In focus: Eastern Mediterranean wine

Key facts

Greek wine at a glance…

  • Greece has 106,000ha under vine, with around two million hectolitres of wine produced in 2019. (OIV)
  • 90% of plantings are indigenous varieties. The most planted are Savatiano, Roditis, Agiorgitiko, Xinomavro and Assyrtiko. (Wines of Greece)
  • Principal PDOs include Naoussa, Amynteo, Nemea, Mantinia and islands such as Santorini and Crete.
  • Approximately 13% of Greek wine is exported, with Germany being the top destination. (Wines of Greece)

Turkish wine at a glance…

  • Top indigenous varieties include red grapes Kalecik Karasi, Öküzgözü and Bogazkere, as well as white grapes Narince and Emir.
  • In 2016, the export value of Turkish wine exceeded US$10 million (£7.8m), with a total of 2.9 million litres of wine sent abroad.
  • In 2013, regulations imposed by Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s ruling Justice and Development Party banned alcohol advertising, off-trade sales after 10pm, shop window promotion of alcohol sales and free alcohol tastings.
  • While Turkey, along with Georgia, is thought to be one of the countries in which winemaking first originated, modern wine production only resumed in the 1920s after the declaration of the republic.

Romanian wine at a glance…

  • Romania has eight main wine regions, including Transylvania, Moldova, Oltenia, Muntenia, Dobrogea, Banat, Crisana and Maramures.
  • It has around 180,000 hectares under vine and produced 4.9m hectolitres of wine in 2019. (OIV)
  • Top grape varieties include Feteasca Regala, Merlot and Feteasca Neagra.
  • The top export destinations by volume are Germany, the UK, the Netherlands, Spain and Italy. (Premium Wines of Romania)

Georgian wine at a glance…

  • Georgia produces a range of wine styles, from sparkling and dry whites, to fresh reds, natural qvevri wine and sweet wines.
  • Top grape varieties include Saperavi, Rkatsiteli and Dzelshavi.
  • Georgian wine is now exported to 50 countries. The top markets are Russia, the Ukraine, China, Poland and Kazakhstan. (Wine Agency of Georgia)
  • This January, the export of Georgian wine in bulk was prohibited.

3 Responses to “In focus: Eastern Mediterranean wine”

  1. Keith Miller says:

    That’s a great article. Q: Was it your intention to not include wines from Israel, a country that is producing multi-award winning, world-class wines for some time now? It seems that was an oversight.

    • Phoebe French says:

      Hi Keith,

      If you read the entire article, you’ll see that I did include some comments about Israeli wine from Kedem’s Morris Herzog. This was all – in the limited space and scope that I had to cover – that I could include. I hope that we can run a feature dedicated to Israeli wine in the future.


  2. Patrick says:

    With the proximity of East Med ambassadors at hand and available in the Uk, I can’t say that we don’t feel orphaned, testimonial to the state of diffused definition of what actually constitutes the East Mediterranean. Regardless, your effort isn’t in vain, nice to see a certain defense of the region, well done in battling for the space that you’ve already got this time around.

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