Thrace, a blessed place, with an extensive history of grape growing, wine production, and wine trade, was mentioned even by Homer (with akratos or unmixed wine) and the famous varieties of wine of Ismaros and afterwards of Maroneia. The wider region of Thrace (which was the last part of Greece to be freed from the Turks in 1920) was neglected, and lagged behind in terms of wine during the period of Turkish rule, since the Muslim Turks, basing themselves on Islamic religion, forbade the growing of grapes and the production of wine by Muslims (it constitutes a sin). In the subsequent period, some steps were taken to restore grape growing, but due to the epidemic of phylloxera (a vine disease), the inhabitants of the region turned to tobacco production. In the early 1990’s, a few timid first steps were taken.
This is more or less how the story of the Vourvoukelis Estate began, with its protagonist being the late Dr. Nikos Vourvoukelis in 1999. He had grown up surrounded by vineyards, with wine as a part of his family life, since his grandparents in Smyrna owned a winery. This latent interest, passion, and awareness of his own unbreakable connection with the history of his homeland made him perceive that Avdira could make a dynamic return to the forefront of the wine sector. He planted his first vineyard, consisting of 2 hectares (which has now reached 10 hectares), which is cultivated with respect for the environment, in the area surrounding the winery. The first bottling began in 2001, at nearby wineries in the province of Kavala, with the designation “Fysis Ambeloessa”. The building and completion of the privately owned winery in a traditional style was a matter of time, and with its completion in 2005, it set the scene for the winery to treat the making of wine as an art, like the creation of poetry. The estate is now led by the two older sons of the family, Giorgos and Odysseas, who have pursued studies in this are.