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Wine Glossary: Drinking in the Greek Language

Written by Jennifer Jordan
Filed Under: Wine Terms

Every wine producing region in the world has its own lingo. The French have terms for wine that the Hungarians don't, the Americans have terms for wine that the Australians don't, and the Italians have terms for wine that the Germans don't. In fact, in the entire wine world, the only term that may transcend nations is the word translated to mean, "More."

Greece, like the above areas, also has its share of wine jive, jive that is, forgive me, Greek to many of us. For those of us who aren't travelers, this may seem like no big deal. But, for those who are planning to hop on a plane and bask in the Balkans, being somewhat versed in words of winery will be helpful. So kick off your sandals, loosen your toga, and pull up a chairiot.

Archondiko: Now, if I were to guess, I would say that Archondiko is some sort of anchovy flavored wine. Turns out, I'm wrong (sorry to disappoint you). Archondiko translates roughly to mean "Chateau," which is a house located in a vineyard. In Greece, the word Archondiko can be found on bottles of Topikos Oenos Wines, country wines usually made with several different kinds of grape.

Epitrapezios Oenos: The Epitrapezios Oenos is one of the Greek's more simple wines, like a wine getting by on only the necessities of life (grapes, aging, oak barrels, and basic cable). These wines are essentially the table wines of the Grecian nation.

Krater: In olden days, a Krater was a pottery bowl made of bronze (go figure) that held wine. Wine was poured into a Krater before it was poured into thirsty mouths.

Ktima: A word that is translated to mean "Estate," this term, like "Archondiko" sometimes appears on the labels of Topikos Oenos Wines.

Kylix: Like a Krater, the Kylix was also used in old Greece. It was a shallow cup with two handles decorated extensively. A Kythos, or ladle, was used to scoop up the wine to put in the Kylix. The chances of you coming across a Krater, a Kylix, or a Kythos are slim, unless you wonder into an antique store….or a time machine.

Monastiri: A word meaning "Monastery," this word sometimes appears on the labels of Topikos Oenos. This is based on the fact that there are several Greek monasteries, former and present, known for producing wine.  In the honor of nuns, it's only fair to get into the habit of drinking wines with this word.

Stefani: Stefani is a form of grapevine training (sit grapevine, sit - good dog). The grapevines are trained in a way that forces the grapes to grow in the center, giving them natural protection from the wind. In Greek, Stefani is translated to mean crown (It is also my sister's name, which won't help you in Greece but will score big points shall we ever meet).

Going to Greece is a unique experience; sampling the wine will only compound this. A glass of Archarnes - a red wine - or a glass of Visanto - a sweet white wine - is sure to be an Alexander the Great time.