Georgios Ioannidis, who taught Modern Greek in France before following his passion for wine and dedicating himself to researching the old Greek terroirs, at the Taste Workshop European Terroirs: Uncharted Greece will be guiding visitors through a journey to discover six wines from native grape varieties grown organically or biodynamically. The wines, from Cephalonia, Santorini, Naoussa and Crete, have striking aromatic purity and mineral refinement. Georgios will be joined by Vladis Sklavos from Domaine Sklavos in Cephalonia.
Here he talks about the story behind these wines…
Greece, France…can you tell me your story? How did you arrive in Paris?
I was born in Thessaloniki and moved to France where I worked as a professor. In 2005 I discovered my true vocation and my passion for the world of wine and decided to leave the teaching world to pursue other studies. I took part in various training courses in Burgundy and began my sommelier career before setting up Oenos Fruit Pierre Lumière in 2007, my import-export company. I represent seven Greek winemakers, as well as one Sicilian, and promote their products on the organic and natural wine market in Luxembourg and Japan. In France I work mainly with restaurants and wine cellars but I also work with many individual clients looking for special wines.
How did you manage to discover ancient Greek grape varieties?
In the easiest of ways! I started visiting each winemaker, one by one, selecting the producers, all small-scale, analyzing the quality of the wines and the methods they use. I can say that all my wines are organic, biodynamic or are moving towards becoming biodynamic. These winemakers often collaborate with those who cannot obtain organic certification, due to financial or bureaucratic difficulties. Personally, what matters to me is the relationship of trust that one builds with the producer, the absence of chemical products in the winemaking process and the techniques that are utilized, more than certifications.
Did you find it difficult to introduce Greek wines in France? t the beginning Greek wines were basically considered to be exotic wines, but I noticed that a lot of people were curious and greatly surprised when they started to learn more about them. I think they understood that the intense fruity aroma and mineral freshness of these wines was very similar to great French wines. At the moment I am very satisfied with the development of my company, and I see a growing curiosity for wines and oils of the Mediterranean area. Tasting them is not enough: people now want to learn about the guiding principles and the production methods. I can’t be anything but happy for this change.