20th May, 2013 by Rupert Millar
Greek producers know that cracking the UK market will be hard but think that effort will be worthwhile.
“It will be tough to enter,” admitted Lazaros Alexakis, oenologist at Alexakis Winery, to the drinks business on the first day of the LIWF, while Lydia Passadaiou, brand manager at Domaine Skouras, added: “Usually British consumers think of retsina when they think of Greek wine.
“It will be hard to change that image but we’re making steps.”
Both spoke warmly of real changes in Greek winemaking in recent years, with Passadaiou saying that, “some wineries are making huge steps.”
“Winemaking has completely changed,” agreed Alexakis, “in Crete (where he and his brother have their winery) we are able to plant many varieties and there is a lot of experimentation.”
Andrew Parker, marketing manager at Hallgarten Druitt, said that Greece had been largely forgotten about in European winemaking: “They’ve never really taken off,” he told db.
Nonetheless he added that things were changing slowly: “There’s starting to be more awareness and the likes of Santorini are attracting more interest.”
However, the other barriers for Greece are that the names and styles of its grapes can be quite off-putting for consumers.
“The wines can be difficult because of the tannins and acidity,” Parker continued. “Santorini is very approachable and in the hotter south the reds can be a little softer.
“They’re food wines too and, like Italian wines, they’re very different with food. They are a bit of a hand-sell still.”