PDO Wines of Greece (“Protected Designation of Origin”) include the previous Greek wine category of “Designation of Origin Wines” (AOQS and AOC).
The areas where PDO wines are produced are in essence the historical winegrowing and winemaking areas of Greece. In those areas, winegrowing zones determined on the basis of the borders of communal municipalities have been established, together with certain restrictions regarding altitudes or natural and artificial limits. With the exception of two areas, varietal compositions are determined strictly on the basis of Greek native grape varieties. All zones are subject to restrictions as to the maximum allowable yields per 0.1 hectare and various other prerequisites which wines must comply with. Especially PDO wines, which carry a mandatory characteristic red band on the neck of their bottles, must be produced by wineries located within their winegrowing zone. In other words, it is not only the grapes which must originate within a certain zone: the wineries vinifying them must be established within that zone as well. The sweet PDO wines must be produced in the following two ways:
- By addition of alcohol originating in wine (fortified wines – liqueur wines). Such wines are characterized as “vin doux naturel”.
- By concentration of the grape contents through various natural techniques (over-maturation on the vine stock; exposure to the sun (sun-dried grapes); sun-drying; or air-drying following the harvest). These wines bear the characterization of “vin naturellement doux”. Should the grapes yielding these wines have been sun-dried prior to vinification, the wines are also entitled to being characterized as “straw wines” or “vin liastos”. No additional sweetening is allowed through the addition of must, concentrated or not, or through the addition of alcohol or any distillate.
PDO Wines of Greece are required to display certain indications and other information on their labels. These concern aging times (oxidized aging in oak barrels and fermentation in bottles) as well as details of the winegrowing entity producing them.
In the popular zones of PDO Wines of Greece provisions allow aging in oak barrels (with the exception of the PDO Santorini and PDO Monemvassia-Malvasia zones); bottling (except PDO Monemvassia-Malvasia) and bottle fermentation also in wineries located outside the zones. Thus, PDO Wines of Greece are also produced by wineries outside the zones that collaborate with wineries within them.