Do you agree with Charles Baudelaire’s opinion that “those who only drink water have something to hide?”
I don’t know if they’ve got something to hide or if they’re in danger of collecting dust, but what I do know is they’re depriving themselves. You can travel all over the world through the wine glass alone, expand your horizons with newfound delights and, when it comes down to it, discover the ultimate truth about our short time here on earth.
What does Genka Commercial do exactly? What are the company’s main objectives?
Genka Commercial is probably the first company in Greece to exclusively distribute and produce wine, spirits and foods. It was established in 1877 and has been solely focused on high quality goods ever since. In 1934, after distributing food and spirits for major brands for a number of years, the company opened Cellier restaurant in downtown Athens, which has now been transformed into a high-end liquor store in the same historical Kriezotou location where it first got started. The company maintains three retail outlets in Attica and one in Mykonos, while it continues to work with some of the best winemakers in the world. Besides wine and spirits, Cellier stocks an array of delicatessen foods, wine accessories and bar supplies, to complement the rest of the store’s offerings. The company is considered a leader in seasonal and corporate gifts, which make up a large percentage of the business. We offer catering services to yachts, private and corporate functions, as well as specialist information and technical support. Our general approach is to train our employees to become experts in the field, guaranteeing our customers top quality services. We invest heavily in wine degrees and certificates for our staff and our customer wine club program – the first of its kind – is quite successful too, offering members special privileges, both in services and discounts.
Greek wines have stood their ground in the global market in the past few years. What do you think the future holds?
The future is bright, no doubt about that! Assyrtiko-Santorini can be found on every self-respecting wine list in the world, and our biggest gamble now is to push for more Greek terroirs to find their place in the global market. We have made considerable progress in the wine sector as a country, so now it’s important to work on our viticulture, which has a lot of room for improvement, in order to claim a piece of the pie, currently dominated by countries with much stronger winemaking traditions.
Which local wine varieties are best paired with Greek cuisine?
Greek cuisine is based on the Mediterranean diet, which includes a lot of fish and seafood, as well as meat. We usually cook with generous amounts of olive oil and tomato, which would require a high acidity wine pairing to combat the fatty components. It’s no accident that varieties with those precise characteristics accompany dishes of that description so well, such as Assyrtiko and Robola, or even the under appreciated Savatiano, from the Attica region. Vidiano, from Crete, is also a wonderful option and, as far as red wines are concerned, Xinomavro, from Northern Greece, is a very assertive option that could counterbalance strong meat flavors, like lamp, which is very popular in Greek cuisine. The more delicate and quite versatile Agiorgitiko could also stand its ground with tomato-based recipes, depending on the vinification. Last but not least, we boast some of the best dessert wines in the world, with Moschato, from the island of Samos, leading the way.