This Time Last Year – Part 6: Greek Wine Tourism Planning

Part of a series of posts that cover my travel to Greece and the USA in April/May 2016.

25 April 2016 – Anzac Day (continued)

Wine is a very important part of my visit to Greece in 2016. Last time, in 2013, my focus was following my father’s 1941 WWII journey through Greece but learning the Rapsani wine region on My Olympus was almost on route I was lucky enough to be able to arrange a visit thanks to the wonderful Lily at Tsantali who I connected with on Twitter – see The Road to Rapsani for my ramblings.

Since about December 2015 I’d been trying to organise wine region / winery visits but travelling solo I didn’t want to have to drive myself on ‘the wrong side of the road’. I wanted an escorted wine tour with a knowledgeable tour host. But it seems wine tourism is in its infancy in Greece where 99.9% of the tourists want ancient ruins and beaches.  Of the wine tour companies I emailed those that replied told me they won’t run a tour for one person instead suggesting self drive or taxi. And reaching out on Twitter and Facebook this time went into a black hole.

It was Michael Brajkovich MW of Kumeu River Wines who eventually got the ball rolling. He gave me the email address of Yiannis Karakasis MW – Greece’s first Master of Wine. Yiannis asked Marian Spiggos and Sissy Tzelepidou, two wonderful women who are devoted to the promotion of Greek wine culture and tourism and run a business with the playful name of Grapefool, to look after me.

At last. A breakthrough. Marian and I had since been chatting via email and today I was meeting Sissy at my hotel.

I’ve already checked out so we chat in the lobby above the noise of the carpet being pulled up for replacement. Visits have been arranged at Mercouri Estate in the Peloponnese; Alexandra Anthidou of Wine Roads of Northern Greece will take me to some North Greece wineries in Naoussa and beyond; I will make my own way to Domaine Gerovassiliou just outside Thessaloniki – they are the only wine estate to reply to my emails; and when I return to Athens Marian and Sissy will personally escort me to some wineries in Attica. It’s so exciting and I think good things come to those who wait.

Sissy drives me to Tom and Rowena’s hotel and I’m ready for the next part of my adventure.

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