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The Vineyards of Northern Greece

Geographically, the vineyards of northern Greece extend east from Thrace to the Pindos mountain range in the west and to the south border Mount Olympus. The vineyards of Northern Greece, Drama, Kavala, Halkidiki, Goumenissa, Naoussa, Amynteo, Rapsani, Zitsa, Metsovo and other areas, cover a total of approximately 100,000 acres. These areas have many international varieties, producing some of the best wines from Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay and Syrah in Greece, but also indigenous varieties the most outstanding being Xinomavro.

Vineyards of Northern Greece are scattered among other cultivations, situated on hillside slopes and have generally fertile soils. Many are close to the sea or a lake, thus receiving the benefits of the moderate climate created. The vineyards of Northern Greece are almost entirely linear and irrigated with medium and large planting distances, usually with less than 4000 plants per hectare.

 

•   The vineyards of Drama and Kavala

The vineyards of Drama and Kavala are connected with the production of high quality wines, mostly with international grape varieties. In the area of Kavala, with its exceptionally mild climate, ranging from the sea coast up to the mount Pangeon, and with the rich soil characteristics proved to be the ideal location of early white varieties Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay and Semillon. In Drama where more dry and warm climatic conditions exist, red varieties like Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah, as well as Asyrtiko, a native white variety of the Cyclades are better suited, giving the aromatic and elegant wines through a different terroir. The vineyards of Drama and Kavala are linear and generally well organized and modern. In neighboring Thrace in Abdera, Xanthi and Maroneia, Rodopi has restarted viticulture with the successful installation of mainly foreign, and native varieties, such as the local Mavroudi.


•    The vineyards of Chalkidiki

The vineyards of Halkidiki consist mostly of vineyards on the slopes of Mount Meliton, Sithonia, and is one of the largest uniform vineyard in Greece. In these poor and sometimes sloping lands, both Greek and international varieties have been planted, but in goblet and linear forms in the early '70s. Here, international varieties like Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah, adapted successfully as well as the indigenous varieties Asyrtiko, Roditis, Athyri and Limnio but mainly the rare white variety Malagouzia, which has now evolved into one of the most dynamic indigenous varieties. Then we have the region of Mount Athos, which is a dynamic part of the vineyard with new linear plantings. Finally, near Thessaloniki, coastal areas of Epanomi and Agios Pavlos, complete the vineyard of Chalkidiki and the main cultivated varieties are Malagouzia and Asyrtiko.


•    The vineyards of Goumenissa

The vineyards of Goumenissa are located northwest of Thessaloniki in slightly hilly areas at an altitude ranging from 150 to 450 meters, Slightly sloping and with medium fertile soils. The variety that dominates the region is Xinomavro, but also some international varieties. In the vineyard of Goumenissa the local red variety, Negoska is also cultivated in up to 30% of the total crop. The vineyards are basically two-sided linear with sparse planting and reaches approximately 1400 vines per acre.


•    The vineyards of Naoussa

The vineyards of Naoussa are covering the foothills and eastern slopes of Bermio, at an altitude of 100m. up to 400m. and with soils varying in texture and morphology. The total area is about 1500 to 1600 acres, in which the cultivated variety Xinomavro, planted mostly in linear forms. In the area of Naoussa, Xinomavro matures late, after 20 September, making it vulnerable to early low temperatures and heavy rainfall. The factor that affects the quality of grapes Xinomavro within the region is the topography and diversity of the soil where it is grown.


•    The vineyards of Amynteo

The vineyards of Amynteo are located northwest of Naoussa, between the mountains Bermio and Voras, and surrounded by four lakes, the largest being Vegoritis. The vineyards are situated at an altitude of 500 to 700m., are linear and usually non-irrigated, and dominated by the cultivation of Xinomavro. The climate is very mild, with less rainfall and more sunshine than neighboring Naoussa. The lands around the lakes are generally sandy, hot and low in fertility, so that we have a different expression of Xinomavro than that of Naoussa. The mild and humid climate Amynteo is appropriate for the cultivation of many international varieties.


•    The vineyards of Rapsani

The vineyards of Rapsani are located in hilly and mountainous eastern slopes of Mount Olympus and, extends from an altitude of 150 to 750m. These vineyards are the smallest region growing the variety Xinomavro, through only 380 acres, on which the local varieties Krassato and Stavroto are also grown. In the wider region international varieties Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah and Chardonnay have adapted successfully finding the cool climate conditions, suitable to ripen their early harvested grapes. The better quality grapes coming from the mountain vineyards which are trained in goblets.


•    The vineyards of Zitsa and Metsovo

The vineyards of Zitsa and Metsovo are mountainous and, indeed, one of the most mountainous of Greece. The vineyards Zitsa located on the eastern slopes of Pindos range, at an altitude of 700m., which collect the highest rainfall for the country, approximately 1.000mm per annum. There is grown the local white variety Debina, planted mainly to unilateral linear forms and a few are trained in goblets on about 1,250 acres. The Debina gives dry white and dry sparkling wines, while the harvest takes place in late September. Close to Zitsa we find even more mountainous vineyards in Metsovo, with an altitude of 900-1000m. Here all the vineyards are linear and are found mainly on sunny slopes, very steep and sandy loam soils with good drainage. The vineyards in Metsovo are mainly known for the cultivation of the variety Cabernet Sauvignon, which is where this cultivation began in Greece.