Greek Wine Cellars
The Kourtakis family's wine-making tradition dates back to 1895. It was then that the company was founded by Vassili Kourtakis (1865-1946). He had the rare distinction of being the first person in modern Greece to obtain a diploma in oenology. He established his wine-making activities at Markopoulo, some 30 kilometres to the east of Athens, in the heart of what was then one of the main wine-growing regions of Greece - the Mesogia. Since then it has developed into one of the largest wine-producing companies in Greece.
The company's subsequent progress has mirrored the changes that have taken place in Greek wine-making. Its wines were first commercialized in bulk and distributed in casks throughout the local province of Attica, in Athens, and the nearby islands.
It was left to Dimitris Kourtakis (1908-2005), the son of the founder, to begin the marketing of the company's wines in bottles and to extend their distribution throughout all of Greece. Today, more than a century after its founding, the company is still wholly owned and managed by the Kourtakis family.
The third generation is represented by the grandson of the founder, another Vassili Kourtakis. In the last 25 years, under his direction, the company has become the largest wine-producing and bottling operation in Greece, with wineries not only in Attica but also in central Greece, the Peloponnese, and the island of Crete. Its developing and diversified wine interests resulted in a name change some ten years ago to Greek Wine Cellars. This acts as the umbrella for three divisions: Kourtaki, Calliga and Oenoforos (the latter is dealt with as a separate wine-making entity - see under Oenoforos).
Currently, its annual production is some 40 million bottles with 50% of this volume being exported. This achievement has been the result of a combination of determined effort and constant devotion on the part of the Kourtakis family. It has always been among the first to implement new methods and invest in the latest technology, the guiding aim being to produce ever better wines.