The vineyards of Attica and their characteristics
Author: Eleni Kefalopoulou - Wine Journalist
There is a wide variety of soils in Attica. They are mainly rich in calcium and have a clay-like texture. They are principally derived from silt from rivers and lakes and are not particularly fertile as they are low in organic matter.
Attica, however, has always had a great ally in its climate. The sea that surrounds it, its mild winters and the high number of hours of sunshine – amongst the highest in Greece – its summer winds (the Meltemi) and the sea breezes which lower the temperature in summer, all come together to create the ideal conditions for vine growing.
Today’s vine growers work in the same vineyards that their ancestors tended. These are the vineyards that supplied wine to the famous banquets of ancient Athens. The wine and the vine are indelibly linked with Greek culture.
The vines of Attica have the same particular characteristics that can be found in the majority of Greek vineyards. The plots are small and large planted areas are not common. Because of the terrain there are a number of small wine-growing areas and the grapes are harvested manually. Many vineyards belong to families who are small but passionate winemakers. But the larger wineries also cooperate with independent growers who are able to produce high quality grapes. There are many vineyards with vines which are more than 30 years old and which contribute to the production of quality wines.
All these factors, together with the farmers’ expertise, the low yield per hectare, (which the winemakers now aim for) and especially the ancient viticultural and winemaking tradition of Attica, mean that the wines of Athens are once again the rising stars of the wine world.