Lisa Stavropoulos Partners with Greek Wineries to providing an exclusive look into Greek Viticulture and Lifestyle
SONOMA COUNTY, CA – It’s common to run a wine business from Northern California, the undisputable historic heart of the U.S. industry. Less common: a wine business focused not on Cabernet, Merlot and Pinot Noir, but on Assyrtiko, Xinomavro and Moscofilero.
Yet, that’s what happened when Penngrove resident and wine-industry veteran Lisa Stavropoulos married her Greek ex-pat husband in 2011. After many family trips to Greece, from mountains to islands, Lisa recognized something else was budding among the vines: quality wine from small, attentive producers that needed an international market. When Mark Squires, Greek wine reviewer for Robert Parker’s “The Wine Advocate,” noted, “Greece is the ultimate cult wine destination in the future,” Lisa decided to help put the country on the wine map.
Armed with her experience promoting Argentina’s emerging wine tourism business, she set a goal to do the same for Greece. Lisa shifted the strategy of her consulting firm, Anthos Marketing, to focus on Greek wine marketing and education. She developed personal and professional friendships with top Greek winemakers, leading Greek wine importers, and other category movers and shakers. She created the free “Greek Wine On the Go” mobile app that educates users about common Greek red and white varietals (including pronunciation!), wine-growing regions, and producers. Lisa’s “The Greek Grape” blog gives readers the fascinating back stories of wine tasting in context.
But working in Napa Valley and Argentina, Lisa knew the best way to fully appreciate a wine region is to experience it. So in 2016, she launched Greek Grape Wine Tours (www.greekgrapewinetours.com) to lead wine lovers through the unchartered wine producing regions of Greece.
“You can learn only so much from an app or a blog: it’s the hands-on and personal experiences that are memorable.” Stavropoulos says. “Greek Grape Wine Tours gives me the opportunity to do what I do best; sharing the incredible world of Greek wines and those who make them in a beautiful and unbelievably diverse wine country.”
Greek Grape Wine Tours introduces wine enthusiasts, food lovers, and history buffs to lesser known parts of Greece, including the rugged northern region of Naoussa, home of the bold red Xinomavro (think Nebbiolo); the Peloponnese appellations of Nemea, where the Agiorgitiko grape thrives (think Merlot), and Mantinia, known for the heady, aromatic white grape Moschofilero (forget Viognier).
Lisa’s tours include visits to archaeological sites and an island (or two). Greek Grape Wine Tour participants explore ancient ruins in and around Athens while also having time to enjoy Athens’ wine and cocktail bars and vibrant nightlife. Shopping? Lisa has that covered, from hip boutiques to the historic Monastiraki flea market. Archaeological treasures in the North and the South won’t be missed. The tour includes a visit to the stunning volcanic island of Santorini famous not only for its white-washed villages but also its Assyrtiko grape, grown in basket weave vines like nowhere else in the world, and yielding similarly unusual and delicious white wines.
Thanks to Lisa’s personal relationships with local winemakers, travelers can look forward to seeing a Greece that most tourists never experience. In 2017 and 2018, Lisa will lead two 11-day tours in June (April in 2018) and September which includes: 11 nights double-occupancy accommodations in highly rated hotels; all ground transportation and domestic flights to Thessaloniki, Santorini and Athens; meals (all breakfasts, five group lunches and dinners); museum entrance fees and private guides; winery visits, tours, tasting fees and tips. Round trip airfare and travel insurance are not included.
For more information including pricing and reservations, visit www.greekgrapewinetours.com. Lisa is also available to answer questions about anything Greek wine related at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 415-412-4524.
Email the author: The Hellenic Journal