A group of friends created a vineyard in an ideal spot – according to the advice of old people in the village – for the cultivation of vines. And the old folks’ knowledge, coupled with their own labor of love, brewed the red wine «Philoctetes,» which they have been producing for three years and which this year won the silver medal at the International Fair of Food-Beverages-Machinery and Equipment (DETROP) in the international wine competition. Nikos Vassilopoulos explained how the venture began: «There was a rumor that in the past in the Geraklio area there were vineyards that yielded a very fine wine but that around 1950, they were destroyed by phylloxera. We set up a company and planted Greek and French varieties on that spot.» Three years later, the vineyard of 12 hectares yielded its first wine, which wholly fulfilled all their aspirations. «It really is a very good wine. The microclimate plays a big role,» Vassilopoulos said. The vineyard also produces the white wine «Iliopyros,» while another white wine, «Thaumacus» (named after an old bishopric in Fthiotida), will come out this year for the first time. The new viticulturalists, however, had thought out their first move well. «We began to create the vineyard because we believed that it would help the area, which is classified as a disadvantaged one, but also because we strongly wanted to. We felt there was room for a new wine in the Thessalian and Fthiotidan markets. Now, of course, we sell the wine in Athens as well. We produce 30,000 bottles and we sell out completely.» Three out of the four friends had different occupations (Velissarios Garaganis was a physics teacher, Ioannis Poutouroudis was in insurance and Vassilopoulos was a dentist). Of the four, only Ioannis Balbouras was a farmer by profession. They have not left these jobs, although they can be found every day in the vineyard. The next move is the construction of a winery, which the area lacks. «We make the wine at a place near Naoussa,» Vassilopoulos said.

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