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The Greek Wine Industry


The wine making sector is directly intertwined with viniculture, which has been known since ancient times. The wine making sector of our country has the following characteristics:
The long-standing tradition of the Greeks with the vine and wine.
The climatic peculiarity and the specific terrain characteristics of the specific terrain characteristics of the Greek land, which aids the existence of a diversified range of high quality (it is estimated that there is a total sum of over 300 native varieties in our country).
The Greeks' cultural relationship with wine, an integral part of their festivals.
The country's tourist development of modern times with the millions of visitors, which may form the spark for the promotion of exports of quality Greek products, accompanied by growth in new dynamic markets.

The viticulture sector is peculiar for its large number of agricultural developments of a small size. The total area of wine producing farmlands has shrunk significantly in the last 20 years. More specifically, in the period 1988 - 1996, the wine producing lands were reduced (due to the abandoning of land - uprooting) by 135,422 thousand square metres (16% reduction) totalling 707,922 thousand square metres.

The total domestic production since the incorporation of our country in the European Union has been falling, just like the respective European and world production. The average production of wine during the five-year period between 1996 - 2000 comes up to 389,3 million litres.

From a composition point of view, the domestic wine production primarily includes white wines, with the reds following at a distance while roses have been constantly falling in terms of production volume. More specifically, white wines cover about 70.5% of the total production, while the reds have a 29,5% share.

The largest share in the domestic wine production has to do with table wines at 85,8% during 1998 - 99, with the named location wines (VQPRD) following at a great distance at 14,2%. An increase trend is however visible for this wine category, in the context of the quality upgrade of the Hellenic Wine Industry.

The wine market in our country is highly self sufficient, more than covering domestic consumption, the result being a large need for exports. However, the exports developments have been negative with an annual reduction of 2% during the 1990 - 1998 period. Bottled wine share, however, has been on the rise, since from a 34% share in exports in 1990 it has come up to 60,2% in 1998, which is indicative of the progress accomplished regarding the composition of exports. The exported wine production percentage for the last five-year period has come between 14 - 17% of the respective domestic product.

Contrary to exports, the penetration of imports in the overall domestic market comes to about 1,3%. Overall the total imports developments have been stable with increase trends, where the annual increase average has been about 0.7%.

As regards the annual per capita consumption of wine, the average in Greece for the last five years has been around 26.2 litres per capita. For the year 1998 / 99 consumption was 28,2 litres per capita. The difference is notable with other wine producing countries of the E. U. where the consumption has been 60,1 lt. Per capite in France, 58.5 in Italy, 53 in Portugal and 36,9 litres per capita in Spain. Bottled wine volume for recent years is estimated at around 105 million litres. The largest part pertains to while wines (around 78 - 80%). Half of this production has to do with retsina wine.

It is worth noting that the domestic market is going through a reshuffling phase, a characteristic of which is the establishment and gradual expansion of wine producing units for "limited" production wines. The necessity is great for a continuous effort for the upgrading of Greek wines (widening of OPAP and OPE wines) as well as for the intensifying of exporting efforts in tandem with the attempt for the establishment of the image of the "quality" Greek wine.

Source: Athens Chamber of Commerce & Industry



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