Greek Wine-Making History

Greek Wine-Making History

Wine has played a significant role in Greek culture and history since ancient times. The Greeks were one of the first civilizations to cultivate grapes for wine production, and their wine-making techniques were influential in the development of modern viticulture. From the mountains of Crete to the islands of Santorini and beyond, Greece has a long and rich history of wine-making that continues to this day.

The Origins of Wine in Greece

The history of wine in Greece dates back to the Neolithic period, with evidence of wine production found in archaeological sites throughout the country. The ancient Greeks believed that wine was a gift from the gods, and they incorporated it into their religious ceremonies and social gatherings. Wine was also used for medicinal purposes, as it was believed to have healing properties.

Greek Wine in Mythology

Greek mythology is filled with stories about wine and its importance in the lives of the gods and mortals. Dionysus, the god of wine and fertility, was one of the most important deities in ancient Greece. According to legend, Dionysus was born on the island of Naxos, where he was raised by nymphs and taught the art of wine-making. He later travelled throughout Greece, teaching mortals how to cultivate grapes and make wine.

The Rise of Greek Wine

By the 8th century BC, the Greeks had established wine-making as a major industry. They began exporting their wine throughout the Mediterranean and beyond, and it became a symbol of Greek culture and civilization. Wine was consumed at banquets, religious festivals, and in everyday life. Greek wine was also used as a trading commodity, and it played an important role in the economy of ancient Greece.

The Influence of Greek Wine

Greek wine-making techniques and traditions were influential in the development of modern viticulture. The Greeks were the first to cultivate vines on trellises, a technique still used today. They also developed a system of classification for wine based on its quality, which is still used in some form today. Greek wine-making techniques were also adopted by the Romans, who spread wine-making throughout their empire.

The Decline of Greek Wine

The decline of Greek wine began with the fall of the Roman Empire, as wine-making shifted to other regions. In the centuries that followed, Greece was occupied by various foreign powers, including the Ottomans, who did not share the Greeks’ appreciation for wine. The Greek wine industry suffered as a result, and it was not until the 20th century that it began to recover.

The Revival of Greek Wine

In the 1960s and 1970s, a group of wine enthusiasts began to revive the Greek wine industry. They introduced new grape varieties, modernized wine-making techniques, and focused on quality over quantity. Today, Greek wine is experiencing a renaissance, with many of its wines receiving international recognition and awards. Greek wine is known for its unique flavor profiles, which are influenced by the country’s diverse terroirs and grape varieties.


The history of wine in Greece is a story of passion, tradition, and innovation. From its origins in ancient times to its current renaissance, Greek wine has played an important role in the country’s culture and economy. With its unique flavor profiles and commitment to quality, Greek wine is poised to continue its rise in the global wine industry for years to come.