Alice Germanis, Dimitris Paralidis and Theodore Germanis are the new and promising generation of Moschopolis Winery. A family group, tied together and with great appetite, have taken over, with tremendous success so far, the reins of the winery, which has been described as one of the most up-and-coming wineries in Greece.
What did you want to be when you were kids?
Dimitris: I wanted like crazy to be a driver of a threshing machine! Imagine that my parents, together with the French teacher, convinced me that France is the only country that produces such machines, to make me learn French! Growing up, as a teenager, if something caught me, it was anything that had to do with cars and big machines (construction, earthmoving, farming).
Alice: I wanted to be like my grandfather and that's why Pharmacy won me over early!
Theodore: I remember as a child I wanted to be a pilot! It still fascinates me and whenever I get on a plane I get an inexplicable joy. Later on, I decided that it was not very safe and the plan B was to become an architect, because I liked design and math. In the end, physics and Formula 1 won me over, and I wanted to become an engineer-aeronautical designer, that somehow was a combination of all the above!
When did you realize winemaking was an actual thing you could do as a job?
Theodore: In the end, I didn't avoid the Technical university, as a Computer Engineer. However, I began to love chemistry, mainly because of the discussions with my father. As a student and helping dad in the vineyard and warehouse / garage winery, I began to love wine and began to think that at some point I would continue what my father had timidly begun to set up. And that’s why my studies in Chemistry followed. To be honest, I still can't think of it as normal work! There’s not much time to think it thoroughly. It all happened so fast! Two and a half years ago we released our first wine as Moschopolis Winery. A winery with its own vineyards, has so many things running all year round. In addition, we just completed our new winery, while this year we are expanding our vineyards with new plantings. Maybe I truly realized it’s an actual job, when we finished our first harvest in our new winery in Monopigada, just last October!
Dimitris: During my first harvest for sure, in September 2013, when I first met George Germanis! An unforgettable experience!
If you were to choose music for your vines, what would you play?
Dimitris: If I had the choice, I would probably choose rock music. I would probably have Deytero Programma on the radio.
Alice: What a radio! We’d have Dimitris singing!
Theodore: Alice is right! We don't even need to turn on the radio, since Dimitris, whenever he is in the vineyard, has inspiration and sings all the time. And the unexpected thing is that he is good! I really like classical music but depending on the mood I could imagine putting from Johny Cash to Aznavour and Vangelis. I would choose more minimal sounds for the evenings.
Which was the wine you tasted and said "This is it! That's what I want to do!"
Dimitris: With absolute sincerity and without a trace of family favoritism or advertising effort, and without the suspicion that it is better than others, MOSCHOPOLIS 2010 at a family dinner table in the fall of 2013.
Theodore: You are lucky because there are still some bottles in dad's cellar! But also unlucky because you didn't taste the one from 2007! Unfortunately, there is not even a single bottle left...
If we get into your own cellar, how many wines will we find? (don't count yours!)
Dimitris: In our cellar I think we have about 100-120 different labels, all at least over 5 years old.
Alice: Whenever we discover a wine that excites us, there will always be room for an extra case!
Theodore: Alice and Dimitris are more proactive than me. Mine is pretty poor… Maybe I can rely on my father for that. Even those I’ve kept myself are in his cellar. And there is a lot of Santorini, a lot of Rapsani, a lot of Rhone, Portugal, Tuscany and Northern Italy.
What is the most expensive wine you have tasted & the most economic one that has surprised you?
Alice - Dimitris: As far as Greek wines are concerned; the most expensive must be T-Oinos wines. Outside Greece, we haven’t tasted very expensive wines, with prices that are above 80-100€. We can’t recall any specific economic one, but it would definitely be a Syrah, since it’s our favorite variety.
Theodore: In general, I can’t say I’ve tasted anything really expensive. From foreign whites, quite old Chablis, but the most expensive must have been an amazing Batard Montrachet Grand Cru 2014 of Louis Jadot in Burgundy. And reds, a few Super Tuscans and Rhone wine but the most expensive must have been a velvety Arnoux Lachaux Les Suchots, Vosne Romanee Premier Cru, Bourgogne of 2012. I have not yet tasted an economical wine that excited me. However, I have tasted several wines in the range of 15-25€, which I consider to be a great value in relation to the expensive over advertised ones. As a pleasant surprise, MUSCAT D'ALEXANDRIE NATURE was a surprise, and I am looking forward to the new harvest with great interest.
What is the variety you would "die" to have but can't? (either because of legislation or terroir)
Dimitris: Riesling for sure! But I wouldn't ask for another variety. Assyrtiko is one of my favorite ones and has a few characteristics in common with Riesling, especially as it ages. As far red varieties are concerned, Mavrotragano is also my favorite. But we have a goal with Theodore and Alice, that at some point we will be able to make a single varietal Kalomati!
