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How to explore the winelands of Naoussa, in northern Greece

In the hills of Central Macedonia, the vineyards of Naoussa are where the highly prized Xinomavro wine is produced. Here, we delve into the wine’s reputation and look at three estates that are well worth a visit.

Published 4 Mar 2021, 08:50 GMT, Updated 15 Mar 2021, 16:32 GMT
In Naoussa, on the flanks of the Vermio Mountains, grapes — especially the Xinomavro variety — ...

In Naoussa, on the flanks of the Vermio Mountains, grapes — especially the Xinomavro variety — thrive in the windbreak provided by the ridgeline above them. 

Photograph by Getty Images

There’s a general belief among the uninitiated that Greek wine is for serving unceremoniously at taverna tables rather than swilling and sipping in admiration, the way one might a Cabernet Sauvignon. One of the most potent ripostes to this misconception is offered by the Central Macedonia region. On the flanks of the Vermio Mountains, grapes — especially the Xinomavro variety — thrive in the windbreak provided by the ridgeline above them. 

The quality of wine is such that the Naoussa region has been able to revel in protected designation of origin status since 1971. You can find more than 20 estates on these slopes, many open to the public, linked by the region’s established Naoussa Wine Trail

Three wine estates to visit in Naoussa

1. Kir-Yianni
Discover the Boutaris family legacy and local winemaking heritage at the most feted estate in Naoussa. Kir-Yianni, set on the eastern foothills of Mount Vermion, is a vineyard which seeks to nurture and put into practice the region’s ancient winemaking tradition while simultaneously utilising modern innovations. Visits are by appointment only — together with a guide you’ll get acquainted with the Boutaris family history, explore the estate’s historic Xinomavro vines, take part in wine-tasting, all the while learning about the history and culture of Naoussa. 

2. Thymiopoulos
Generations of agricultural knowledge have gone into producing distinctive Xinomavro red wines at this estate. At its Trilofos vineyard, wines are ripe, denser and more tannic — a result of the heavy, limestone-based soil. Meanwhile at its Fytia vineyard, lighter soils yield some of the region’s finest Xinomavro wines. Organically farmed and made using biodynamic processes, the vineyards work in harmony with their natural surroundings.

3. Chrisohoou 
At this welcoming family-run estate, which produces Xinomavro as well as Prekniariko wine — another variety found in Naoussa — estate tours include discovering the production and bottling process of the vineyards, exploring the cellar where wines are left to age plus visits to the viticultural museum, where the region’s heritage is celebrated and a range of historic winemaking equipment is displayed. 

Discover more inspiration and travel guides for Greece

Love food and travel? Get to know Greek cuisine at the National Geographic Traveller Food Festival, our immersive culinary event taking place on 17-18 July 2021 at London’s Business Design Centre. Find out more and book your tickets.

Published in the April 2021 issue of National Geographic Traveller (UK)

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