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Please see HERE the Peloponnese wineries.

The Peloponnese peninsula (Peloponnesus) is a large landform on the southern edge of continental Greece. Covered in mountains, rugged plateaus and valleys, the area has an abundance of mesoclimates and terroirs suitable for premium viticulture. Native grape varieties such as AgiorgitikoMoschofilero and Mavrodaphne are planted throughout the Peloponnese peninsula, making everything from fresh, minerally white wines to rich, age-worthy red wines.

The peninsula (technically an island after the opening of the Corinth Canal in 1983) is the meeting place of the Aegean, Ionian and Mediterranean seas. Measuring some 8300 square miles (21,500 square km) in size, the land covers an area slightly smaller than the US state of New Jersey. Several mountain ranges traverse the Peloponnese, and it is here that most Peloponnese viticulture takes place.

Two of the most highly-respected Protected Designation of Origin appellations in Greece – Nemea and Martinia – are located on the eastern side of the Peloponnese, at altitudes that reach as high as 2500ft (800m) above sea level. Despite the close proximity of the Aegean Sea, the climate in these areas is perhaps more continental than Mediterranean, and winters are decidedly colder than in more low-lying areas of Greece. During the growing season, hot days are followed by colder nights, extending the ripening period and leading to a balance of flavor and acidity in the grapes. Both the red Agiorgitiko and white Moschofilero grape varieties are characterized by their refreshing acidity, so this diurnal temperature variation is vital to the quality of the wines produced there.

Patras, on the north-western edge of the Peloponnese peninsula, has an official vineyard zone of a similarly high altitude. Here, the sweet wines of three different PDO appellations are produced: Muscat of PatrasMuscat of Rion and the famous Mavrodaphne of Patras. These are complemented by the dry white wines of Patras, made from the Roditis grape variety. On the south-east coast of the peninsula, the PDO Monemvasia-Malvasia appellation covers sweet white wines made from a blend of grape varieties (with a minimum of 50% Malvasia).

As in much of Greece, winegrowing on the Peloponnese peninsula dates back thousands of years, and the region – home to the famous ancient sites of Sparta and Olympia – is important as a whole in Greek history. Homer referred to the area as Ampeloessa, meaning ‘full of vines’ and there is evidence that wine was made here as long as 4000 years ago.

The Middle Ages was a particularly fruitful time for Peloponnese winegrowing, and the port of Monemvasia became known as a trading post for the famous sweet wines of Malvasia. The Venetians, who ruled much of the Aegean Islands, exported this wine across Europe to the cities of London, Paris and Florence. The beginning of Ottoman rule in the 16th Century saw a significant reduction in vineyard land, and in the early 19th Century many of the best vineyard sites were planted with the Corinthiaki grape variety for the production of raisins rather than wine.

The modern Peloponnese wine industry began to grow following the end of World War 2, and today the region is one of the most viticulturally productive in Greece. Along with the seven PDO-level appellations, there are 17 regional appellations scattered across the whole area, including Tegea, Arcadia, Corinth and the Slopes of Petroto. A wide range of Greek and international grape varieties are covered by these appellations, including AssyrticoChardonnayGewurztraminerRefosco and Cabernet Sauvignon. (Courtesy Wine-Searcher.)