I was impressed with this year’s Oenorama, which is the biggest and most important event of the Greek wine industry. More than 150 Greek wineries and spirit producers exhibited their goods, ranging from small family wineries to the most powerful players. The main reason that sets this event apart is that a significant number of foreign wine professionals attend. There were many wine importers, sommeliers, and wine journalists present. I was delighted to bump several times into Tara Q Thomas (US Wine & Spirits Magazine) and Julia Harding, MW (UK Jancis Robinson). Another great factor is the amount of networking that can be achieved. In fact, I spent most of my time talking to growers, meeting wine merchants, wine writers and consumers.
I loved the fact that some growers from certain wine regions teamed up – each winery had an economic small stand, but these were then grouped together. It takes just a handful of growers to come up with a regional theme that makes visitors take notice. The stands of the larger producers were incredible, some were themed as large bars, others reminded me of luxurious hotel lobbies. Although the exhibition was well visited, the organisers succeeded in keeping up a private atmosphere.
There were thousands of wines from all Greek winegrowing areas on display. Although I spent 2 ½ days at Oenorama, I was only able to taste selectively. Some wines that caught my attention were a couple of new offerings from the Alpha Estate that will be released later this year. One was a Xinomavro Reserve, the other a 95% Tannat and 5% Xinomavro blend. Skouras showed a new 100% Syrah that captured the estate’s obsession for concentrated fruit nicely. Tetramythos also introduced two new wines, a Malagousia and an Agiorgitiko. This estate continues to offer one of the best quality/price ratios available. I also tried a 100% Zakynthino white wine from the Metaxas Wine Estate in Cephalonia that showed potential. Christos Zafeirakis from Crete had superb red wines, I enjoyed a 60% Sangiovese/40% Syrah blend, as well as a 100% Limniona.
On a personal note I would like to clear up a misconception that I have now encountered several times: During various contacts with representatives from the wine world I was surprised to encounter the belief that I am being paid by Greek winemakers for my work to promote Greek wines. This is certainly not the case. To the contrary, I made a conscious decision when I started 14 months ago, NOT to charge wineries money for my efforts and have only asked them for their support in various promotional activities. It is of utmost importance to me that I inspire and convey trust and authenticity and a prerequisite for that is for me to operate completely independently. It is the only way to make more than just a short-term impact. I am myself, stand for what I believe, and if you want to hear my messages, then you are listening to Markus Stolz®.
In the pictures below:
Yiannis Tselepos and Paris Sigalas,also Tara Q Thomas and Julia Harding