The Ionian Islands
The Ionian Islands, also known as the Seven Islands, have their own historical viticulture due to the climate, cultivation and unique wine making. In addition, the uniqueness of each island’s terrain and multiple vine varieties being cultivated, allows for the production of a wide range of wines.
Cephalonia produces the well-known wine of Appellation of Origin of High Quality “CEPHALONIAN ROBOLA” from the white grape variety Robola, cultivated on mountainous parts of the island.
In Lefkada, the red dry wine from the Vertzami variety is cultivated on stone-supported terrain which reach up to 800 meters altitude.
Zakynthos is a flat island, full of greenery where they have always cultivated various grapes for wine production.
The Island of Cephalonia
According to Greek mythology, Cephalus, son of Hermes and Ersi, while being chased by the gods, arrived in “Athenian land” (“Athinaea” in Greek), where he planted a vine to remind him of his home, Athens. In the course of time, “Athenian” became “Thrinaea” and eventually it came to be known as Thinia, whereas the island itself was named Cephalonia, after Cephalus.
Robola has survived through the centuries and has even been improved. It is protected by special legislation as a wine with Protected Designation of Origin (P.D.O.).
The microclimates created by the hills and mountains, the anhydrosity of the bedrock, the winter and summer temperatures all combine to provide a suitable home for the Robola variety. Due to the slope and location of the majority of the vineyards, cultivation by mechanical means is not an option.
The majority of the vineyards have the traditional 1.6m x 1.6m vine spacing. This allows for better shading of the ground and better exposition of the grapes.
The vines sit on poor soils, but their strong roots extend into cracks and crevices in the Dolomitic limestone bedrock, fractured by seismic action since antiquity. These cracks are filled with better soils washed in by winter rains. The bedrock is very anhydrous and the vines root systems survive by obtaining water by capillary action. The soil is generally described as limestone. The nutritional status is generally low-to-moderate in terms of vigor potential and drainage hazard is generally low.
To create a successful capillary, the growers allow the vines to bush out, creating shade. This is one of the reasons for their low appearance.
Since 1999, a portion of 10% of the Vineyard has reverted to Organic Cultivation.