2020: A year to remember, or to forget? Unevenness in the vineyard, Quality in the wines, Insecurity in life


What can one say about this year! Where to start, and where to finish… We have learned to live with the difficulties, face them, and overcome them. What happened this year, however, was beyond any logic. I always like to see the glass half full, so, instead of consuming myself in another review of the situation we live in, I would prefer to look back at this year’s vintage which began so unfavorably, but ended with a positive sign.

But before we talk about the vintage, I would like, as always, to mention four important things that marked Kir-Yianni this year.

Expansion of the Amyndeon Winery

Despite the difficulties in the execution of the works, we continued to push forward with respect to the expansion of the large Kir-Yianni winery in Amyndeon. We hope that the winery will be completed by the beginning of June 2021, so that it can welcome the 2021 vintage. It is a great moment to turn my father’s original “Paranga” (a.k.a. “the shack”) into a state-of-the-art  large winery!

Naoussa Visiting Center

We refurbished the Visiting Center in our Estate in Yianakohori in Naoussa (in the midst of a lockdown) with a new kitchen, a wine bar, a new tasting area, and a restaurant. We are entering a new era and are ready to welcome the wine tourists of 2021!

Wine Consumption at home

Through the difficulties, a new trend, which will forever change the consumption of wine in Greece, has emerged. It is a fact that the average Greek does not consume wine along with food, except when he is in a tavern or when he has guests at home for a celebration or gathering. The lockdown brought wine to the daily life of the Greek, a fact that will forever change the wine market in Greece and reach other European countries.

Vintage at the Domaine Sigalas, Santorini

This year, after thirty years, I returned to the place of my first ever vintages, the unique and tourist-free Santorini! Having gained control of the Domaine Sigalas, we harvested a wonderful “Assyrtiko”, at the beginning of August. It was an unforgettable and moving experience and the beginning of a new and promising era.

A few words about this year’s vintage

The viticultural year began with a dry January and a February with minimal rainfall. Average temperatures were normal for the season, which helped in the timely completion of all agricultural works.

Two months followed, March and April, with long periods of heavy rainfall, especially in the first week of April when it also snowed, two meters of snow in the closed “3-5 Pigadia” Skiing Resort, with quite low temperatures for that season. This prolonged the bud growth and led to a belated year, by at least a week.

For the months of May and June, we had many showers of short duration and intensity. That time period was characterized by warm days and quite cool nights for that season. This created a long blossom period in all varieties, resulting in heterogeneity in the grapes during the vintage season.

Finally, the summer was relatively cold and was characterized by several rains in July, and a strong storm in early August. From that moment on, what followed was a period of prolonged drought and increased temperatures for the season, that lasted till the end of September, creating ideal ripening conditions. Even more importantly, in the last ten days of September, the evening temperatures rapidly dropped, becoming reminiscent of the classic Naoussa microclimate we have known from the past. In Amyndeon, the sweaters came out of the closets and the first fireplaces were lit up!

Unfortunately, many growers feared the rain of September 26th, thus the harvested grapes were relatively unripe. In our vineyards in Yianakohori, Naoussa and Samaropetra, Agios Panteleimon, in Amyndeon, the great harvest of “Xinomavro” developed in October, for yet another year. The strict selection of mature bunches during the vintage (so as to reduce unevenness) is the solution we have chosen, so that we can achieve the best possible result.

If we could choose a phrase to describe this year it would be unevenness. Quantities were slightly reduced in Naoussa and quite increased in Amyndeon; red wine quality is very good, and white wine quality is excellent. The final result will, of course, be seen in approximately a year, when the wine comes out of the barrels and we prepare the final blends.

Either way, we will forever remember 2020, for the wrong reasons. The wines will develop well, since we learn every day, and the 2020 vintage will remain forever imprinted on our memory.

We look forward to a healthy 2021, to make even better wines.

The Kir-Yianni team and me, personally, are at your disposal for questions, remarks, and comments.

Best Regards,

Stellios Boutaris