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Nemea may not have as many historical monuments as the rest of the Peloponnese, but it does have a winemaking history dating back 3,500 years. If you enjoy wine, the Nemea wine region is an excellent choice. The area is worth exploring because there are several wineries and cultural sites to visit.
Nemea wine is often praised for its meticulous attention to detail and unique touches found nowhere else. The Nemeá mountains and valleys have been producing wine from their native Agiorgitiko grape for centuries.
A few words for Nemea wine history
It is safe to claim that Neméa has been producing wine since at least the fifth century BC. According to the tale of Heracles, he was ordered to slay the Nemean lion and while traveling found this area in northeastern Greece where he first created wine.
Even in antiquity, the Fliasion wines produced in Neméa were renowned for their high quality. The red wine of Neméa has been referred to as the “blood of Heracles” for as long as anyone can remember.
Nemea wine types
This estate, founded in 1913, is the oldest modern winery in Nemea and the only one in the town. Konstantinos Mitravelas and ex-Gaia winemaker Demetris Akrivos produce a small range of high-quality Moschofilero and Agiorgitiko bottled wines.
Christos Aivalis, who founded this 14-hectare estate in Petri in 1996, remains active in the vineyards, while his 28-year-old son Sotiris has taken over winemaking. The estate is dry-farmed and does not use any fertilizer.
George Palivos founded the winery in Ancient Nemea in 1995, replacing the old traditional treading tank with a modern winery. Evangelia, his daughter who seemed to know every inch of their 40-hectare estate, has now taken over winemaking.
In addition to Nemea, a volcanic island, owner/winemaker Yiannis Paraskevopoulos and business partner Leon Karatsalos also produce wines there. In Nemea, they established a winery in 1994 on the southwestern slopes of Koutsi, at an elevation of 650 meters.
In the renowned village of Koutsi, not far from Gaia, at 600 meters above sea level, Semeli founded their sizable winery in 2003. For a unique and almost Burgundian spin on Moschofilero Lafkiotis, they keep their top white, Thea, on the fine lees.
In Old Kleones, the Lafkiotis family first produced wine in 1963. Although they don’t own any vineyards, they have long-term agreements with local producers to maintain control over the fruit’s quality.
Bosinakis are located in neighboring Mantinia rather than Nemea, although their Moschofileros cannot be overlooked. Together with their mother, Sotiris and Katerina have been in business since 1992. Up until 2009, they produced wine for other wineries that had vineyards but no winery in Mantinia and desired to use PDO Mantinia.
Nemea wine tourism
Most visitors to the Nemean wine roads stay in Corinth or Loutraki to the north or Nafplio, a coastal resort to the south. Tourists have yet to discover the actual village of Nemea. Travelers seeking an authentic Greek experience will be richly rewarded in spectacular surroundings and near the major archaeological sites of Ancient Nemea and Ancient Kleones.
What the tavernas lack in terms of online presence, and occasionally even menus, is more than compensated for by the friendliness of the staff and the high quality of the food. Even with our tendency to over-order, dinner for two with a local wine rarely costs more than €30.
Nearly every vineyard in Nemea opens its doors to locals, visitors, and industry experts during the Great Days of Nemea celebration at the end of August. Many give away copious amounts of free wine, grilled food, and entertainment. The option to stomp grapes in the typical shallow concrete lagers at Lafazanis is also well-liked, with thirsty visitors drinking the majority of the resulting grape juice before it even gets close to the fermenting tanks.