The Greek wine industry has made great strides in recent years and gained recognition worldwide. China is one of the markets that Greek winemakers are now aiming to conquer, as experts recently explained in Athens.
GREECE (Athens) – At “Oenorama 2022,” the world’s largest trade fair for Greek wines, held in Athens in mid-March, some 250 wineries from all regions of Greece presented about 3,000 of their wine products. After a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic, the fair returned, offering visitors the opportunity to taste the 2019, 2020 and 2021 vintages.
Since 1994, the founding year of this annual event, Konstantin Stergidis, general director of Oenorama, has observed the remarkable evolution of the Greek wine industry, which he describes as “very dynamic.” “We have many start-ups, including small wineries, opening, which is good because these create an essential mass for Greek wine and the Greek wine industry abroad. In addition, Greek viticulture is making progress, which is very important for the final product,” Stergidis said.
“In recent years, Greek wines have won numerous international awards and are becoming more popular in demanding markets like France. And since the middle of the last decade, the average price of a bottle of Greek wine has steadily increased,” Yannis Voyatzis, former president of the National International Organization of Vine and Wine (OIV), was recently quoted as saying in the Greek press.
Upswing despite debt crisis and pandemic
Greece’s wine industry has taken advantage of the years of debt crisis to invest in wineries, doubling their number from 635 in 2010 to 1295 wine-producing establishments to date. These are spread from the northern parts of the country to the island of Crete in the south and produce white, red, sparkling and sweet wines from a total of 120 protected geographical zones and over 30 protected designations of origin.
According to Enterprise Greece, the country’s official trade and investment promotion agency, an analysis based on surveys conducted by the Hellenic Statistical Authority showed that the total value of Greek wine exports increased from more than 75 million euros in 2020 to about 84.8 million euros in 2021, despite the pandemic. Based on 2020 data, Germany was the most important export market for Greek wine, accounting for around 37.5 percent, followed by the U.S., Canada and France.
Although China imported just under 0.6 percent of Greece’s wine production in 2020, the Geneva-based International Trade Center’s “Export Potential Map Greece” shows that the country can be a promising destination for Greek exporters. “It is a potentially important market because I think the Chinese are very familiar with the history of Greece and wine is part of our history. Many of our vineyards are in areas of archaeological interest or are tourist destinations, like Santorini,” Stergidis explains.
Master of Wine Konstantinos Lazarakis agrees, noting that “China is a very important market for Greek wines. I can well imagine, if appropriate marketing and efforts for expanded market entry can be realized, Greek wine will certainly approach Chinese wine drinkers.”
Aris Tselepos is a second-generation winemaker at Tselepos Wines, which has established a stable collaboration with its partners in China since 2015, states, “In recent years, Greek wine has established itself in the global market and is now taking its next steps in the Asian market. My experience has shown me that this is a market that has seen tremendous growth in recent years. We export the products of all three of our wineries and have seen noticeable growth year after year. We expect to continue to grow and expand this partnership.“