I like the culture around wine. I like wineries, especially the old ones. But when I visited the one where one of the most popular and good Greek wines is made – the legendary wine named “Katogi Averof” in Metsovo, in Epirus region – I was really impressed. How interesting and how modern the whole atmosphere was! (And a rare opportunity for some brilliant photos).
Before I went down the cellar Helen Bissa (front desk manager at my favorite Metsovo hotel “Katogi Averof” which connects underground with the winery and cellar) showed me a small exhibition of personal objects of Evangelos Averof (the creator of the winery as well as famous greek politician) and rare pieces from his other collections (ancient coins, vases, weapons, etc.). It was an interesting preview for what was soon to follow ….
I went downstairs.An air of condensation engulfed me. The cellars here are not just about excellent winemaking only. They also host among the old barrels and the shadowy corridors a unique piece of real history. The history of wine as it was envisioned by Evangelos Averof, a nobleman and patrician from Metsovo.
I walked among the oak barrels, surrounded by the dense smell of wine which remains dormant in them for many years, discovering images, sounds from a great wine narrative.
It was Averof the one who discovered in an old ledger of 1723 that the vineyards of Metsovo gave at that time 50,000 bottles of wine! Moreover,he discovered this at a time when no one was making wine in Metsovo!
Thus he began in 1950 a serious revival of the vineyards at Giniets area, these are at the slopes of the mountains surrounding Metsovo. Vineyards are quite high here. Actually,these particular ones are the most mountainous vienyards in Greece!
Incidentally in these very vineyards, cabernet sauvignon was firstly cultivated in Greece. At the beginning, the wine production was taking place in the cellar of the Vasiloarchontissa’s House (historic mansion of Metsovo).
I keep looking at the old photos of that old cellar presented as quite large and bright between the barrels. Look! Here! there is even a picture of Averof himself transfusing his wine with a wooden jug…
Yes, I know very well that I am in a winery, but I feel the same warmth as inside a movie theater. Slides and videos projections everywhere, music, sounds, speeches, documents, aroma of yeast fermentation. Most probably it’s better than the movies are (the aromatic quintessence of wine is missing there…).
I get to the transluscent corridor with the blue electric lights! Well, tell me have you ever seen a most unusual winery?A higly aesthetic miracle! A warm “bravo” to Mary Koumandaropoulou who was responsible for the whole architectural diligence.
I am excited! I read. I heard. I smelled. Well, time for a little degustation! Let’s sit by the atmospheric wine bar. Lying here in the cool basement, surrounded by hundreds of old glass bottles lined like a drunken army. Everything shines. Everything is simple.
May I have a glass of “Estate Averof” please …
Where am I?
The winery is located in Epirus, in Metsovo, one of the most popular villages of Greece. The quickest way to come here is through Egnatia Odos (either through Ioannina, or through Veria).