Giannikos Winery

Giannikos Winery
Corinth, Greece

In 1896 Greece rekindled the Olympic flame by hosting the first modern international Olympic Games. It was also the year when the Giannikos family planted their first vines in the rich soil of ancient Mycenae, the birthplace of Greek viticulture almost 4,000 years ago. Generations of this family lovingly nurtured and meticulously tended their vines on the estate dominated by the ruins of the palace of the Trojan warrior, King Agamemnon.

In the 1940’s the ravages of two world wars, the Greek civil war and the European epidemic of the vine disease phylloxera led to widespread poverty and hunger in Greece. This drove Nikolaos Giannikos, an only child, to abandon the family estate and immigrate to the Napa Valley in California. Homesick, yet inspired and motivated by the vast vineyards of this area, Nikolaos eventually returned to the fatherland with his family in 1970 to revive the vineyards of his forefathers. With his son Michalis by his side, he replanted the vineyards and restored the traditional winery and family home. The Giannikos estate was reborn.

In 1996, exactly one hundred years after the foundation of the estate, a devastating fire burnt the old buildings to the ground.

Undeterred and undefeated, Michalis resolved to build a bigger and better winery on the old foundations, but new legislation prohibited him from building on a treasured ancient site; thus, the buildings were reconstructed on the slopes of ancient Corinth and more vineyards were planted. Driven by the enthusiasm of youth and the legacy of his ancestors, Michalis regenerated the independent family business like a phoenix arising from the ashes of its predecessor. While retaining the most ancient of grape types, Roditis, from Mycenae, the uniquely indigenous Agiorgitiko exclusive to Nemea and the shortly before recovered Malagouzia, Michalis planted new international varieties, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Chardonnay and Viognier, selected from the best clones direct from quality French nurseries. He decided, in order to produce high quality wines to follow strictly the rules of biological production. Today all his wines are biological certificated and controlled by DIO, the organization for controlling and certification of biological products in Greece.

Although the grapes are still hand-picked and the vines pruned by hand, the new winery harmonizes tradition with technology. The bespoke minimalist cellar is lined with French oak barrels kept at a strictly controlled temperature perfect for the aging process. Young wines are stored in modern stainless steel tanks and bottling is carried out on the premises.