Wine is called the alcoholic beverage, which is made by fermenting grapes or juice (must), in (usually wooden) barrels. The process of viticulture is presumed to have its origins in the agricultural revolution and the permanent settlement of populations for the purpose of cultivation, around 5000 BC, while the history of Greek wine extends from the 7th century BC to the present. The main ingredients of wine are alcohol (about 10-12%), carbohydrates (2.6%), simple sugars (0.6%) and water (over 70%). The content of these substances depends on variety, subsoil, climatic conditions, but also at the time of grape maturation.
Wines are grouped into types based on specific criteria. The first criterion for differentiating wine types is the color, a characteristic which depends mainly on the vine variety used for the production of wine and on the type of winemaking. Thus wines are divided into: (a) White, (b) Rosé and (c) Red. The second criterion is sweetness, that is, the content of wines in sugars, which distinguishes them in: (a) Dry, (b) Semi-dry, (c) Semi-sweet and (d) Sweet. The sweetness of the wines is due to sugars that remain dry, if the alcoholic fermentation is prevented or interrupted. The last criterion for wine types is carbon dioxide (CO2). Depending on their content, wines are distinguished in: (a) Quiet, (b) Semi-sparkling and (c) Sparkling.
The Greek wine is distinguished by the following most popular white varieties: Savvatiano (Attiki), Moschofilero (Mantinia), Asyrtiko (Santorini). The most famous red varieties are Agiorgitiko (Nemea), Xinomavro (Naoussa) and Mandilaria (Crete). In Greek legislation, four quality wine categories are envisaged:
- Table wines - Vins de Table: There are no restrictions on varieties or grapes origin, so winemakers have the freedom to produce the wine they want.
- Regional Wines: Grapes come from a specific geographical area, which is designated as a wine - producing region, eg. Local Wine of the Peloponnese, Local Wine of Mount Athos, Local Wine of Macedonia, etc.
- Controlled Designated Origin Wines - OPE / AOC: These are naturally sweet quality wines, specific varieties of grapes and areas such as Mavrodaphni Patron, Moschato Rios, Moschato Samou, etc.).
- Wines of Higher Quality Designation - OPAP / V.Q.P.R.D. : These are wines of superior quality, made with grapes from specific varieties, locations and way of production.
- Tsipouro and Tsikoudia: the traditional Greek grape marc distillate, from discontinuous distillation to the nuggets, after the alcoholic fermentation of the grapes and a quantity of must. The difference between tsipouro and tsikoudia is the double and single distillation respectively, although this is not a rule.
- Ouzo: it is derived from aromatized alcohol distillation, but it can also be produced by spraying alcohol with flavorings, especially anise and fennel. It is usually a small distillation product (legally, at least 20% of its alcoholic strength), while ouzo is produced exclusively by distillation.
- Other spirits: Tentoura, Chios Mastiha, Kumquat Corfu, Kitros Naxos.