How Greece`s debt crisis is impacting its Wine Industry

Greece contains some of the oldest wine-producing areas on the planet, with vineyards having been in some parts of the country for more than 4,000 years.

As the European Union engages in protracted negotiations over the fate of Greek debt refinance and the status of Greece in the common currency union of the euro, changes have been felt at many levels of Greek society, and certainly in the wine industry. Greece is among the top 10 wine producers of the European Union, with over 300 indigenous varietals, and wine is one of Greece’s top exports to the US.

But how has the financial crisis specifically played out for wine drinkers and wineries? It seems to have both isolated Greek wine drinkers on one hand, and conversely, brought them more in line with modern consumption trends on the other. Taking a short view, the state of Greek wine seems good. But as with so much else in Greece, there are some looming challenges that could bring catastrophic outcomes. Here’s what’s happening with Greek wine:

Greeks Are Still Drinking Greek Wine

The isolationist mood of Greek wine drinkers is underscored by statistics mentioned recently by Konstantinos Lazarakis, a Greek Master of Wine and author of the definitive book The Wines of Greece. According to Lazarakis, imported wines make up only about two percent of current wine consumption inside Greece. That is to say, some 98 percent of the wine that Greeks drink in their own country is of Greek origin. This does not carry over as much into the spirits world, as restaurants stocking only Greek wines will also commonly carry global liquor brands on their shelves, such as Beefeater Gin, Bacardi Rum, and Johnnie Walker Scotch.