Kefalonia is a tourist destination known for its natural beauty. In recent years, much attention has been focused on gastronomy, especially wine and wine tourism. This success is undoubtedly due to the initiatives undertaken by the Kefalonia Winemakers’ Association (SOK).
On June 17, 2023 “Kefalonia, a Hub for Wine” will take place in Kefalonia with the support of the Municipality of Argostoli’s Tourism Committee. In view of this event, we had the opportunity to talk to Anthea Kotsi, the association’s marketing manager about SOK, tourism, and the HUB.
Tell us a few words about the Kefalonia Winemaker’s Association?
The aim of the association is to strengthen and promote the Kefalonian and Ithaca Vine, Wine, and Wine tourism by creating a network and undertaking activities throughout the year that will promote the culture, gastronomic tradition, wine landscape, and wine products of the islands.
Which grape varieties are grown in Kefalonia?
Kefalonia is an island rich with local grape varieties. The main varieties cultivated and which are a trademark of Kefalonia are Robola and Mavrodaphne. With dry Robola being PDO, the wineries create unique wines. Mavrodaphne is PDO in its sweet version, but the dry wine produced from this unique variety is also gaining recognition.
Muscat is also PDO in its sweet version, and like Mavrodaphne, it produces excellent dry wines, both as a single variety and in blends.
Local varieties that have also emerged in recent years include Vostilidi, Moschatela, Tsaousi, and Zakynthino.
What role does wine play in regard to Kefalonian culture? How are wine and gastronomy connected to the culture of the island?
Kefalonia has a long tradition of viticulture and winemaking, two integral parts of the island’s culture. The actions of the Winemakers’ Association and the dynamism with which we work intend to build on this and develop it further. Gastronomy in Kefalonia is also an important part of its culture as there are many traditional recipes and local products. The reality is that gastronomy and wine are strong areas that require correct place branding so that through their branding the locality of the area is kept alive. A major part of the Association’s activities are event meals where we present local cuisine.
With your initiatives you help to promote Kefalonia. Do you see a positive outcome to this?
In order to achieve the goal of the association, we need targeted promotion, high standard events, and consistency. These three are essential so that we achieve our objectives both in Greece and abroad. On behalf of the association, I organize not only press trips but events throughout the year, such as collaborations with Michelin-starred restaurants for Kefalonian wine pairing nights. Such initiatives allow the brand name Kefalonia to be heard throughout the year. Wine is an integral part of the island. So, when there are dozens of reports in the national media for such occasions, when the wine gets the attention of the public, the big winner is Kefalonia and the island’s brand name.
In 2022 you organized for the first time the event, “Kefalonia, a HUB for wine”. What exactly is it and what do you want to achieve?
Back in 2021, the association’s first actions were the organization of journalistic fam trips. Seeing I work on place branding and promoting areas as high-quality tourist destinations, I decided to start a new project with the Association, “Kefalonia, a HUB for wine”. The aim of this HUB is to make Kefalonia the focus of an open discussion on issues related to the wine industry, winemaking, and cultivation and to further draw attention to challenges and upcoming topics in this field.
With renowned expert guests in the wine industry, we discuss topical issues such as climate change, which was last year’s topic. The hub was attended by winemakers, vine cultivators, and other stakeholders, but also journalists covered the event through article publications and video footage for nationwide viewing.
This year on June 17 you are again organizing the HUB, with the title “New technologies in the vineyard”. Do you see positive interest?
New technologies concern us all, in many areas of life, even in viticulture. So, this year I suggested that the theme of the Hub should be “New Technologies in the Vineyard”. Our guests will talk about this topic from the perspectives of agronomy, technology, and enology. I greatly believe that this discussion will benefit everyone whether they are interested in implementing such practices or not. The event is open to the public and we are more than happy to welcome and meet all those interested to attend.
For further information about upcoming events organised by the winemakers visit www.kefaloniawinemakers.gr