Verdea is a traditional multi-varietal white wine produced on Zakynthos, one of the Ionian Islands in western Greece which was under Venetian rule for centuries. It owes its name to the Italian “verde,” meaning “green,” which refers to the color of the unripe grapes used to increase the wine’s acidity. Verdea made its appearance at the beginning of the 19th century and has been identified with the island’s subsequent winegrowing history ever since.
Despite the small size of Zakynthos, many dozens of native grape varieties have been cultivated there for centuries. In a few verses, a 1601 poem refers to the existence of as many as 34 varieties on the island, most of which have survived to this day! Still, the term Verdea does not refer to a grape variety but to a type of wine. The main varieties used in the Verdea blend are the following:
Traditional verdea is a high alcohol content, dry wine, which gives a strong sense of aging in oak barrels reminiscent of sherry. Without losing their traditional character, today’s verdea wines are amber in color and have fruity aromas and a fresh and piquant taste. As is the case with retsina, all verdea wines bear the indication “Traditional Designation”.