In amongst the vines

We had only been at Elpidohori for a few days and already we were starting to feel settled and get to know the locals. Demetri, a local organic wine and olive oil producer and good friend of Erato, invited us over to the local village to see his vines. Lazoros, Evi and a very excited Mylo jumped on their bike…

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….which looked like great fun – especially since it was a nicer day than it looks on the photo. But without helmets we decided to opt for the more comfortable mode of transport – the back of Demetri’s pickup. And it turned out that Mylo preferred a little more comfort as well. No sooner had we descended the incredibly bumpy road out of Elpidohori and the little fella had had enough.

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Maladreni, the closest village to Elpidohori, is just a few kilometres away. It’s quite a bit higher up though, so the view is even more spectacular. Nemea and its surrounding area produce some of the, if not the actual best wine Greece has to offer.

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We didn’t know it yet, but we were about to experience some serious Greek hospitality. After showing us around his farm, Demetri asked us all to take a seat in their nice little seating area outside.

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He and his wife then proceeded to put on a complete spread, with two types of their own wine, mezes, and even tsipouro – a local spirit made from grape must.

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After our feast we checked out some of the new vines Demetri is growing

 

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and a few of the organic orange trees. You need to taste them to believe just how good they are!

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Our tour wasn’t finished yet. We hopped back on the truck and headed deep into Greek wine country, up winding, bumpy dirt roads, well off the beaten track.

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Until we were completely surrounded by vines. It reminded me of sunny bike trips in Alsace and the Black Forest – really beautiful scenery.

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Demetri had built a little cabin on his land:

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With just about everything you need for a cosy night for two. But where was the wine? I bet he’s got some stashed in that cupboard!

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There was also this awesome garden set, made of parts of a single old tree:

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The autumn harvest was a long way off yet, but the vines were looking pretty good:

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Before heading back to the village, Demetri took us to one last spot: his friend’s wine cellar, cut deep into the Nemean hillside. It must have taken a long time to dig so deep into the ground, but the result was worth it – the perfect temperature for storing and maturing the local drop.

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Here are just a couple of the dusty bottles waiting to grace the local tables. I was really tempted to sneak one of them out with me, but thought better of it. It wouldn’t give the right impression on our first outing together ;).

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It was great to meet new people, see new things and make new friends (lizards, humans and dogs alike) outside of Elpidohori today. The hospitality we experienced was amazing – something we could definitely get used to!

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