Wines from central Greece have an opportunity to grow off-trade sales as holidaymakers return home and seek what they drank on vacation, master of wine Peter McCombie said.

Following an EU-funded programme to promote the wines outside of the European Union, trade body Wines of Central Greece said it has seen an uptick in export sales.

While the on-premise might seem the obvious choice for selling these lesser-known wines, McCombie has high hopes for the off-premise channel as well.

Speaking to journalists in London yesterday (7 July) McCombie said: “I think there is an opportunity [in retail] because people establish a bond with wines when they drink them in situ. So, if you are on holiday and you come across one of these wines, you might seek it out when you come home.

“As a tourist, you can have good wines in Greece – so why wouldn’t you come back and try and get them at home – or maybe not seek them out but when you see them on the shelves you recognise them.”

This segment is admittedly a small one, and hand-selling by sommeliers in the on-trade and in independent retailers will still be crucial to spreading the word on Greece’s lesser-known regions and indigenous varieties.

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But McCombie is positive about Central Greece’s potential. “I’ve been excited by the wines that I’ve seen. The quality of the wines is generally really good,” he added.

A map showing the nine PGIs of Central Greece's wines.
The nine PGIs of Central Greece’s wines. Credit: Wines of Central Greece

Central Greece is the country’s largest wine region, home to 14,000ha of vineyards.

The region is divided into nine PGI areas: Opountia Locris, the Atalanti Valley, the Slopes of Knimida, Phthiotis, Parnassos, Thiva, Lilantio Pedio (or field), Evia and Ritsona.

There are over 40 indigenous and international varieties grown across central Greece, the most widely planted being Savatiano, which produces fresh white wines.

Alongside these, the region grows Malagousia, Retsina, Santorini’s famous variety Assyrtiko, and international varieties Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and Merlot.