I was pointed to an article published in Greek by Ta Nea online that caught my attention. In it, an account is given how some well known Greek wineries have started to establish new operations abroad. The well-known Kir Yianni Estate entered into a joint venture with Mogao in China in the fourth quarter of last year. An area of 150 ha located in the Northwest of the country will be planted with the Greek grape varieties Agiorgitiko, Xinomavro, Assyrtiko, and Moschofilero. The annual output target is 1 million bottles of wine.
The Spiropoulos Estate expanded into Argentina; Boutari runs a winery in the South of France, and Gerovassiliou, Tsaktsarlis and Soldatos teamed up and established Escapades in South Africa. This new estate already realises exports to Germany, Sweden and the US. According to Gerovassiliou, it is an open secret that Greek wines are very good, but still have problems in the export markets. South African wines are much easier to market.
Greek business people are often extremely successful and embrace new opportunities. The above wine estates are certainly very skilled players – and their moves were well planned. The establishment of an estate in South Africa is leveraging the operation of Gerovassiliou, who is hopeful that this will also benefit exports from his Greek winery. The decision by Kir Yianni to enter a joint venture in China might be the boldest move to date. China is a powerful country that is just starting to turn cautiously to wines. The decision to plant Greek grape varieties might turn out to be a very smart move, as the Chinese can familiarise themselves by buying wines that are produced in their own country.