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Greek wine harvest suffers

- by Archimedes

Greek wine harvest suffers.

A few bottles of wine usually feature on any holiday break in the Greek Islands, although Greek wine is not usually the first wine of choice.

And as if Greece's economic problems were not enough this year, it now appears that Greek's grape harvest has been badly hit by mildew.

Greek vineyards estimated wine production on the holiday islands this year will be nearly half the 2010 harvest – down to 230,000 tonnes from 330,000 last year.

The 2011 Greek grape harvest was ten days later than in 2010 as mildew had affected leaf cover and even ruined some grapes in many of the Greek islands.

Despite the downy mildew attacking many Greek island vines, producers are pleased to say that the quality of Greek wine for unaffected grapes has been very good.

Greek island winemakers will admit that the downy mildew has been a problem in most years but it has recently become more resistant to treatment.

Of all the the Greek wine producing islands the biggest blow has been to grape harvests on the holiday islands of Limnos, Rhodes, Samos, Zante and Kefalonia.

Kefalonia island, in particular, as well as being one of the most poplar Greek island holiday destinations, is also well known for its Robola grape, with 3,200 acres of vineyards planted along the island's south coast in hilly areas between 250 and 800 metres high.

The Kefalonia Robola grape is also resistant to drought and well placed to exploit the holiday island's poor, dry and stony soils. But the grape is also highly susceptible to mildew and to botrytis and the Robola grape is only moderately resistant to downy mildew.

Robola is one of the finest of Greek dry whites wines with a subtle texture and full of flavour and a characteristic aroma that reminds many of the pleasures of a Greek island holiday.

Wine tourism has also grown strongly in recent years and many Greek vineyards and wineries now offer tours to Greek Island holidaymakers.