In the middle of mainland Greece, the Thessalia or Thessaly region lies on a coastal plain that extends inland from the Pagassitikos Gulf and Aegean Sea, has Pindos Mountains to the west and Mount Olympus, the mythical home of the Greek Gods to the northeast. At the foot of the sacred mountain, is where the Tyrnavos vineyards are located.
The agricultural reputation of Thessaly always relied on grain production, as evidenced by archaeological findings. Thessaly was the granary of Greece in ancient times, and yet vineyards naturally grew wild when viticulture was started in the region. The Thessalian wines have been recognized as far back as in the Iliad where Homer wrote that Evnios, the son of Iasona and Ipsipilis, was sent to Troy with boats carrying wine from the vineyards of Thessaly.
The presence of the Greek God, Dionysus, the protector of vines and wine, can be found in Thessaly and particularly the area of Tyrnavos, where many worshiped him to watch over their vineyards. Written historical references to viticulture and wine in Tyrnavos exist in the Byzantine period, as well, when taxes were levied on wine by the Lord of Thessaly (ref. year 1295). From the Ottoman Empire rule through the release of Tyrnavos in 1881, the region’s vineyards were among the few estates which were recognized perfect and paid only the tithe of the grape must.
The current social and economic life of Tyrnavos is directly related to viticulture, wine and raki (grape marc spirit frequently flavored with anise seeds) and ouzo (Greek world-famous drink that originated from Tyrnavos).
The “Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) Tyrnavos” area that produces the wines is located at an altitude of 70-250 meters. The vineyard currently represents 50% of the total vineyards of Thessaly and it is among the most dynamic in the country. The surface area of the recommended and approved varieties is about 4,200 acres of the Muscat of Tyrnavos variety.
The soil is suitable for viticulture as it is mainly flat. The climate of the region has relatively low winter temperatures with moderate rainfall, while summers are usually hot and dry. From the varieties grown for the production of white, rosé and red, dry, semi-dry and semi-sweet wines and varietal PGIs, the primary wine is the Muscat of Tyrnavos. This variety is available worldwide, but in Greece, it is synonymous with Tyrnavos and is the global benchmark for this variety. Wines made from Muscat have an aromatic character reminiscent of rose, however the residual sugar emphasizes the explosive and sweet aroma.
PGIs of Tyrnavos wine production today includes ancient varieties such as Roditis and Bantiki (white), the Limniona (red) and even varieties grown recently such as Syrah, Merlot, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay and others. Protected Geographical Indication of Thessaly wines (PGI Thessaly) also come from the Tyrnavos region vineyards. Winemakers are mixing PGI wines and Protected Designation of Origin wines (PDO) to expand the varietal potential of quality wines.