Greece: Geography and climate

Appears in

Oxford Companion to Wine

Oxford Companion to Wine

By Jancis Robinson

Published 2006

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At latitudes of between 34 and 42 degrees north, Greek vineyards are commonly but mistakenly thought to be some of the world’s warmest. The diverse topography and the mountainous landscape create mild or even cool mesoclimates, as largely unsuspected by summer tourists enjoying the Greek sun in a coastal resort.

The climate is generally predictably mediterranean, with short winters and very hot summers in which drought can be a serious threat in some years, particularly in the south. There can be considerable variation between the continental-influenced cooler vineyards in the mountains, whether on the plateau of Mantinia in the Peloponnese or in Epirus and Macedonia, where grapes may not even reach full ripeness, and the intense heat of Pátras or islands such as Crete and Rhodes on which some grapes may be picked in July.