When you think Chios, your mind automatically ventures to mastic, the resin taken from the mastic tree Known in Greece as the “tears of Chios”, mastic is a product well-known to this region
Today, the Ariousios winery in the northwest of Chios is doing its best to live up to the historical relevance of wine in Chios, helping wine make an astounding resurgence and gain a wide-spread comeback.
Nectar of the Gods
According to Chian folklore, Oenopion, son of the god Dionysus, taught Chians to plant, cultivate and produce the “black wine”, which was one of the most remarkable and famous products produced by Chios in antiquity The ancient geographer Strabon defined the region of Ariousia—between the area of Pelinnaion Mountain and Cape Melena Akra—as the ancient wine-making region. Wine from the region of Ariousia was as well-known and as highly regarded as wine from Bordeaux Known as Homer’s wine; ancient poets called it the “nectar of the Gods”, and it was a favorite wine of the Romans The reputation of these wines continued through the Byzantine period.
This rich history spurred the owners of Ariousious Winery to o bring back the wine producing culture that once thrived on the island and cultivate a wine that would not only live up to its rich historical past, but be a fine wine for modern times.
Rebirth of the winery
Starting in 2001, Dimitris Kefalas and his team planted three different vineyards consisting of traditional Chian white varietals: Assyrtiko and Athiri and red varietals Chiotiko Krassero and Ayannitis which are used in the production of both dry and semi-sweet wines All three vineyards are planted at an average of 1,200 feet elevation on the slopes of the Amani mountain.
The winery which is located about 59 kilometres from Chios in a gorgeous location overlooking the Aegean sea opened in 2008. Dimitris opened the state-of-art winery and visitor center in 2009 They are still the ONLY commercial winery on the island!
The wines produced are done in a way that respects the ancient rituals, yet adheres to modern-day wine making styles The winery has been constructed to keep the ancient tradition of this wine making alive, with the ability to create and hold 150 tonnes of wine In the future, the winery is hoping this will increase to 300 tonnes.
The winery is made up of three levels that include an ageing cellar and an integrated and modern wine analysis laboratory. The founders encourage visitors to tour the winery and learn more about traditional agricultural tools and objects There is a tasting hall for visitors to sample the local wines, enjoy the views and environment while sipping a wine that dates back to ancient times Visitors can view wine production sites, explore oak barrels in the cellars and purchase wines and items relating to wine and wine making
The winery creates several Greek wines that incorporate the varieties of grapes available in this region and, at times, create a blend to match every palate.