The kind of wildlife we are up against in our estate, and what are some of the ways we are able to protect ourselves from these animals without interfering with their lives
The wildlife living within and near our vineyard consists of different kinds of birds, rabbits, wild pigs, foxes, snakes, pelicans, frogs, some fishes -into our artificial lakes-,grisels, weasels and two years ago we had seen two woolves. Fortunately, the last ones were not hungry so... The animals, if you do not bother or threaten them, would not attack you, so we have never had a problem. Of course, the willd pigs or the rabbits might eat some grapes or vine leaves, but this is how nature works: every creature in this world has to be fed, not only man. So there is no need to interfere in their lives, this would rather cause than solve problems (no one, for example, wants to mess up with a wild pig, especially with an angry one). After all, among the vineyards there are some small ravines where the animals usually hide while we are working during the day and they come out when we are finished, when the potential “danger” for them is gone; so, everyone is happy
What made us decide to incorporate the biodynamic element into our winemaking as well
- I will explain a bit more explicitely our philosophy. Our vision is to have a vineyard based on permaculture. To achieve this, first we have to pass through the biodynamie, which heals the earth, and then we can go on with permaculture; for us, biodynamie is just a transitional level between organic farming and permaculture. That’s why we began to apply it. As for the winemaking, we will continue to follow the biodynamic rules.
- The first time that I heard about natural wine was from my grandfather. He was winemaker in Ortaki -a region that belongs in Bulgaria now- before his territory was invaded by the Bulgarians and he, among with the other Greeks of the region, was forced to move away from his land. After that, he could not afford to make a winery in Greece too, but he produced his own wine in small quantities just for his family, for old time’s sake. He used to bottle the wines and do the vintage and all the other winemaking procedures in compliance with the celestial rythmes. So these are the images and the experiences that I had as a child, which formed my mentality regarding winemaking as an adult.
- When I finally decided to build my own winery, I took an opinion of a very famous oenologue here, who told me that biodynamie would not work in a big scale production. Even though I took his advice and I did not use biodynamic rules in a large scale for our commercial wines, I continued to follow them for making experimental wines. In 2015, after a lot of blind tastings of our more “conventional”(they are organic of course) wines and of our experimental biodynamic wines, we decided that we will take the risk and we will do a bigger quantity of biodynamic wine.
- It was the dream of my grandfather to build again a winery and making the great wine that he always did. I am very pleased that I could finally fulfill his dream!
We are dedicated to using Greek grapes in order to represent our country’s proud history of winemaking, but we also describe them as “remarkable”, “misunderstood” and “promising” for the wine world.
- Remarkable: The Greek varieties, especialy Xinomavro -which is the “king”of Greek varieties for me-, give remarkable results. It is astonishing!For example Xinomavro gives so different flavours and aromas when you vinifie it as roze or red or blanc de noir! In the red “version” it gives more tomato and olive aromas. As a roze, the aromas are more like berries and cherries. And finally in a blanc de noir vinification, it gives more botanical aromas, like thyme and rosemary. I think we have a lot of work to do until we fully understand the potentials of each variety.
- Misunderstood: In the past, most of the viticulturists and winemakers prefered to use international grape varieties, because they considered them to be better than the indigenous (xenomania is unfortunately part of the greek mentality), something that has proven to be wrong over the years. The Greek varieties have many potentials and they are adjusted to our climate and soil conditions better than any other variety.
- Promising: Thanks to the potentials that the Greek varieties have, they are very promising for the future of winemaking in Greece.
Stavroula helps us with the actual winemaking as agronomist-oenologist, and also paints the labels for our bottles. This sounds like to be any father’s dream set up! But how does it all work out in the day to day?We have also some funny stories or family traditions at Kamara.
- Stavroula painted the labels. It was spontaneous, we can say. She was angry one day, it is so typical of her, and she just stopped her job and begun to draw the surroundings of our winery. After finishing, she was ready to throw the drawing away, the anger has passed, so, for her, the painting was now useless. During this period of time, we were trying to figure out how the labels of our new natural wines could be. We discussed with many different graphist designers, but nothing met our expectations for something special. This is when I saw my daughter’s paintings and I thought that this is exactly what we were looking for. Fortunately, I understood that before she had the time to throw the paintings away.
- As for familly traditions, we have a lot. The first is to argue me the father with Stavroula.We have very similar characters and so, you understand, there’s a fight almost every time we try to have a discussion that includes wines. The funny thing is that when we argue, we have the same opinion, but we say it in a different way and that’s why we argue. Thankfully, my wife and my twin boys, Apostolos and Thanasis, are calmer and they save the conversation.
- There are many stories like these, but if I had to tell them all, a book of 100 pages would certainly not be enough.