Greek wine is much more than retsina you know. I've had a number of fantastic Greek wines over the years. Of course marketing Greek wine does seem to be problematical. Most anglophones can't read Greek. The native cultivars are not familiar to most wine consumers. Some Greek winemakers have tried to gain a foothold in the world wine market by moving to known international winegrape varieties like Merlot or Chardonnay only to find that they can't really get noticed. Because of this, I usually tell my prospective Greek clients to stick with the native cultivars, but don't be afraid to rebrand their wine for the international market. Even if that means renaming Δαφνη as Daphne rather than transliterating it to Dafni.
It's easy to overplay the historic role Greece has had in the development of wine culture, if only because that history is so rich and extensive. If I recall correctly, the Greeks viewed the cultivation of grapes and olives, and therefore wine and olive oil, as being defining characteristics of civilization.
This invitation comes to you from Glenn McGourty, the UCCE Lake and Mendocino Counties Viticulture Farm Advisor:
Save the Date: Monday, May 19, 2014
Time: 1:00pm – 4:30pm
Where: U C Davis Conference Center
Registration details below
There will be a seminar on Greek wine grape varieties and wine at UC Davis on Monday, May 19, from 1-4:30 PM at the UC Davis Conference Center. Featured speakers include Darrell Corti, famed grocer and authority on all things food and wine; 3 Greek wine experts from Greece describing their wine regions, varieties and wines; and Nancy Sweet who will talk about what Greek varieties we have at UC Davis FPS. Best of all, it is free! Wine tasting included.
Of all the places that I have visited in the world of wine, Greece is still one of the most surprising and fun. This is a quick snap shot of what they have to offer, and if you have the time, this event is well worth attending. By the end of the day, you will be able to pronounce Assyrtiko, Xinomavro, Moshofilero and Roditis like a native speaker!
The program, which may change slightly before the event date, is as follows:
An Introduction to the New Wines of Greece
Monday, May 19, 2014 UC Davis Conference Center
1:00 PM Welcome, Introductions, And the Rational for Planting Mediterranean Varieties in California
Glenn McGourty, Winegrowing and Plant Science Advisor, UCCE Mendocino and Lake Counties
1:10 The Challenges of Selling Greek Wine from the Perspective of a Wine Retailer
Darrell Corti, Grocer, Corti Brothers, Sacramento, California
1:40 Greek Wine Grape Cultivars in the US
Nancy Sweet, UC Davis Foundation Plant Services
2:00 Ancient Vines, Modern Wines: A discussion of the revitalization of the Greek wine sector, including Greece’s major winemaking regions, diverse terroir of indigenous varieties as well as a brief history of Greek winemaking through the millennia.
Dr. Apostolos Spiropoulos, Oenologist
Winemaker, Domaine Spiropoulos
Sophia Perpera, Oenologist
Director, Greek Wine Bureau of North America
MSC, Agronomy & Viticulture
4:15 Question and Answer, Discussion
4:30 Adjourn to wine reception, networking
Register here: http://ucanr.edu/survey/survey.cfm?surveynumber=12929
A campus map of the UC Davis Conference and Welcome Center is here: http://campusmap.ucdavis.edu/ Choose “Conference Center and Welcome Center” from the alphabetical drop-down menu to the left of the map.
On Google Maps, use 550 Alumni Lane, Davis, CA 95616 or see the facility’s website at http://cru.ucdavis.edu/content.cfm?contentID=211