An article in the New York Times reported on a company called Viniv, operating from a Château in Bordeaux, France, that allows visitors to brew and bottle their own wine, complete with a customized label. According to the article, this is a part of growing trend of “experiential luxury”, aimed at wealthy tourists who do not want to amass just expensive items, but one-of-a-kind, authentic experiences (for a pretty penny—it can cost $25,000 for a barrel or $87 for a bottle of custom wine!).
Little do they know, though, that Greeks have been brewing and serving homemade wine for centuries! Greece has a rich history in winemaking, stretching back to the vineyards of ancient times all the way to the homemade wine found in most tavernas today. Certain Greek wineries have even been offering customization services since the 1980s. In fact, with some grapes and inexpensive materials, you can brew your own Greek wine for a fraction of the cost of store-bought varieties!
Wine has featured prominently in Greek culture since the days of old. It is well known that the men of ancient times loved to attend symposia, intellectual gatherings where philosophical topics were pondered over food and wine. The connection between wine and social gatherings has continued to the present day, where homemade wine is still an integral part of Greek cuisine. Before the rise of modern, stylish boutique wineries in Greece, tavernas (traditional Greek restaurants) brewed their own in-house wine or received bulk shipments from small, family-run wineries.
Today, many families and tavernas still brew their own wine, and custom make-your-own bottle services are still running and thriving today as they were a good 30 years before Viniv’s conception! One such winery that will produce your own vino for you is the Aggelos Rouvalis Winery, established in the 1990s at the forefront of Greece’s modern wine revival (their website is still under construction, but you can inquire about their custom wine service in person or via their contact info here). Located in the spectacularly green Aigion region of West Greece, Rouvalis Winery lets you create your own wine, from the label to the specific type of barrel and vineyard you want your wine to come from.
If you want to get a bit more hands-on, you can even create your own Greek wine at home through a simple, inexpensive process. After all, there’s no conversation starter like serving wine brewed in your own kitchen! GreekBoston.com has three excellent videos on making Greek wine at home, using either whole grapes, grape concentrate, or grape juice.
For the full Greek experience, serve your homemade or custom wine with mezedes, traditional Greek appetizers. Some of the best mezedes for red wine are keftedakia, traditional Greek meatballs, and soutzoukakia, which are keftedakia cooked in a slightly spicy tomato sauce. For white wine, Greek cheeses such as kasseri and graviera with crackers are best. And don’t forget to add a group of old friends, a veranda overlooking the Aegean Sea, and the sweet breeze of warm summer nights.
Experiential luxury? We’ll take the Greek version every time.
First photo of wine and bread- http://www.sigmalive.com/en/news/greece/135317/greek-wine-fashionable-in-london-and-new-york
Taverna wine jug- http://www.urbanfolk.eu/aluminum-wine-pitcher-copper-colour-1lt.html
Cheeses and olives- https://gr.pinterest.com/pin/295267319292938282/
Closing photo of wine glasses at sunset- http://www.liveinternet.ru/users/marina_margo/post184672304/