West of mainland Greece, Kefalonia is a true jewel of the Ionian Sea. This picture-perfect island is the ideal spot for a relaxing getaway, offering incredible weather, stunning beaches, and is also a world-renowned winemaking region. So, if you are looking for tranquil holidays to Kefalonia, deciding to spend some of your time visiting the island’s many vineyards and wineries would certainly be a good idea. The region is known for the famous Robola wine, and grape cultivation in the region goes back to Neolithic times. So, the locals have certainly had a long time to perfect their craft! If you want to experience the wines of Kefalonia for yourself, where should you visit? Well, in this guide to the vineyards and wineries of Kefalonia, we are going to highlight a few of the delightful options available.
Gentilini Winery & Vineyards
Founded in 1984 and located near the village of Mina, Gentilini Winery & Vineyards is run by second-generation husband and wife team Marianna Kosmetatos and Petros Markantonatos. Gentilini produces a range of handcrafted, top quality wines from unique and local varieties. Wines produced include Robola and the rather velvety and dense Mavrodaphne.
Here, visitors can look forward to a fascinating tour where you can find out how organic Kefalonian wines are made, starting from the vines all the way through to bottling. With a warm welcome from the friendly staff, the tour is a real treat and concludes with a chance to sample some of their exquisite wines in their shady outdoor tasting area, along with some traditional snacks such as olives, bread and cheese. The wines at Gentilini are certainly exclusive, with just 50,000 bottles made each year so don’t forget to visit the winery shop before you leave for a special souvenir.
The team at Gentilini spoke to us about what they believe makes them such a great place to visit when in Kefalonia: “At Gentilini, we offer visitors more than just another winery visit; we offer an experience. Visitors may choose how many wines they wish to try and whether they would like to visit the vineyards and winery. Everything is relaxed and enjoyable and the tasting takes place in our Mediterranean garden. The winery is conveniently located near Lassi and Argostoli and is easy to find as it is on the main Argostoli to Airport road.
Image credit: Gentilini Winery & Vineyards
“When visitors arrive, they are greeted by one of our trained staff who will offer them a choice of tastings. If they wish, they will be shown around the vineyards and winery (this may not always be possible depending on what work is going on). Visitors may choose to taste between three and seven wines which are served in proper Riedel wine glasses, and the wine is accompanied by a platter of local cheese, fresh bread, grape tomatoes and our own organic extra virgin olive oil.”
Speaking about her experience at Gentilini Winery & Vineyards, Jess from the UK travel blog The Travelista said: “We learned all about the winemaking process before sipping on rose, white and red wines in a tasting session. To accompany the wines, we nibbled on fresh tomatoes, soft goats’ cheese and fresh bread, dunked in local olive oil and sweet balsamic vinegar. The combination of flavours was absolutely incredible and although it was so simple, this was one of my favourite meals in Kefalonia.”
Divino Wines & Vinegar
Established in 1996 by oenologist Gerasimos Hartouliaris, Divino Wines & Vinegar is his attempt to carry on his family’s traditions while fusing it with his own winemaking experience and knowledge. Found in Pessada, this modern winery complex is a perfect marriage of the traditional 16th-century facility with the advantages of modern wine producing technology. Situated on the site of the old family winery that once existed here, the site has been wonderfully restored, featuring a museum, wine bar, and superb facilities for producing its sought-after wines at a capacity of 100,000 bottles per year. All in all, there are 12 delicious wines and three premium vinegar varieties produced on site, with something here to suit every palate.
Tours of the winery and museum are available for groups and independent visitors and include a lovely guided walk through the facilities as well as wine tasting in the museum’s exhibit section. The team at Divino Wines & Vinegar spoke to us about their winery and what visitors can look forward to: “Kefalonia visitors looking for an authentic island experience will find it in the village of Pessada. Divino Wines & Vinegar is a step up in wine tasting as well as a step back in time.
“The winery produces 14 local and straw wines, from the island’s renowned grape varieties, including three Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) wines, i.e., Robola, Moscato, and Mavrodaphne. Traditional and aged balsamic vinegar is produced from local grapes, while Divino’s Rose Vinegar is infused with the essential oil of damask rose petals (Rosa Damascena Celsiana).
“Wine tasting is free and takes place in a 16th-century building restored as a wine museum. Most exhibits are over 250 years old and represent a glimpse into Kefalonia’s agricultural and winemaking traditions. Visitors to the winery will mostly enjoy the opportunity to taste some of the island’s best wines in a venue that retains a genuine island aura, relaxed atmosphere, and personal rapport. As stated in Divino’s motto: ‘This is our life --we don’t rush our wines and vinegar, so we don’t rush you’.”
