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Home > > Belt and Road Initiative Turns 10: Exploring the past, present and future of Greek wine
Belt and Road Initiative Turns 10: Exploring the past, present and future of Greek wine

Greece was an early pioneer in the production of wine from grapes, a tradition dating back approximately five-thousand years BC.

Wine played a central role in ancient Greek culture, represented through Dionysus, the Greek god of wine and fertility. The worship of him served as an inspiration for wine-fuelled symposiums, and led to the development of western philosophical tradition.

But don't be mistaken. This classic Disney portrayal of Dionysus is a far cry from the way ancient Greeks envisioned him.

CAO CHUFENG, Kapandriti "This is a statue of Dionysus?"

DIMITRIS ZAMPOURAS, Lazaridis Wine Museum Curator "You can see it got grapes on his hair."

"This is a typical image of him?"

"Yes, a typical image of him and a typical statue of him."

"We still have a celebration and festival from him called Dionysia from Dionysus."

The ancient Greeks held wine in such high regard that they introduced laws to protect the industry. These regulations were engraved on stone tablets around 400 years BC.

DIMITRIS ZAMPOURAS, Lazaridis Wine Museum Curator "It's forbidden for ancient Greeks to buy or sell must or wine from the grapes before, some month like Plintirionas. It's an ancient month between August and September."

And if you didn't comply with the law, the fine was issued to the whole city you lived.

CAO CHUFENG, Athens "If you don't protect the wine industry in ancient times, you might cause trouble for the whole city."

"Yah, unfortunately. This is democracy."

To learn more about the current state of Greek wine production, I visited a vineyard. Greece may not be among the largest wine producers in the world today, but it boasts a unique mix of grape varieties appreciated mostly by true wine lovers.

CHRISTOS FOTIADIS Director, Lazaridis Winery in Kapandriti "As for whites, there are Assyrtiko, Malagousia, and also Moscofilero. And for reds, Agiorgitiko, Xinomavro, Mavrodaphne or Mavrotragano."

"Let's drink some Malagousia, it's a white Greek variety, that's very common here in Greece."

"A very pleasant aroma, flower aroma."

"The smell of flowers."

Despite their high quality and diverse range, Greek wines are still relatively unknown in China. And so far, sales on the Chinese market have not been ideal.

DR. YANNIS VOYATZIS, Chairman SEO, Greek Wine Federation "Now is less in the last five years. We would like to increase it. We think that Chinese people and consumers who like wine, are interested, if they find Greek wine."

As two ancient civilizations, Chinese people have always held an appreciation for Greek culture and products. Wine could be one of the missing elements, waiting to unleash its full potential on the Chinese market. Cao Chufeng, CGTN, Athens and its nearby suburbs.

Source:CGTN-Opinion 20-Sep-2023
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