If you’re in the mood for wine while traveling through the Hellenic Republic, has no fear, you are not fated to sip retsina for the entirety of your journey. While a trip to Greece wouldn’t be complete without a glass of the aforementioned 2,000-year-old wine, your options extend beyond its resinous flavor (and terrible hangovers).
A good place to begin your search for the true flavor of Greek wine is the annual Dionysia Festival that takes place early in the year in Athens. With over 100 wineries participating, this festival, named appropriately for the ancient god of wine, you are guaranteed to not only sample a vast array of local vintners, but also learn quite a bit about winemaking traditions in Greece. Situated as it is in the beautiful Zappeion Megaron, the festival is centrally located and easily accessible.
Moving away from the capital city, there are plenty of wineries both on the mainland and on surrounding islands. If you’re passing through Rhodes, be sure to try the local Mandilaria, which, while it grows throughout the Aegean islands, is said to be best on the island. If you’re in the mood for some history paired with breathtaking views, stop in at the Boutari Winery in Crete, one of the oldest in the country.
When visiting the island of Santorini, be sure to sample the local Assyrtiko, a local specialty. Additionally, in August, Santorini hosts the Cities of the Sea gastronomical festival where visitors can not only take in a plethora of local wines, but also pair them with Greek dishes and regional specialties.