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Modern Period (1945-1975)

The country is monitoring the global development of winemaking from the sidelines, after the devastating effects of phylloxera and the wars. Retsina, Mavrodaphne of Patra and the wines of Samos, were the mainly exported bottled wines. While on the other side, large quantities of high in alcohol and deep colored wines were exported in bulk, for blending and enhancing various European wines. A fortunate fact was that most of the islands were not infected by phylloxera, and managed to maintain some percentage of their production capacity unaffected and rescue hundreds of the indigenous grape varieties. On the other hand, the destroyed by phylloxera vineyards of mainland Greece were replanted gradually, by using grape vines grafted with resistant American rootstocks.

The large cooperative wineries in Crete, Rhodes, Samos, Nemea, Patras, Naoussa, Santorini, Tirnavos and other areas, as well as the large private wineries of Boutari and Tsantali in Macedonia and Kourtakis in Attica, through their modern equipment, helped in absorption of the grape production and in the bottling of quality wines. After 1950 the export of bottled wines began too, from famous vineyards of mainland Greece, as the vineyards of Nemea, Naoussa and Mantinea, as these areas progressively gained easier access to the commercial ports, which they didn’t have in the past.

In 1971, after 2500 years from the sealed ancient Greek amphora of Thasos, we have the first modern classification of Greek wines. Based on the French wine law, the first designations of origin wines in Greece were legislatively enacted. At that time, the Wine Institute undertook a very important research project, guided by Stavroula Kourakou, which highlighted the timeless wealth of the Greek vineyard and Greek wine. This work gave legal recognition and protection to several historical Greek vineyards and the right to have their name on the labels of their wines. After several years, and while Greece became a full member of the European Union, local wines are recognized too. Since then, the legislation, production of wine and the market are following the respective European community frameworks. Furthermore, at the same time, the official agencies of Greek wine are established.