Heraklion MPs Nikos Egoumenidou, Socrates Vardakis, and Harry Mamoulaki have submitted to the Minister of Agriculture a letter from Winemakers Heraklion Network on “Supporting Vinicultural Branch and viticulture because of the crisis of COVID-19”, which stresses the urgent need for financial support for all winemaking operations.
The coronavirus pandemic has negatively affected every business on Crete, but none more dramatically than winegrowers in the region. Crete wines have thrived on the world market recently, but the COVID-19 catastrophe now threatens one of Greece’s fastest-growing exports.
In the letter presented by the Heraklion MPs, the need for financial support winegrowers “at-risk since they can not sell their grapes at harvest,” was expressed fervently. Even when Crete winegrowers can sell their grapes, the prices do not even support basic operations. According to a press release by Dr. Nikos Egoumenidou, without help, this thriving industry will shrink substantially. The parliamentary representatives are asking for an answer and the relevant actions of the Ministry.
Last year Greece produced around two million hectolitres of wine, of which around 90% is made with the country’s 200 indigenous grape varieties. About 13% of the total wine production, worth around €82.6 million euros, is exported worldwide. Crete accounts for 12% of Greece’s total wine production.
Crete has one of the world’s oldest winemaking traditions dating back to the fourth millennium B.C. when the Minoans began exporting red and white wines throughout the ancient world. For my part, if there are emerging industries that are indispensable for Crete to thrive, winemaking and olive oil production top the list. This will be especially true once the pandemic causes the big reset, and a new normal grips European tourism.