A tour through Ilia’s and Achaia’s wine regions reveals a beautiful world of young and very old vines, a combination of excellent indigenous and international varieties, vertigo-inducing vineyards and lower lying spots for viticulture, as well as the contradiction between the imposing mountain tops and their proximity to the sea. A generation of soulful winemakers attracted by these excellent terroirs and the timeless feel of the land are working their “magic” to establish Achaia and Ilia wines across the world. The last two decades have witnessed a sustainable growth and there are so many interesting things that take place both in the vineyards and the winery.
Among the greatest changes seen throughout the last years, is a great focus on terroir. There is much more emphasis paid in the vineyard. Producers have an imperative to strengthen the uniqueness of terroir and produce wines that clearly speak of their origins. The increasing level of confidence in the cellars allows them to take a closer look at the vineyards, to exploit the terroirs and the largely untapped possibilities of the indigenous varieties.
Although there is much heterogeneity in Achaia and Ilia, the overall perfect Mediterranean climate creates excellent conditions for wine growing. Organic farming is easy, especially at high altitudes, and more producers are trying to preserve biodiversity in their vineyards.
This is achieved in many ways that are directly related to viticultural practices. Some producers work in a sustainable way, limiting spraying with herbicides and chemicals, while others practice organics and biodynamics in the fields. Even conventional growers, however, do not need to make many interventions because of the excellent climate. This is something that enhances the message of terroir.
On the high-altitude vineyards of Aigialia, there is an impressive number of preserved old vines. Before the arrival of modern viticultural advances, the common practice was to co-plant several different grapes in the same vineyards (field-blends).