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Limnos Wines

The connection of Hephaestus with Thoantas, the first king of Limnos, gives the stigma of vineyard and its importance to the island.
Vitiviniculture of Limnos is known to Homer, who mentions in Iliad that the wine of Limnos delighted Achaeans during the siege of Troy.
Since then, wine, together with cereals, doesn’t cease being classified among the main products of the island, with satisfying surplus for exports.
Ancient dwellers of Hephaestia had represented exactly the importance of local wine production through minting, sometimes with the head of Dionysus and sometimes with a bunch of grapes.

Vineyard of Limnos

Just like most of luxury wines of Greek Antiquity were known with the name of their production place, wine of Limnos also did: “The vineyards of Limnos” sang the chorus of farmers of Attiki in “Peace” by Aristophanes, and Polydefkis, in “Nominal”, is also referred to the “vineyard of Limnos”.
The first reliable and thorough evidences in relation with vineyards and production level of wine of Limnos, referred to post-Byzantine times (1261-1453 A.D.), concern buildings, mainly monastery dependencies of Mount Athos.

Lemnio (from Limnos) or kalampaki (black grape) of Limnos

Kalampaki of Limnos constitute the most ancient variety of the island. Its grape is small like a nail, has many pips and intense coloring. It isn’t eatable and is used only for wine production.

The variety of black grapes-kalampaki of Limnos was expanded in various places of Greece, such as in Chalkidiki, where there- out of the island’s borders- it acquired its designation of origin: Lemnio.

Muscat of Alexandria

Till 1910 approximately, when the variety of muscat of Alexandria (locals call it English or English vines) was imported in Limnos, there were cultivated only black grapes, that-is-to-say the varieties kalampaki (black grapes of Limnos), kuntra (black grape with short stalk) and fokiana (red grapes).
Nowadays, muscat of Alexandria, being more productive, passed over to a great extent the rest of local varieties, because, according to official data, it covered 95% of total grape production in 1992.
Wines of high alcoholic strength
Its volcanic ground, which is poor in calcium, climatic conditions, hot and dry summers and a few rainfalls, help the grapes of Limnos, muscat of Alexandria as well as of Limnos, to give high alcoholic strength.

Pits - sculptured earthenware jams
Till the beginning of the 60’s and in parallel with other traditional techniques, at three neighboring villages, in the depth of the bay of Moudros, they used a singular practice for the preparation of wine.
It’s about underground, sculptured in a soft natural rock, sizeable cavities in the shape of earthenware jam and you may see them through dense clumps in the villages Repanidi and Romanos. The extended communal areas of numerous cavities, in these two villages, are known till today under the name of Tsgouves.
In the village Varos, each house has usually its own installation that locals call it a pit. These sculptured in a rock earthenware jams sometimes were used as wine-press and sometimes for collecting and protecting the must, during fermentation. The pressing of great quantity of grapes had taken place near the pits, either in great wooden buckets, transferred there on the vintage day, or in relatively shallow pit, the so-called paravouto, which was sculptured near the cavity in the shape of an earthenware jam, with which it was connected through a narrow ditch, for the flow of must.

Vintage in Limnos
According to weather conditions, around 15th-20th September, the vintage had taken place mainly by women, while the simultaneous grapes’ pressing had been made mostly by men.
The dense clumps of wine-press in Romanos and Repanidi were then transformed to a “noisy swarm of bees”. One family was voluntarily helping the other, through harmony and mutual willingness, to the vintage and transportation of loads from vineyards as well as to the grapes’ pressing. The first loads –one-two donkey-loads–   were pressed at will directly inside the pits, while the rest quantity of grapes was pressed in wooden or sculptured pits. Grapes and musts were conveyed to the pit for the fermentation and remained there approximately for a week. Everyone who desired dry wine left them for more days, even for 40 days, closing the nozzle with a stone plug.
For the pumping, they dipped a basket in the pit, where they strained the wine and, clear off grapes, they put it in small handy pots or gourds.

