by Markus Stolz

Greek radio

byMarkus Stolz
November 30, 2009, 15 Comments

elloinos live at radio showThis was a first! I was invited by Ted Lelekas to discuss wine and blogging live on his radio show. That by itself was enough to get my pulse racing, as I had never been on a live show before. However the real challenge for me was that the show was to be done in Greek. I have been living in Athens for 6 years now, but only went to language school in the first year in order to learn the basic language skills. My Greek is ok, but in no way perfect, similar to that of my youngest daughter who is turning six soon. Actually, I take that back, I rather think my Greek is similar to my youngest daughter just before she turned five, only that I make many more grammatical errors then her.

It was impossible for me to prepare for the interview, as the guideline was simply to keep it as a free chat. I knew only that we were to discuss what I do, my story so far, and of course the perception of Greek wines abroad. I am not shy using my rudimentary Greek to communicate, as I am usually at least able to get my message across. For example, nearly every conversation I have with Greek wineries takes place in Greek. It is different though to do this on radio, which is broadcasted live to a large audience. I really was not sure what to expect, and half the show, a total of 30 minutes including breaks, was set aside for this chat.

It is tradition that a wine will be opened and tasted on the show, a second bottle of this wine will be given as a present to one of the listeners who will be randomly chosen from a list of people who call in or send a SMS message. Ted kindly offered that I could pick a wine that would fit in with the theme of the radio programme. I had a few bottles of Christos Kokkalis Syrah 2006 left in my wine cellar that I received from Christos earlier in the year as a thank you for helping out at the harvest. He sells pretty much all of his production abroad, and I knew that the Syrah was not available in Greece. In addition, I had received feedback from a number of German wine critics who were all raving about the prospects of the Syrah wines produced in Greece.

I was let into the studio exactly half way through the show, during a short break. I just had time to set up my flipcam, and before I could worry about what on earth I was doing accepting this invitation to chat about wines in Greek on live radio, I was already introduced to the listeners. Thankfully the first thing we did was to taste the Syrah wine. Just the beautiful aromas of it calmed my nerves immediately. It reminded me of my love for Greek wines, and all I wanted to do now was to tell my story. The next half hour flew by. I am very proud that I understood nearly all questions asked, only once did I have to ask Ted to rephrase for me. He did a great job, as it must be hard to ask questions using simplified Greek only. It is also a challenge to give answers even if one does not understand 100% of what was asked. I am sure I lost some opportunities to position myself – or rather my work – better, then again I was not thinking about selling myself, rather about how to tell my story. I was very pleased that the listeners sent in dozens of SMS messages, although I am not sure if this was due to the fact that it was interesting to listen to a German speaking in funny Greek, or because they wanted a chance to take home that bottle of the Kokkalis Syrah.

I wish to thank every single person that listened to the show, and also every single reader of this post. I am really grateful to Ted Lelekas who took the risk of having me as a guest on his show. I “met” him first on twitter, and I am impressed not only by his knowledge of Greek wines, but also by his great personality. He broadcasts the wine radio show every Saturday 1200 – 1300 GMT, and everyone can tune in via Internet on http://www.city995.gr. I also wish to thank the radio station for running this show.

I believe that my social networking activities have helped me to grasp opportunities when they present themselves. Because of twitter and my blog I have learned to reach out to and interact with people, sharing a lot about me along the way. To expose myself on a Greek radio show while not being fluent in the language is part of sharing with everyone who I am. I am the crazy German who promotes Greek wines abroad and I want everyone to listen to my story, even if it has to be in Greek.

Below you can watch a video of the radio show, I edited all breaks. Enjoy and don’t laugh too hard :)

Elloinos live at Greek radio show from Markus Stolz on Vimeo.

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About Markus Stolz

Over the last years, I have come to really appreciate Greek wines. There are many grape varieties that exist only in Greece and I have the good fortune of being able to try them all. I wish to share my enthusiasm with wine lovers around the world, who often limit themselves to maybe four red and four white grape varieties for most of their life.

  1. philosDecember 1, 2009, 12:43 am

    Although without a glass of wine this moment, I really enjoyed the conversation. Very good pace, interesting issues, clear voices.
    I ‘ve learned a lot.
    For sure from now on I will follow Ted’s show each Saturday!

    Thank you Markus and Ted!

  2. elloinosDecember 1, 2009, 7:09 am

    Thank you so much, I am glad you enjoyed it. And I take the “clear voices” as a personal compliment ;) Ted’s show is for sure worth following, he is a great guy with lots of knowledge.

  3. VassilisDecember 1, 2009, 1:25 pm

    Great radio show Markus, congratulations!
    I watched part of it during my lunch break and I almost went out to buy a bottle of wine :)
    One thing for sure is that you are not the “Crazy German who promotes Greek wines abroad”.
    The Greeks are crazy who don’t promote their wine themselves.
    Keep … Elloino-ing!

