Theodosia serves exclusively Greek wines with an emphasis on indigenous varieties, and her best friend Maria designs expert food pairings.

<p>Annie B. Shapero/Travel + Leisure</p>

Annie B. Shapero/Travel + Leisure

A 30-minute drive from the city, meet Alexandra Manousakis, who left New York City when she fell in love with her family's winery and the surrounding natural wonders of the rippling Lefka Ori Mountain range. Wine and dine one site and you may find yourself rethinking your flight home.

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