Wine Glossary – Drink in the Greek language


Every wine-producing region in the world has its own jargon. The French have terms for wine that Hungarians don’t, the Americans have terms for wine that Australians don’t, and the Italians have terms for wine that Germans don’t. In fact, throughout the world of wine, the only term that can transcend nations is the word translated “More.”

Greece, like the areas above, also has its share of jive wine, jive which is, forgive me, Greek to many of us. For those of us who aren’t travelers, this may not seem like a big deal. But, for those who plan to hop on a plane and enjoy the Balkans, it will help to be a bit well versed in cellar words. So take off your sandals, loosen your robe and pull up a chair… iot.

Archondiko: Now, if I had to guess, I would say that Archondiko is some kind of anchovy-flavoured wine. Turns out I’m wrong (sorry to disappoint you). Archondiko roughly translates to “Chateau”, which is a house located on a vineyard. In Greece, the word Archondiko can be found on the bottles of Topikos Oenos wines, the country’s wines that are usually made from different types of grapes.

Epitrapezios Oenos: The Epitrapezios Oenos is one of the simplest of Greek wines, like a wine that gets by on its own with the necessities of life (grapes, aging, oak barrels, and basic wire). These wines are essentially the table wines of the Greek nation.

Crater: In ancient times, a Krater was a ceramic bowl made of bronze (go figure) that held wine. The wine was poured into a Krater before it was poured into thirsty mouths.

Ktima: A word that translates to “Estate,” this term, like “Archondiko,” sometimes appears on the labels of Topikos Oenos Wines.

Kilix: Like a Krater, the Kylix was also used in ancient Greece. It was a shallow cup with two ornately decorated handles. A Kythos, or ladle, was used to scoop up the wine and put it into the Kylix. The chances of you coming across a Krater, Kylix, or Kythos are slim, unless you’re wondering around an antique shop…or a time machine.

Monastriri: A word meaning “Monastery”, this word sometimes appears on Topikos Oenos labels. This is based on the fact that there are several Greek monasteries, ancient and current, known to produce wine. In honor of the nuns, it is only fair that they get used to drinking wines with this word.

Stephanie: Stefani is a form of vine training (sit vine, sit… good dog). The vines are trained in such a way that they force the grapes to grow in the center, giving them natural protection from the wind. In Greek, Stefani translates to crown (it’s also my sister’s name, who won’t help you in Greece, but she’ll give you a lot of points if we ever meet).

Going to Greece is a unique experience; tasting wine will only aggravate this. A glass of Archarnes, a red wine, or a glass of Visanto, a sweet white wine, is sure to be an Alexander the Great moment.

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