Retsina is a popular Greek wine with a special character and a long-standing tradition. As far back as ancient times, people recognized the negative impact of air, the oxidation, on wine quality, but it wasn’t until the early 20th century that sulfur began to be used to disinfect barrels before their use while it was added to the wine. Prior to this, all wine producers used methods like those of the ancient Greeks to prevent wine oxidation.
The qualitative difference that existed between wines hermetically sealed and unsealed was obvious. The amphorae, big clay jars with narrow necks that were used to store and transport wines were sealed with a piece of cloth that was wedged into the neck of the amphorae, and topped with liquid resin after melting it, to block air passage to the wine. Inevitably, the wine was impregnated by the smell of retsina.
Thus, little by little, the aroma of retsina was associated with higher quality since they were better preserved, and in that way, wines became a marketable product as they could last longer.
Today the retsina wine is produced by incorporating pine resin into the must during alcoholic fermentation, keeping the character of this traditional wine consumed in ancient times.
Greece’s visitors should enjoy it as a special wine and not compare it with nowadays wines. Retsina is a cultural product that has a long history and a great tradition and a special character. Greeks are proud of the retsina, as proud as of the Greek philosophers and all those for whom today they represent the cradle of the Western civilization since it is part of this great civilization.
Every sip of retsina whispers in your mouth stories and traditions of Greece. Today, it is one of the most marketable wines since its low price favors increased consumption. It is easily consumed and accompanies very pleasant Mediterranean dishes, such as stews, fried foods, but also fish, and even better in an environment by the sea!
Only Retsina produced in Greece can carry the indication “Traditional Designation. The regions best known for their Retsina production and permitted to carry their designation on the label of Retsina are all in Central Greece and particularly in Attica, Viotia, and Euboea. It is not necessarily associated with a specific geographical area of Greece since it is a type of wine, while its name is protected by European legislation.
It is with decisive steps in recent years, and the systematic effort of some wine producers they achieved the total return of retsina to the Greek wine scene and its international recognition.
We strongly recommend you take a Retsina wine tour to some of the Gastronomy Tours community producers or even order it at a taverna or restaurant while your stay in Greece. Here are some of the producers:
Papagiannis winery: to-patitiri
Gaia wines nemea