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Greek wines in big comeback

Greek grapes

Greek wines are enjoying a big rise in popularity with some island wines picking up major awards.

Greek wines are making a bit of a comeback with a sharp rise in demand despite the country's ailing economy. Greek wine producers are enjoying a big rise in demand not only from abroad but also from Greece itself. The news comes despite large increases in tax on alcoholic drinks that have been blamed for driving sales down earlier this year.

Despite the setbacks Greek wine is getting a reputation for high quality with international acclaim from wine experts.

Greek wine even earned tributes from The Australian, the biggest-selling national newspaper in Australia.

Wine production in Greece has had a cheque red history. Wine has been an important part of Greek culture for over 4,000 years and Greek Muscat wines became famous during the Crusades in the 13th century when much was exported to Europe.

When Greece won independence from the Turks in the 1820s, wine production started to die out as currants became more lucrative but this market collapsed when the French imposed heavy duties on imported fruit at the turn of the century.

After the Greek civil war in 1949 he country once again turned to wine production but Greek wine production has been limited to low quality bulk and retsina wines.

Recent years have seen a significant improvements in production techniques and Greek wines now have a much better reputation. Some 300 varieties are cultivated on both the mainland and the Greek Islands.

The leading white wine is Assyrtiko, first planted on Santorini but now widespread across Greece. Other popular white wines are Malagousia, Robola, Moschofilero, Athiri, Savatiano, Tsaoussi and Muscat.

This extensive variety of grapes together with the Greek climate, lots of sunshine, low rainfall and soils of moderate fertility combine to provide excellent conditions for the production of high quality wines.

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