Theodore: Yes, Kalomati for sure! It is a repulsion and we owe it to my grandfather who methodically developed it so that at some point we can vinify it in the way that suits it best!
If you could freeze time, work for another producer, and return back to your winery better, who would you choose?
Dimitris: Without knowing him very well personally, I would choose Apostolos Thymiopoulos. This man is charismatic in what he does and I hope he continues for many, many years in the same way. If you asked me the same thing a few years ago, the answer would be Haridimos Hatzidakis.
Theodore: I know it may sound bizarre but I would very much like to have met Evangelos Tsantalis. Of the various incidents my father has told me about him, he must have been a formidable person with incredible insight. Unfortunately, he left early and failed to complete his vision. Of the modern oenologists, I would definitely like to meet Yiannis Economou in Sitia and learn some of his secrets.
Next Big Thing variety;
Dimitris: Mavrodaphne and Mavrotragano among red varieties, and Vidiano among white ones. The data of the viticultural register regarding the new plantings of new varieties testify to this. I don't think, however, that any white variety will surpass Assyrtiko.
Alice: I also strongly believe Dafni as something completely special!
With which Greek producer would you like to co-create a wine?
Dimitris: The easiest question with the most obvious answer for me. With Theodore Germanis. And not in just one wine. In all. There would be no Moschopolis Winery otherwise! I would like to thank him for his patience on the occasion, as I am not the easiest partner for anyone!
Theodore: There is a good thing with us, that when one stops the other continues. I start in the morning and I realize that I have four hands and two heads while Dimitris is like a zombie. As soon as it's 4-5 o'clock in the afternoon, I turn off and he catches fire! Alice is the voice of reason when we tangle our thighs. However, yes, all three of us agree that it would be our honor to work with Apostolos Thymiopoulos at some point.
What is the chore at the winery that you want nothing to do?
Theodore: To spread and wash rubber hoses! I'm thinking of developing an automated cleaning system just to save my self!
Dimitris: Tough choice! Since we are a very small family winery, we are at the forefront of manual labor. The answer is definitely loading the crates with the grapes on the tractor during the harvest.
Alice: I am the lucky one! They don't let me do chores! My load is the chemical analyzes that I love because of my work, and of course the tastings and the organoleptic analysis that again are something I really like!!!
Your favorite wine and vintage? Do you still have bottles of this?
Dimitris: MOSCHOPOLIS 8 2016. Theodore has been storing a few for me.
Theodore: I can blackmail him with these bottles! It's my secret weapon! My favorite wine, now that I think about it, is Spira of our friend Thomas Ligas! Whenever I visit, I take a walk bewteen the barrels!
Alice: I have stated that it is the unreleased Moschopolis Pinot Noir but they do not let me open any bottle! Except for the periodic tastings, where I always have the first word!
What's the worst food and wine pairing combination you've ever tasted, just because you were curious?
Theodore: I'm very open to testing! I will make the strangest combinations and I am not often disappointed. But when I find the ultimate pairing it's like I'm struck by lightening and I have butterflies in my stomach.
Dimitris - Alice: I don't think there was a combination that ruined our dish, since we are very careful in this part. We love exuberant wines and we wouldn't waste them choosing the wrong food pairing!
Which part of Greece do you think is of great interest to see in the future?
Dimitris: All the mountainous regions of Greece have the prospect of giving excellent results. So, I think it's up to the winemakers to showcase their wine and region.
Theodore: I agree with Dimitris. For example, the mountainous region of Thessaloniki and Halkidiki around Holomontas I think has a lot to offer.
What is it that you would like to see change in the wine industry in the following years?
Dimitris: Concerning our country, and especially the tourist areas, I would like us to reach a certain point where all the professionals of the restaurant treat wine as what it is.
Alice: And their professionalism! You can't go in shiny restaurants in Greece and when you ask about wine, they’ll answer that they have «red and white»!
Theodore: I am concerned with the part of consistency in terms of producers and consumers. The industry must have a steady rising course.
Relaxing on a Friday night after a hard day’s work, what do you choose to drink?
Alice - Dimitris: Because for us wine always pairs our food, we choose wine based on the food or, if we can choose the food, then we choose it based on the wine we will drink. If we are talking about white then Assyrtiko for sure, if it is red, we really like to taste different varieties of wines with a preference for full-bodied and tannic ones.
Theodore: I always have an opened wine in the fridge. When I'm alone I choose easy-going wines. From whites a Moschofilero or a Sauvignon Blanc. But I’ll drink mostly reds. An Aiora Red will always be open. I will also drink Limnio or Limniona. I may have some Agiorgitiko, like the one of Papaioannou, but it is difficult to choose a Xinomavro, a Mavroudi or a Mavrotragano without a perfect dinner and good company!
Want to see how a producer's character reflects in his wines?
Check out the wine collection of Moschopolis Winery here!