Situated in Kladata, Kefalonia, Haritatos Vineyard is a beautiful and lush estate replete with plants, olive groves, botanical gardens, and vineyards, with a farmhouse dating all the way back to 1863 sitting at its centre.
This boutique winery and vineyard will prove to be the perfect stop for your wine tasting tour of Kefalonia with the traditions of the family which run it permeating the entire experience. Here, Robola, Mavrodaphne, and Muscat wines are expertly produced, with immense care being taken to help maintain their unique characteristics, utilising the long-held philosophy of this family of winemakers. To help whet your appetite, why not read about the grapes grown at Haritatos? Please note that this website is in Greek so you will need a browser translating add-on. The family home is a living museum and a testament to their history on the island and there are even art installations and sculptures to be found dotted throughout the property, helping make Haritatos Vineyard are a truly special winemaking location.
Speaking to us about what to expect, the team at the vineyard said: “Having inherited a vineyard that has always remained in their family, the Haritatos history is written on a 37-acre estate that includes an 1863 farmhouse and family church, which like the winery, are open to visitors. For us, winemaking is a baton that acquires meaning when passed to the hands of the next generation. It’s about preserving inside the bottle all the things you wouldn’t want to lose, all the things you want to say and want others to hear.”
Robola Wine Cooperative
Found in the Robola Zone – where the area’s semi-mountainous vineyards help ensure the fresh and exquisite balance of the island’s wines – the Robola Wine Cooperative [In Greek] is a winery and vineyard perfectly placed among the rolling hills of the picturesque Omala Valley.
The cooperative was founded in 1982 and the gathering of grapes was first undertaken in 1983. They acquired their own winery in 1987, just below the slopes of Mount Ainos, next to the monastery of the island’s patron saint, Saint Gerasimos. Just a short 20-minute drive from Argostoli – Kefalonia’s capital – the winery and vineyards here are open to the public on every weekday where free tastings and purchases can be made until 3 pm. Robola Wine Cooperative will definitely make for a terrific excursion during your wine lovers’ tour of Kefalonia.
Image credit: Domaine Foivos
Domaine Foivos is an estate located in the peninsula of Paliki and is a fantastic producer of Kefalonian wines that should certainly be included on your holiday to-do list. Creating quality wines and run by a staff of land workers, winegrowers, and winemaking technicians, Domaine Foivos has an insistence on respect for the local environment and the consumer.
The estate puts tremendous faith in the local and rare grape varieties grown here, preserving and promoting them far and wide. The historic vineyard carries on the traditions that started during antiquity and continues to the present day, spread across an idyllic 60 acres. The winery has also pioneered a method of ageing wines underwater in barrels, which, in the case of their white wines, is expected to produce a ripe and balanced wine with an intense nose. The winery can be visited between May and October and guests can look forward to both tasting sessions and picking up a memento of your visit from the wine shop.
Wine tours of Kefalonia
Another great way to experience the vineyards and wineries of Kefalonia is with an expert wine tour, taking you to must-see locations for the complete wine tasting holiday. An ideal option would be to hook up with Kefalonia Wine Tour, which runs a wonderful vineyard and winery tour of the island. Among their recommendations include Gentilini, Sclavos, and Robola Coop. Speaking to us about what people can expect to see and enjoy during their tours, director Julia Bazigos said:
A Kefalonia Wine Tour offers, through small groups (max six people), a unique personalised experience that suits both visitors with a strong wine-knowledge background and visitors that are just introduced into the world of wine and winemaking.
What to expect:
- Pickup and return at the place of your choice in a luxurious, air-conditioned coach, with a professional and fully licensed driver.
- Learn about the ancient and unique indigenous varieties and the island’s viticulture
- Cellar door tasting at two wine estates and light tasting platters with local products
- Hop off at points for breathtaking views and visit century old vineyards
- Visit a real cottage house and learn about ancient winemaking techniques.
Vineyards and wineries to visit in Kefalonia
- Gentilini Winery & Vineyards
- Divino Wines & Vinegar
- Haritatos Vineyard
- Robola Wine Cooperative
- Domaine Foivos
As you can see, Kefalonia is a wonderful destination for wine lovers and those wanting to experience the magic of traditional Greek vineyards. These fascinating locations will provide some tremendous highlights of your holiday, with plenty of opportunities to enjoy a memorable wine tasting or two at some of Europe’s most majestic settings.