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The Vines, the Greek and the English girl (Part 1)

The Vines, the Greek and the English girl (Part 1)

Getting on that flight to Greece many summers ago changed Anne Kokotos’ life.

Along with meeting a Greek husband, she fell in love with Greece. Soon, she began learning the language, which led to a life spent in vineyards, winemaking, and running her own business.

Despite not knowing much about winemaking at the start, she and her husband have kept it going with much passion and dedication to grow it to what it is today.

Anne tells the story of how she made her way to Greece, stayed and found her place, married a Greek, and raised a family while building a successful wine business.

What you will learn from this episode:

  • Find out what made Anne go to Greece decades ago and never uproot herself since.
  • Discover what drove Anne and her husband to get into the winery business despite it being hard work and demanding much of one’s time.
  • Hear of beautiful memories created within and around the vineyard and winemaking.
  • Get a peek into the culture and tradition of Greek families, including little children, where vineyard and winemaking are concerned.
  • Learn interesting facts and surprising discoveries surrounding the centuries-old wine industry.
  • Know the challenges of winemakers and farmers in the wine industry and the passion displayed, struggles notwithstanding.
  • Find out creative ways of learning a foreign language, like Greek.

Anne Kokotos was born in London in 1951. She grew up between London boarding school in Surrey and her country house in Suffolk. In 1972 she came to Greece for a summer job – she’s still there!

She got married in 1975 to George Kokotos (civil engineer), and they bought some land in Stamata, Attiki, in 1979, and moved into their house with their baby daughter. In 1980 they planted their vineyard – Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot & Chardonnay.

The year after, 1981, they produced their first wine from the local Savatiano grape – bought in from local vineyards. About the same year, in 1983, they picked their first crop of C.S., and their son was born, too.

And they have moved on from there, planting more vineyards and now producing 12 different labels from varieties Savatiano, Roditis, Asyrtiko, Malagouzia, Agiorgitiko Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, and Gewurtztraminer.

Their daughter now lives on the property with her husband and 2 children. Their son lives in London, where he is a partner in a company that imports Greek wines and delicatessen, mostly from small organic producers.

Connect with Anne Kokotos:

Topics Covered:

02:18 – Making a home life side by side with her family’s business in the vineyard for decades now

02:44 – A transplanted English girl in Greece

03:03 – Falling in love with Greece many summers ago and never looking back since [what completely drew her in]

04:16 – Sharing the vineyard’s geographical location and the weather conditions

05:22 – What inspired her to start a winery despite it requiring a lot of work

07:12 – Taking professional advice and furthering education as they continued on after their first crop [plus sharing her husband’s beautiful memories of the vineyards being a part of his life early on in childhood]

10:43 – Continuous new wine variety discoveries despite Greek’s wine industry in existence for thousands of years

11:19 – Speaking fluent Greek despite facing difficulty learning it

13:20 – From a side hustle to a full-scaled business [running a winery is an all-year-round full-time job]

17:01 – Melding the different roles of wife, mother, and entrepreneur [ building winery business alongside a family and home life ]

18:44 – Relating a devastating phenomenon that she considered one of the most challenging times for the vineyard

Quotes from Anne Kokotos:

“I came out to Greece in 1972 when I was 21.”

“A friend of a friend rang me up and said, how would you like to spend the summer on a Greek island?”

“We’re at an altitude of 420 meters, and we get snow more or less every year.”

“We leapt into winemaking without thinking at all.”

“The municipality we live in is called Dionysus (the god of wine).”

“George turned me one day and said, why don’t we plant a vineyard? And I said, why not?”

“We’ve taken professional advice because we had no idea what we were doing.”

“In 1980, when we were starting out, some of the Greek varieties, which are extraordinarily popular nowadays within Greece, people didn’t know them.”

“We’re in a country where they’ve been making and drinking wine for thousands of years, yet we’re still discovering new grape varieties.”

“Every time I go to the Greek wine fair, which happens every year in the spring, there are not only new wineries but new wine varieties that I’d never heard of.”

“One of the difficulties with Greek, of course, is that it’s a different alphabet. So you can’t just look at a word and pronounce it.”

“We planted our vineyard in 1980 and made our first wine in 1981, not by some miracle from our own vineyard, but by buying grapes from the neighbors.”

“In 1981, we had a guaranteed market for our wine just sending it to our own hotel.”

“From 92 onwards, we started winning prizes abroad.”

“When you own a winery, you hardly ever take a holiday.”

“Now we have our grandchildren growing up here… They can give you a tour of the vineyard, probably better than I can.”

“Every day is different; every season is different. So there’s no routine about it.”

“The most disappointing thing ever was in 2016 when our entire crop was destroyed by hail.”

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