The “knockout” tasting of 50 Great Greek Wines in London

The fourth promotional activity of the 50 Great Greek Wines for this year, following events in Belgium, Poland, and the Netherlands, took place under the auspices of the Greek National Tourism Organization and left a strong “legacy” for Greek wine in the professional wine scene of London. Specifically, we are talking about a trio of events that took place on May 28 and 29 in the heart of the capital of England, one of the most important target markets for Greek wine.

“At the Greek National Tourism Organization, we consider wine and gastronomy to be fundamental components of the Greek tourist experience, and we approach them as a unified entity and invest in promotional activities abroad. The Greek National Tourism Organization supports efforts to enhance the international presence of Greek wine by endorsing initiatives that contribute to this goal. One such exceptional initiative is the 50 Great Greek Wines and its events held in London with the participation of 33 wineries from all over Greece. The connection of wine at this level of quality with the country’s high-end tourism product is extremely important in a market like England. I thank the distinguished Master of Wine, Mr. Yiannis Karakasis, for the excellent collaboration, which is a strategic choice for us!” commented the Secretary General of the Greek National Tourism Organization, Mr. Dimitris Fragakis.

The three different activities are summarised with a high-standard Masterclass led by Yiannis Karakasis MW and Stefan Neumann MS, an inspired dinner that ideally paired Scandinavian haute cuisine with selected wines from this year’s competition and the centrepiece of the events, the Trade Walk Around Tasting, which brought 50 Great Greek Wines to top British professionals who responded to the invitation of the 33 participating wineries and organisers.

These events showcased a contemporary image of Greek wine, precisely what the 50 Great Greek Wines platform represents. The British participants offered rave reviews, even calling it a “knockout tasting” of Greek wine. More than 200 professionals attended the three events, including a significant number of 20 Masters of Wine and Master Sommeliers. “Beyond the positive comments and impressive absolute numbers, what set these events apart was the absolute focus on the elite professionals of London who responded in large numbers and exceeded the producers’ expectations in terms of quality business contacts”, stated Yiannis Karakasis MW, founder of the 50 GGW.

More specifically about each event, the Masterclass took place on May 28 at the 5-star hotel “The Great Scotland Yard,” a few meters from the historic Trafalgar Square. Thirty professionals, including Masters of Wine, sommeliers from two—and three-Michelin-star restaurants, and wine journalists, attended the captivating “narrative” about the varieties, the people, and the production sites of the 18 wines from the 50 GGW list that were presented.

On Wednesday, May 29, 33 award-winning wineries from the 50 GGW participated in the large Walk Around Tasting in the heart of Soho at a high-standard venue, the Moonchu Hall of the China Exchange. 140 opinion leaders of the market tasted both the wines listed in the 50 GGW | The List and other selected labels from the producers’ portfolios, gaining a more comprehensive understanding of their work. Gregory Michailos DipWSET, development manager of the 50 GGW, stated that this event was also a “magnet” for high-profile professionals and continued by saying that they received flattering comments for the 50 GGW initiative to be held in London, strengthening the message of greatness through the innovative platform that highlights the quality of Greek producers’ work.

The trio of actions concluded on the evening of May 29 with a collaboration between the 50 GGW and the restaurant Ekstedt at the Yard, run by Michelin-starred chef Niklas Ekstedt, which united two different worlds. The wine and food pairings curated by the restaurant’s sommelier, Klearchos Kanellakis, showcased the gastronomic dimension of Greek wines and their adaptability to different cuisines and ingredients that are at the forefront of the international gastronomic scene.

Statements:

Stefan Neumann (Master Sommelier):  “Unique to try so many fantastic Greek wines in one space and with the majority of producers present it was a Sommeliers “sweet shop”. A feast for the palate too and certainly fantastic to see so many wines from Cyprus.”

Peter Richards (Master of Wine): “Wow! Just when you thought Greek wine couldn’t get any more exciting, then along comes the 50 Great Greek Wines tasting in London and it blows you away. This was an outstanding collection of wines and winemakers from around Greece offering up a delicious array of wines showcasing the very best this country has to offer. As a carefully curated selection, it makes your experience as a taster so much more efficient and worthwhile. Congratulations to Yiannis Karakasis, the organisers and judges – and of course to the hard-working wine teams themselves.”

Mike Best (Master of Wine):  “I came to the tasting with a sense of excitement, and it absolutely delivered. The format of four wines per producer was manageable and made me keen to find out what else they make. It’s hard to stand out on the London tasting calendar but this was one of this year’s highlights”

Lenka Sedlackova (Master of Wine):  “What an exciting opportunity to show the UK wine trade the essence of 50 GGW, via a focused tasting of some of the most exciting wines currently coming out of Greece and Cyprus. So many positive compliments from attendees!”

Christos Zafeirakis (Ktima Zafeiraki): “It was a very important exhibition and presence for Greek wine. We had the opportunity to meet very influential people in the wine industry. It was definitely the most constructive exhibition I have attended. What impressed me the most was the high level of wine expertise among the visitors. I think it was the first time I met so many wine professionals in just six hours.”

Matt Van der Spuy (Charalaboglou Winery): “1st of all and most importantly – it was the best way to advertise and showcase some of the best Greece has to offer! This was amplified by the fact that all of the people there are in the wine business and have great wine knowledge already. I believe the tasting left a very positive impression on overall wine quality and cemented confidence in prospecting UK buyers of Greek wine. On our side of the table, the feedback from every single person who came to our stand was more than positive! This was from top wine buyers, sommeliers, and multiple MW’s. Through this tasting we had multiple offers to import our wines.”