The Peloponnese, rich in ancient ruins from its glorious past, has been cultivated with vineyards for many centuries. The northeastern Peloponnese, home to Mycenae and Epidaurus, has been blessed with ideal growing conditions for vineyards. Indigenous grape varieties in Nemea include the white varieties Roditis, Sklava, Moschofilero and the red Aghiorghitiko. International varieties such as Chardonnay, Viognier, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Merlot are also cultivated and display strong terroir.
Palivou Estate Winery
Palivou Estate Winery, established in 1995, is a family-owned vineyard and winery. The winery is only 800 meters (half a mile) away from the archaeological site of Ancient Nemea – a place where viniculture continues non-stop for nearly 4,000 years. Today, the contemporary winery, is run by George Palivou and his family.
Palivou Estate owns one of the largest vineyards in the region of Nemea, with more than 300 stremmas (equal to 30 hectares or 74 acres). The vineyard, planted mostly with Agiorgitiko (the most important variety of Greek red wine), also grows Roditis (rosé grape), Malagousia (or Malagouzia – white grape), Chardonnay, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Syrah.
The visit ends in the garden, where you will have a chance to taste wines from the Palivou Estate, accompanied by Greek cheese, meat, olive oil, and bread.
Semeli Estate is an impressive winery, located at an altitude of 600m (1800 feet). The location combines natural beauty and easy access to cultural and historical sites, such as Ancient Nemea, Epidaurus, Lake Stymphalia, Mycenae, Nafplio, Loutraki, etc. At Semeli Estate tasting becomes an experience.
The Semeli Winery was founded in 1979 by George Kokotos and his wife, Anne, and was named Semeli – Dionysus’ mortal mother. The founders had a vision of creating Greek wines of exceptional quality. The production of fine wine has long been inextricably connected with the quality of the grape, which in turn draws its fineness from the terrain or terroir in which it grows. The favorable climate coupled with the rare qualities of the land, in symbiotic fusion with the sun and the grape varieties accordingly selected, are indeed the defining parameters for the fine wine Semeli Winery offers.
The strict standards of cultivation and the passion of those caring for the vine, in combination with experience handed down from one generation to another and the use of modern machinery, result in the production of wines with both an unusual character, and an exceptional quality.
Floral, fresh, fruity white wine with flavors of peach, lemon, and spice (Moschofilero Semeli), or a red classy wine startled with aromas of dried forest fruits, crushed herbs, red fruit, spicy and black pepper (Semeli red dry Agiorgitiko with Cabernet Sauvignon), are just 2 of the 15 varieties that you will have the chance to taste through your trip to the winery. Many Semeli wines received international distinctions and awards, gradually acquiring their place in the pantheon of the world’s vineyards.
Their moto: “If there is one concept that encapsulates the estate’s wines, it is the concept of harmony of balance. We do not only craft excellent wines; we create memorable experiences”.
The owner, George Skouras, a Dijon trained oenologist, a passionate producer materialized his long held vision with the creation of Domaine Skouras in 1986.
Since 1986, Skouras Estate invested in creating an innovative and modern wine producing facility at Pyrghela, a small village outside Argos (a city that has been inhabited for over 3,000 years). Their wines evolved into modern Greek classic, blending the native Aghiorghitiko with Cabernet Sauvignon. Domaine Skouras sources grapes from its own vineyards and from dedicated grape growers in the region.
Since 2004 and the establishment of the winery in Malandreni, George Skouras shares his philosophy about the style of his wines: ‘’At Skouras, we do not make just wine. We flirt with whites that turn heads. We are flamboyant with our intense rose. We fall in love with reds and pack them with finesse. We also romance with rare bottlings that you will enjoy for years to come.’’
Papaioannou Organic Vineyards
Thanasis Papaioannou is one of the first wine producers who understood and promoted the idea that wine must maintain its unique characteristics, coming from the variety of grape, vineyards’ location, and the procedures, which are followed by the viticulturist (producer for the sake of a biological balance.)
Thanasis Papioannou is called many names: Nemean Lion, Father of Agiorgitiko, Nestor of Greek Wine, and Guru of Nemea; to name a few.
The family privately-owns vineyards (57 hectares) in various locations of Nemea, which are characterized not only by the grape varieties, but also by the differences in the ecosystem and the age of the vines. The vineyards are cultivated with the aim of achieving ultimate harmony with the ecosystem. The quality of the wines is enhanced by the correct selection of a satisfactory number of varieties and the profound knowledge of its pioneers about everything that is related to the vineyard and its cultivation. These qualities earned them numerous awards in international competitions.
The Greek philosophers were always a source of inspiration for Papaioannou. He used to mention to all visitors that the best way to get to know someone is by offering him a glass of wine (Plato). He believes that wine is an intellectual, sophisticated, and cultural product, and encourages every wine consumer to treat wine as such.
Mr. Papaioannou’s son, George, a chemist – oenologist, continues the tradition and is active the family’s vineyards as well as in the modern winery of the Ancient Nemea. The goal of both father and son is the continuous improvement of the wines produced, maintenance of high standards of hygiene and organic characteristics, as well as experimentation on new types of wines.
Raptis Estate Winery
In the 1980s, Phylloxera infestation became an epidemic throughout France and most of Europe, destroying over two-thirds of the continent’s vines.
In 1998, Raptis family established a 10-hectares (25 acres) winery, taking advantage of the vine nurseries created by Georgis Raptis some 10 years before in an attempt to eradicate Phylloxera.The total control of the grape production and the advanced oenological and technological equipment employed in the wine making process, assure great quality wines, receiving awards in international competitions.