History and People
The history of the land
The long winemaking tradition of the area dates back to the ancient times. The first traces of winemaking in Greece are evidence of the pressing of grapes used for wine production in the Pangeon area. According to these archaeological finds, discovered at Philippi valley and more specifically in the area called ‘Dikili Tas’, the first appearance of winemaking in Greece dates back to 4300 BC.
The Phoenicians, esteemed navigators and merchants, came to the Pangeon area in search of precious metals and first introduced a special grape variety known as ‘Biblia”. The same variety continued to be cultivated for centuries and the wine made from it was called ”Bilinos Oenos ’’ (which means wine in ancient Greek). The whole area was named ”Biblia Chora” – land of Biblia after it, as appears in historical writings of Isiodos, Theoktitos and Michail Psellos.
In Alexander the Great’s time the mountain was rich in gold that quickly became the ‘financial’ source for his campaigns while in the Byzantine period, the area was a colony of the Monastery of Iviron in Mount Athos.
The history of the Estate
Vangelis Gerovassiliou was born in Epanomi, Thessaloniki. In 1975 he completed his studies in Agronomy at the Aristotle University and thereafter he attended the University of Bordeaux, where he earned a diploma in oenology, wine-tasting, viticulture and winemaking. From 1976 to 1999, he was senior winemaker at Domaine Porto Carras and he contributed to reviving the old Greek indigenous variety of Malagousia, while working closely with the professor of viticulture Vassilis Logothetis. Today he is the owner of Ktima Gerovassiliou in Epanomi that was established in 1981, when he decided to revitalise the family vineyard. He is a founding member and former president of the Association of ‘Winemakers of North Greece’. He is married to Sonia Tziola, and they have three children.
Vassilis Tsaktsarlis was born in Epanomi, Thessaloniki. In 1988 he completed his studies in Chemistry at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki and therefore he attended the University of Bordeaux, where he earned a diploma in oenology, wine-tasting, viticulture and winemaking. From 1992 until the beginning of 2001 he was the senior winemaker-oenologist and head of production Domaine Costa Lazaridi.
He is married to Aleka Karachristou and they have two children.
From the creation of Ktima Biblia Chora until today both winemakers are active in several winemaking regions in Greece and overseas.
From 2006 until 2016, Vangelis Gerovassiliou, Vassilis Tsaktsarlis and the wine importer Takis Soldatos created a small winery, Escapades Winery, at Stellenbosch in South Africa.
From 2014 they own the Domaine Kokkali which is located in Agios Andreas, in Peloponnese and has been recently rebranded into ‘Ktima Dyo Ipsi’ .
In 2017, they collaborated with the oenologist Ioanna Vamvakoudi for the creation of Mikra Thira, the first winery to be built in Therasia, the small island that was a part of Santorini until the great volcanic eruption of 1600BC.
Recently, the small family winery of Titos Eftichidis in Goumenissa was purchased, a region known for its long winemaking tradition.