Vourvoukeli Estate, Avdira, Thrace
Nikos and Flora Vourvoukeli knew of the lost history of wine-making in Avdira, on the coast of Thrace. Viniculture had flourished in this hilly region since antiquity, and was referenced by the great lyric poet Pindar. In the Byzantine era, Avdira together with the region of Maronia constituted one of the great vineyards of Byzantium and it was here that the celebrated Pamiti wine (from the ancient Greek ‘Pan-methi’ - drunkens all) was produced. At the time of the Ottoman Empire, the French consul in Constantinople likened Avdira to Bordeaux. But at the end of the nineteenth century the vineyard was destroyed by phylloxera (vine louse) and the locals turned to tobacco cultivation. Refugees from eastern Thrace and Asia Minor settling in the area tried to plant small family vineyards once more, but these too were all but destroyed in the 1960s. From that time until the 1990s there was no viniculture in Avdira.
In 1999, the family of Nikos and Flora Vourvoukeli began to realise their vision of reviving the famous Avdira vineyard and they planted 2 ha of their fertile hills with indigenous and foreign grape varieties. This gradually thrived and developed into a privately owned 12-hectare vineyard, which is cultivated organically. Their focus is on producing rare and ancient local varieties, such as Limnio and Mavroudi, as well as varieites from other parts of Greece, such as Malagouzia and Assyrtiko.