The Largest Single Organic Vineyard in Greece
Its wines, famed throughout the known world bearing the place names Toroni, Acanthus and Olympus, and referred to in many texts of past ages, were the forerunners of the present-day wines from the Slopes of Mt.Meliton region, now recognized as wines with Protected Designation of Origin (P.D.O.) “Meliton Slopes”. The idea of reviving the region was born around 1965 by Yannis Karras, who decided to take advantage of the valuable gift that nature gave generously to the unique slopes of Meliton.
The Historic Vineyard
The first vineyards and olive groves began to be planted at the beginning of 1965, while work also commenced then on the innovative tourism Resort which is associated with the Domaine Porto Carras, creating a real revolution in the hotel and wine-making sector in Greece at that time. On the western side of Chalkidiki’s Sithonia Peninsula, where the verdant slopes of Mt. Meliton stretch down to mingle with the crystal clear waters of Toroneo Bay, 470 hectares of the domaine where inside there is thw largest organic Greek vineyards lie in amphitheatre-like formation. These vineyards are some of the largest in Europe.
The vineyards were designed by university professors from the Thessaloniki School of Agronomy and Athens Vine & Wine Institute in an exemplary manner. For the first time a systematic study was carried out on the suitability of foreign varieties in Greece. The Domaine’s people have respected the magnificence of this unique environment. Wherever there were forests, they have been left untouched. Thus the trees today still constitute a natural barrier, trapping the evening atmospheric moisture which helps the vines withstand the hot days of summer.
Today the “Slopes of Mt. Meliton” vineyards are a model of organic viniculture, in line with modern international trends, respecting the consumer and the environment.
Thanks to the exceptional climate conditions prevailing in the area, the Domaine’s vineyards are today considered to be one of the rarest cases where most vine diseases are confronted using organic processes. Plant protection is achieved solely by using sulphur and copper so that cultivation can be certified as purely organic, moreover only organic fertilizers are used. The yield per 1000m2, which does not exceed 800 kilos, demonstrates that the viticultural potential of the area is extremely high.
The hilly areas in the region create excellent ecological conditions for cultivating the 24 select varieties that thrive on the south-western slopes at an altitude of 200-300 m. These conditions allow the Asyrtiko, Athiri, Malagouzia, Sauvignon Blanc and Rhoditis varieties to produce the highest quality white wines. Malagouzia, a variety almost extinct, was revived at Domaine Porto Carras; after experimental plantings, the possibilities of the variety were recognized and the production of high quality and balanced wines with high aromatic potential, began.
Among the red wines, the famed Greek Limnio variety, which is possibly the world’s oldest cursed variety, stands out accompanied by the cosmopolitan varieties Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet franc, Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot and Syrah, which at altitudes from 300 to 350m have adapted wonderfully to the cool north-eastern slopes of the region.
Since April 2022 Regenerative Viticulture Practices are in operation aiming to prolog the life the vine plants for the next 60 years.