Viticulture is one of the most traditional activities in Zakynthos and the wine production is very notable. Let us know if you are interested and we will arrange a beautiful tour to some of the best local wineries where you can visit the fields, taste the products and purchase Zakynthos most notable wines.
Viticulture in Zakynthos reaches back as far as the early 17th Century, evidenced by a poem from the time that lists several grape varieties that are still cultivated on the island today. However, during the Venetian occupation of the Ionian Islands from the 1500s to the 1800s, many of the wine-producing vines were replaced with currants. By the 1700s, Zakynthos (along with Cephalonia) was one of the world's largest exporters of currants. Even today, the Zante currant is still widely produced in Zakynthos and is known worldwide.
Happily, some vineyards remained on the island, and have been increasing in acreage since the early 19th Century. Grape varieties such as Robola, Skiadopoulo, Katsakoulis and Pavlos are used to make Verdea wine, which is designated as an 'Appellation by Tradition' in Greek wine law (the same category as the famous Retsina wine of Attica).
The name Verdea comes from verde, the Latin word for green. This refers to the viticultural practice of picking the grapes while they are still slightly unripe (or green), giving rise to an idiosyncratic white wine with searingly high acidity. Traditionally, Verdea wine is aged in oak, and provides a good match for the local seafood. Verdea wines produced on Zakynthos are unrelated to the Verdea grape variety of Emilia-Romagna in Italy. While Verdea is by far the island's most important wine, some red wines are also made with Avgoustiatis and Xynomavro. A sweet white wine known as Lianoroidi is also made on the island from native grape varieties, although production of this regional style has declined significantly in the past century.