And now for something completely different! Gaia was founded in 1994 by agriculturists Leon Karatsalos, and Yiannis Paraskevopoulos – Yiannis also had a PhD in Oenology from the University of Bordeaux. The company began production with 10,000 bottles, but that has now increased ten-fold. They concentrate on indigenous grape varieties, highlighting the quality and characteristics of the mineral white Assyrtiko, and the richly textured red Agiogitiko, bringing these native grapes recognition on the world stage. Gaia operate two wineries, one in Nemea on the Peloponnese peninsula, and the other on the island of Santorini, where the winery is housed in a converted tomato factory. Nemea was recognised as a PDO in 1971, and is the largest wine-growing zone in Greece – it has a great variance in soil and climate characteristics, and here Agiogitiko reigns supreme, producing intense, spicy wines grown on semi-mountainous vineyards.
On Santorini the volcanic soils, long hours of sunshine, lack of rainfall, sea mist and strong winds, combine to craft Assyrtiko [indigenous to the island] trained and pruned in the ancient traditional “kouloura” (basket shape), into stunning wines. Gaia say that every time, at every vintage, the pleasure is bigger, the experience is stronger! These are rare, precious, and unique wines – allow yourselves to be surprised!