Enjoy wine tasting in Zante
Perhaps you already know about Zante’s world-class beaches and the dreamy contrast of its lush green landscape against the clear-blue Ionian Sea. But what you’re less likely to know is that it’s another Ionian island that’s rediscovering its wine-making roots.
Following the lead of Kefalonia, Lefkada and Corfu, Zakynthos (as it is also called) has been grabbing attention as a winegrower in recent years. However, unlike its island neighbours, its topography is milder and most of the vineyards are found at lower altitudes (the highest is at 300-400m). This makes them easily accessible and a handful of wineries offer wine-tasting and cellar & vineyard tours very close (2-12km away) to Hora, Zante’s main town.
Modern winemaking on Zante can be traced to the island’s Venetian rule (specifically the 19th century) through the white PGI Verdea wine, which still dominates production in the central Verdea of Zakynthos Zone. Describing a type of wine rather than a grape variety, Verde is so-called because of the youthful green colour of the grapes used to produce it, which must be at least 50% local variety PGI Skiandopoulo and can also include Pavlos, Robola and/or Goustolidi grapes. Traditionally, Verdea had a high alcohol content and was almost sherry-like, although nowadays it is typically fruity and fresh and more amber in colour. Likewise, wines made from Robola are different to those produced in Kefalonia (the home of Robola wines).
Other indigenous grape varieties include PGI Moshatella and PGI Migdali (white) and PGI Avgoustiatis (the predominant and most promising red variety), contributing to an impressive range of reds, whites and roses (including semi-dry and semi-sweet wines). Indeed, for an up-and-coming wine producer, the range of grape varieties in Zante is eye-catching… Fileri, Korithi and Asproudes among the whites and Katsakoulias, Mavrodafni and Skylopnihtis among the reds.
Visiting a winery and wine tasting will be one of the least expected things to do on your holidays in Zante. But once you do, your taverna experience there will never be the same and you’ll be tempted to buy a bottle or two to remind you of your time in Greece once you’re home.
* For details of wineries you can visit in Zakynthos (including distance from Hora), see the When to go section below.