  4. elloinosDecember 1, 2009, 1:30 pm

    Vassili, thank you very much, it is great for me to hear such positive feedback. Ted certainly played his part extremely well to keep the show entertaining. For sure I will keep elloino-ing, I love the word creation a lot :)

  5. Kostas KatsoulierisDecember 1, 2009, 9:26 pm

    Markus das war ausgezeichnet! Very entertaining – your Greek is fine and better than that of many expats who have been here twice the time you have and more. You talked about a lot of the issues central to the present and future of Greek wine. I also found it interesting you mentioned the lack of range of Rieslings available in Greece not to mention German Pinot Noirs / Spaetburgunder – a wine I discovered by chance at Dallmayr at Muenchen airport last year – very smooth. Your passion for Greek wines in general and Xinomavro in particular really came across. Indeed on your recommendation, last week I cracked open a bottle of 2004 Dalamaras Paliokallas which I didn’t expect to be ready (for my palate – I’m not a fan of young Xinomavro then again I suppose it depends on the terroir and the producer). WOW! What a revelation! I see what you meant by finding it hard to keep your hands off it!

    Well done once more! I will try and tune in every Saturday to Ted Lelekas’s show.

  6. elloinosDecember 1, 2009, 9:52 pm

    Kosta, thank you so much, it means a lot to me to receive such reassuring comments. I doubt that my Greek is as good as you say, but at least it enables me to communicate – it is better for me to speak up and try to communicate my passion than to be quiet and worry about the grammar. Riesling and Spaetburgunder are both excellent grape varieties, and wines from the latter have made a lot of progress over the last years. Maybe it is far fetched, but I have made many valueable contacts with German growers and would like to introduce some of their wines to the Greek cavas. I am so glad that you enjoyed the Dalamara Paliokallas. They do such great work with Xinomavro, and at the same time they are so down to earth people – simply striving to produce the best wines. I am a massive fan of their wines, and they certainly deserve to be much better known. Ted Lelekas is very talented, and his radio show should be high on the radar screen of every wine lover. I am really glad he reached out to me, and I hope that the word will spread about his show. He is as passionate about Greek wines as I am. Thank you very much again for taking the time to interact through the comment section, I am honored to have people like yourself communicating with me and passing on their own knowledge along the way.

  7. Ted LelekasDecember 1, 2009, 11:40 pm

    Markus – it was a pleasure having you on the show. I hope there will be many happy occasions for us in the future to talk about wine and share a good bottle, on or off-air!…

  8. elloinosDecember 2, 2009, 12:03 am

    Ted, it was fantastic being on the show with you, and I am grateful for the opportunity. As you can read in this comment section, the feedback thus far has been excellent. Count me in on sharing a good bottle of wine with you any time, I’d say both off AND on air!

  9. Yiannis PapadakisDecember 7, 2009, 2:49 pm

    It’s interesting to know that a show on wine exists on a Greek radio station. I’ll try to follow it from now on. I tried to play the attached video of the show, but the sound went off after a while. What a pitty!

  10. elloinosDecember 7, 2009, 2:54 pm

    Yianni, maybe there was a loading problem with the video? The file is quite large – you might wish to open it again, then click on “pause” button and wait for 30 minutes or so while the file is loading. You can see the loading progress on the lower bar. Once it has loaded, you should be able to play it without any problems.

  11. Yiannis PapadakisDecember 7, 2009, 2:58 pm

    Luckily, my second attempt was successful and I finally listened to this part of the show.

  12. PeterDecember 7, 2009, 4:54 pm

    Markus, your chat with Ted was engaging, I learned a few things and your Greek is fine…practice makes perfect!

  13. elloinosDecember 7, 2009, 4:58 pm

    Peter, thank you very much for your kind words. I did have a great time with Ted on the show, and I agree, the only way to learn Greek is to practise speaking it. As long as I can get my points across, I don’t worry too much.

  14. Christina Keramyda-TritschJanuary 13, 2010, 11:46 pm

    Lieber Markus,
    I’ve just listened to the show with you and Ted and I’ve found it extremely informative, interesting, enjoyably well done, amazingly well spoken – both in terms of wine knowledge and your knowledge of greek! It was a “full bodied” conversation and I really enjoyed listening to both you and Ted, who really posed all the right and good questions! Brilliant! I am really, really happy for you, that you do something that you’re so passioned about and feel thankful for your enormous efforts to bring these lovely greek wines to Germany, Great Britain and who knows, one day, even to the whole world! I wish you all the best and a huge success – even if – as you’ve said on the show – this will take you one or two more years. It’s worth it! Keep up the good energy and the brilliant work as a greek-wine-ambassador!!!

    Zum Wohl and Slainte (irish)!!!!
    Christina

    PS. I’ve visited 2-3 wine shops in Dublin last year to check if they sell greek wines at all and found only one until now that, as the owner told me, would bring greek wines in the near future. Haven’t been there since, so I can’t tell you what kind of wine he may have brought. So, how about paying Dublin a “wine”-visit?! ;-))

  15. elloinosJanuary 13, 2010, 11:58 pm

    Liebe Christina, I am blushing :) Thanks so much for taking the time to watch the video! I could not agree more with you that Ted was really skillful with his questions. It must be quite tricky interviewing somebody who has only “basic” command of the language, and I believe he has more talent than he might know. I love the what I am doing so much that it seems strange to call it “work”. I have no doubts that it will take a relentless effort on my side to succeed, but to me that is a challenge I love to take. As for Dublin, I am open to everything, if you sense honest interest, I will happily plan for a trip.