Stellios Boutaris from the Kir Yianni Estate does not really need an introduction. Kir Yianni is one of the best known Greek producers, and their wines are renowned in- and outside of Greece. Founded in 1997 by Yiannis Boutaris, the estate is now run by his oldest son.
In this Q&A, Stellios gives his personal view on a number of issues.
1. When did you start making wine?
My family has been making wine for more than a century. However it has been only since 2004 that I got involved more actively in the winemaking side of the business. I have studied mathematics and economics, so I am a self taught winemaker! I cannot think of a better job, there is nothing more exciting than following the magic when grapes turn into wine.
2. From your viewpoint, what makes the Xinomavro variety special?
For me, its difficulty makes it special. I have a love-hate relationship with Xinomavro. It is such a difficult variety to
grow and I feel that we have not yet truly mastered it. But we are getting close, we know what we are doing, in the next 5 to 7 years we will see the emergence of truly great wines from the Xinomavro variety. We focus on preserving the best of today’s characteristics, like the aromas, and the sheer elegance that these wines offer. At the same time, we want to bring out new elements like a softer tannin structure, a fuller body, and a more balanced acidity.
3. Do you export part of your production? How do you promote your wines?
Although we export only 15% of our total production, more than 60% of Ramnista, our 100% Xinomavro wine, is sold abroad. We focus on the high end of the market and engage in one-on-one marketing activities, like tasting events and wine dinners. Unfortunately, we have not managed to get full mainstream distribution yet in the main export markets. We will continue to spread the word on Xinomavro to wine lovers all over the world!
4. What are your biggest fears and hopes for 2011?
2011 is a very challenging year for Greece, the news is dreadful and the market analysts sound gloomy. Still, I believe that 2011 will be a pivotal year for exports. I have a feeling that something is happening with Greek wine in the export markets, and Xinomavro and Assyrtiko are leading the way.