Wine transportation
For wine transportation at home, they decanted it usually in small barrels and they used great pitchers, the so-called sourlades. These were initially imported to the island, but later they began constructing them in potters’ workshop of neighboring Kotsinas. In order to avoid the possibility of breaking the pitchers, they were placing straw and greens inside the hampers.

Vinification techniques
The preparation of barrel was composite, in order to receive the new wine: they removed old wine dregs, washing it well two-three times with water, where they added small gravels and then, for its effective disinfection, they burned candles of sulphur (thick threads impregnated with sulphur solution, hung on its upper great hole) inside it.
All the preparation was ending by washing the barrel with scalding hot water, where they added rosemary, quince leaves, pennyroyal, thyme and basil. In this way, they lent in barrels and wine all these characteristic scents.

Raki distilleries: raki of Limnos
After finishing the pumping from pits, they covered the rest of the grapes with a layer of dry seaweeds, so that to secure the necessary humidity, resealed the nozzle with the stone plug and straw-mud, left in that way for about one and a half-two months. Then, they transferred them to the raki distilleries, where after boiling and double distillation they produce tsipouro (distilled alcoholic beverage)/raki. Figs, raisin, barley, onions, corn, nutmeg, honey, mastiha and mainly anise, constituted the ingredients added to tsipouro, in order to acquire more sweetness and scent, but also milky color after its mixing with water.
After the end of wine preparation activities, pits were cleaned up carefully, left open, so that to be dry and then were sealed, in order to be preserved clean till next September.
At the rest of villages of Limnos, instead of sculptured pits, they had earthenware jams buried in the earth.
The varieties of the island are as follows:
1. Muscat of Alexandria, which has relatively thin and great grapes and in Greece is cultivated exclusively in Limnos. These grapes have pips and are exceptionally delicious, while, if become dry in the sun, give a savory raisin. The idea of producing sweet wine from the specific variety is due to its property of having high sugar content.
2. Red ancient Greek variety of Limnos, which is called kalampaki by the locals.

Wines of Limnos
Dry White Wine, Semi-dry White and Semi-sweet, Muscat of Limnos, Sweet White, Sweet Natural, from choice vineyards, Aegean Dry White, Dry Red, Dry Rosé, Retsina and those of first quality, of biological cultivation, Aroma of Limnos and Oaken Aroma of Limnos.


Association of Agricultural Cooperatives of Limnos

Myrina 81400
Tel.: 22540-22212, 22296

The Association of Agricultural Cooperatives of Limnos was founded in 1937.
Some of its wines are as follows:
Wines QWpsr: Muscat de Limnos & Muscat de Limnos Gran Cru
Wines VSOP: Aroma of Limnos, Oaken Aroma of Limnos, Dry of Limnos, Semi-sweet of Limnos, Semi-dry of Limnos.

Other wine producers of the island:

Ioannis Kremmydas & CO LP.

Pedino, Limnos, tel.: 22540-92635, 92316

This family company operates since 1935. The wines of the enterprise:
Dipolis, dry white, from muscat of Alexandria
Ntougia, dry red from Limnos (kalampaki)
Anthoinos, dry red from Georgia

Winery Xatzigeorgiou

81401 Karpasi, Limnos
Tel.: 22540 31082
It was founded by a meddlesome person, Petros Xatzigeorgiou, in 1987.
Its wines belong among the most known of Limnos in our country. The wine VSOP “Limnos Land” achieves great marketability.

Winery P. Chonas - P. Vastardos & CO GP.

81401 Kaminia, Moudros
Tel.: 22540-91100
It operates since 1994. Dry white wines Filonoi & Ilioni Limnos are its most known.

I. Savvoglou - P. Tsivolas “Wines and Spirits of Limnos”

81400 Kaspakas, Limnos
Tel.: 22540 22270, 210-2024806

The company was founded in 2002 and produces qualitative wines and spirits from grapes of biological cultivation.
Its wines:
Trip to Limnos, from muscat of Alexandria
Hephaestia of Limnos, with cabernet Sauvignon
La Terra, dessert wine from muscat of Alexandria

limnos wines

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