Thessaloniki needs no excuse to raise a glass of the good stuff to life. So if you’re a wine-lover, there’s an extra special treat in store when you visit Greece’s second city. Just ask for a recommendation in a bar or restaurant and, odds are, you’ll be directed to a label from a winery just a handful of kilometers away.
What you’ll discover is that Thessaloniki’s vineyards are part of a network of Winemakers of Northern Greece, a group of wineries committed to advancing the name of Greek wines internationally. And we’re not just talking taste, tannins and body. When it comes to Thessaloniki’s winemakers, their goal is to make their wines a part of the city’s cultural footprint… every bit as much as its temples, markets, basilicas, castles, baths, mosques and art deco buildings.
So going on a wine tour is a great way to get to know the region. There are wineries within an hour’s drive in every direction. To the west, you reach Kalohori, on the outskirts of the bird-rich Axios Delta wetlands, and to the north are the vineyards around Langadas, in the foothills of Mt Ossa. And heading south, you pass the seaside escapes of Perea, Agia Triada and Nea Michaniona to perhaps Thessaloniki’s best-known wine-growing area, Epanomi, on the edge of the Thermaic Gulf. Many have been awarded protected geographical indications (PGI) status.
You’ll visit a winery that has incorporated a museum into its grounds (look for the collection of corkscrews and wine-growing tools) and another dedicated to changing the international perception of retsina (exporting Greece’s famous resinated wine to dozens of countries). And others have become 100% organic.
Touring the vineyards and cellars will give you an appreciation of the first-rate facilities, so make sure to book a wine-tasting session and choose which bottle you’ll be taking home with you.
The best day trips from Thessaloniki