Greece is one of the oldest wine-producing regions in the world and among the first wine-producing territories in Europe. The earliest evidence of Greek wine has been dated to 6,500 years ago where wine was produced on a household or communal basis. In ancient times, as trade in wine became extensive, it was transported from end to end of the Mediterranean; Greek wine had especially high prestige in Italy under the Roman Empire. In the medieval period, wines exported from Crete, Monemvasia and other Greek ports fetched high prices in northern Europe.
See also: Ancient Greece and wine
The origins of wine-making in Greece go back 6,500 years and evidence suggesting wine production confirm that Greece is home to the second oldest known grape wine remnants discovered in the world and the world's earliest evidence of crushed grapes. As Greek civilization spread through the Mediterranean, wine culture followed. The Ancient Greeks introduced vines such as Vitis vinifera and made wine in their numerous colonies in Italy, Sicily, southern France, and Spain.
In 1937, a Wine Institute was established by the Ministry of Agriculture. During the 1960s, retsina suddenly became the national beverage. With rapidly growing tourism, retsina became associated worldwide with Greece and Greek wine. Greece's first Cabernet Sauvignon vineyard was planted in 1963. In 1971 and 1972, legislation established appellation laws.
A system of appellations was implemented to assure consumers the origins of their wine purchases. The appellation system categorizes wines as:
The main wine growing regions – so called appellations of Greece – are: