Kefallinos, Zakynthos, Ionian Islands

Dionysis Kefallinos’s first vintage was in 2018. He wanted to make wines with the indigenous grapes of his native Zakynthos using low intervention winemaking that would bring out the truest expressions of these varieties. Without formal training but having made wine with friends for years, he uses the island’s co-operative winery to make his own small cuvees of 1,000 – 3,000 bottles. The vineyards are all old, ungrafted bush-vines in very small parcels. In total he sources grapes from over 60 separate vineyards. The vines are pruned into 4 spurs, one for each point of the compass. Dionysis calls Zakynthos a ‘paradise’ for indigenous varieties with 25 that are only found on the island and many more that have come from further afield. This huge diversity is down to Zakynthos’s position at a crossroads of the Ionian sea that has seen Venetians, Normans, and mainland Greeks come through over the years, each leaving their footprint on the islands viticulture and winemaking. This is reflected in one of the traditional appellations of the island – Verdea – a Venetian name referencing the apparent green colour of the grape juice, reflecting the early picking of the grapes. All the Kefallinos wines are allowed to ferment naturally with their own yeasts and only very small additions of sulphur are made.


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