Wine harvesting is one of the hardest and most strenuous activities, as it does not begin everywhere at the same time. The harvest depends on the climate conditions of each region as well as on the variety of grapes.
Greek agriculture has focused on a few basic crops, especially wheat, barley, grapes, figs, and olives. Farmers grow wheat and barley in the few fertile areas of Greece, notably in the plains of Argos and Olympia in the south. Grapes, figs, and olives thrive in less fertile soils, and they can better withstand the extreme conditions of dryness and drought, which explains their importance in Greek agriculture.
The practice has saved precious space and made efficient use of poor soils. Both grapes and olives had secondary uses. Grapes are made into wine, which is sometimes added to drinking water to improve its quality.
Wine has been an important part of Greek culture for over 4,000 years as the numerous archeological discoveries throughout Greece have revealed. The ancient Greeks knew the nutritional value of wine well as it became an inseparable part of their daily regimen. Wine also played an important role in the evolution of the local economy.
For the ancient Greeks the culture of wine was embodied in the deity, Dionyssus. The son of Zeus and Semeli, Dionyssus was one of the most worshiped of the Greek Gods inspiring artists, philosophers and the lives of everyday people. Many festivities were held in honor of Dionyssus. A celebration of wine known as Anthestiria or the festival of flowers, was popular and probably derived its name from the fact that ancient Greek wines were famous for their flower aromas.
The first traces of wine production in Greece were found on the island of Crete, in the middle of the 3rd century BC. Many fascinating insights into the culture of wine were discovered in the Minoan village of Myrtos near Ierapetra. Several clay wine presses, wine cups, amphorae and wine seeds were discovered throughout the island of Crete and brought to light the important role that wine has played in Greek culture since these ancient times.
Greeks traded their wines throughout the ancient world by ses inside sealed amphorae. The first evidence of this was given by Homer. The wine amphorae were tall and pointed at the base allowing for efficient storage and transportation.