by Markus Stolz

Greek
wines catch attention

byMarkus Stolz
January 18, 2010, 7 Comments

This last weekend was marked by two memorable occasions: The renowned wine exhibition “Hamburger Wein Salon” celebrated its 25th anniversary, and I showed a portfolio of selected Greek wines for the first time ever at such a professional event. The Hamburger Wein Salon is organised by Mario Scheuermann, one of the most influential wine critics in Germany. Visitors include many wine professionals and also end consumers. I did present Greek wines on several occasions last year, but never before on such a large commercial scale.

I was very lucky indeed to have the support of Alexandra Manousakis from the Manousakis winery in Crete, who joined me with her friend Yiannis Daliakopoulos. Both have such fantastic and lovely personalities, they won over the hearts of the Germans in no-time.

We arrived in Hamburg on Friday evening, just in time for a “warm-up” party at the famous Goldfisch restaurant. My good friend, the German vintner and social media star Dirk Wuertz had advertised the event through twitter and between 30 and 40 enthusiastic wine friends from the twitter scene showed up – needless to say that Alexandra and Yiannis were at the centre of attention :)

The wine exhibition on Saturday was off to a slow start for me. I am used to people being sceptical about Greek wines, and I was not surprised at all that the only few visitors at my table were mainly Greeks. However, after about 3 hours the Germans started to become more curious and by late afternoon, I found myself quite busy pouring wines and engaging in conversations.

On Saturday night we all made our way back to the Goldfish restaurant and enjoyed a 4 course menu prepared by the chefs there – we were 24 people in total, including many wineries and twitter users. Lots of thanks go to Uli Marsau, the owner of the restaurant, who went out of his way to make every single one of us feel like he/she was the most important guest!

My expectations for the Sunday were quite low. It had started snowing quite heavily, and my feeling was that this might have a “slow down effect” on visitor numbers. I could not have been more wrong. In fact, I was in for a whole new experience: People came and said the word had spread that really exciting Greek wines were being poured. This then had a snowball effect, many visitors even asked for samples of specific wines – the word of mouth was obviously spreading rapidly. My proudest moment came when a German vintner showed up, tasted one of the wines that visitors obviously were talking about, and ordered a case of it.

The one thing that struck me most was that the conversion rate was extremely high – whenever someone stopped to taste the wines, they spent a fair amount of time doing so. People were honestly surprised about the high quality of the wines and were eager to learn more about them. My problem in the past has been to initiate this sort of interest – this time around the word of mouth recommendations certainly did the trick.

I loved the fact that the wine exhibition was a successful marriage of “traditional” and “social media” marketing. To have a few dozen wine twitter users tweeting live about the event simply adds another dimension to it. I was very pleased with the results of the exhibition – after all, it just adds to my believe that the near future might truly mark a significant turning point for the wines of Greece in the export markets.

I showed the following wines:
Palivou Estate (Nemea): Anemos Roditis, Anemos Agiorgitiko, Nemea Agiorgitiko, Terra Leone Ammos Reserve Agiorgitiko
Pavlidis Estate (Drama): Thema Assyrtiko/Sauvignon Blanc, Thema Agiorgitiko/Sauvignon Blanc, Syrah
Dalamara Winery (Naoussa): Aghechoros Xinomavro/Merlot, Paliokalas Xinomavro
Manousakis Winery (Crete): Nostos Alexandra’s Mourvedre/Grenache/Syrah, Nostos Syrah

Most interest was received by the Rhone varieties (Manousakis and Pavlidis); this might not be a surprise, as the German wine critics rated these wines very highly. Both Pavlidis Thema wines convinced with their modern style, Dalamara once again received high interest, and the Palivou Anemos Agiorgitiko was a hit with many end consumers.

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  1. Dirk WürtzJanuary 18, 2010, 5:54 pm

    It´s just a question of time an your wines will rock the market. You´re doing a great job for great wines!!!

  2. Paul DJanuary 19, 2010, 2:45 pm

    Yet more vindication of the excellent work you are doing Markus.

  3. Kostas KatsoulierisJanuary 19, 2010, 8:50 pm

    Well done Markus! I can only imagine what would have happened if you were able to bring all the wines you could. Even the French are taking notice – last weekend while in Paris I saw a fair representation of Gaia wines in a central Paris wine store and Gallerie Laffayette was selling Sigalas Assyrtico, Boutari Grande Reserve as well as Parparoussis’s Moschato (very surprising as I thought they only liked Samos Moschato)…

  4. elloinosJanuary 19, 2010, 10:05 pm

    Kosta, very interesting observations – I agree, up until the French have been big connaisseurs of Samos wines, which is actually a compliment to the sweet wines from Greece. They are very aware that these wines are real bargains. It can only be good news that other wines make their way to Paris. Thanks so much for sharing!

  5. elloinosJanuary 19, 2010, 10:07 pm

    Cheers Paul, the reactions at the wine exhibition was a positive indication that things finally start to improve. Word to mouth is very powerful, I hope it will spread further.

  6. elloinosJanuary 19, 2010, 10:13 pm

    Dirk, the one thing I am willing to put into this is time (and a lot of hard work) – I am patient and do not expect wonders, but I am also sensing a great opportunity. Thanks so much for supporting my efforts – it is rare to come across someone like you, and for that I count myself extremely lucky.

  7. #100GradOechsle | ELLOINOSJanuary 24, 2010, 6:01 pm

    […] In the last twenty minutes of the show, Dirk introduced Greek wines to his viewers. He poured two wines from the Manousakis Estate to his guests, who were pleasantly surprised by the high quality. The Manousakis Estate was virtually unknown in Germany until a view weeks ago. This is changing quickly now, first of all because of the high ratings from the wine critics, but also because of actions like this and this.  […]

  1. #100GradOechsle | ELLOINOSJanuary 24, 2010, 6:01 pm

    […] In the last twenty minutes of the show, Dirk introduced Greek wines to his viewers. He poured two wines from the Manousakis Estate to his guests, who were pleasantly surprised by the high quality. The Manousakis Estate was virtually unknown in Germany until a view weeks ago. This is changing quickly now, first of all because of the high ratings from the wine critics, but also because of actions like this and this.  […]