Yiannis Boutaris

In order to book Yiannis Boutaris for an interview of essence, you need persistence and patience. 'Kyr-Yiannis' speaks exclussively for Gourmed. Uncut.

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Greek Wine seems to be going through a rising period. Do you believe there will be continuity?
Yes, Greek Wine is definitely going through a rising period. As we speak, we can definitely find at least 20 bottles with international requirements and European prices, meaning €30-70.Of course, we are missing the traditional 'vineyard origin' image, the quality similar to France and Italy. In addition to that, we also lack the impetus and zest of the 'new world' producers. The well-educated oenologists, the people who lavishly spent money on a perfect vineyard in order to produce wine with market potential, the next generation of the old wine-producing families, the independent wine producers and even the traditional and acknowledged ones; they all have a role in this rebirthing time. In order to achieve continuity, I believe that we need to act collectively, as well as individually. Collective work costs less and it also enhances the appreciation of consumers in wine.

To what do you owe the growth of your company?

I believe that the main characteristics of our company, KYR GIANNI's, growth, in such a short period of time, was and is hard work and the fact that we plan in advance, as well as an equal division of energy and effort between production and marketing. Of course, people are always in the center; systems, schedules, equipment, etc, all are controlled by people; we need to know what we want and when we want it.

What is the image that the Greek vineyard should promote and which foreign markets are Greek wine’s target group?
Years will pass until the Greek vineyard reaches the appeal of the European vineyard. And of course, it will never get there unless there is a collective vision, as well as an individual one. We must learn to appreciate our country, our grape varieties, we need to become confident producers, and even when we imitate others, we have to learn to be good. I think that markets, such as the USA, Russia, northern and central Europe, are markets that suit us. Even so, we need to concentrate on the expensive part of the market for many reasons, which are not to be explained, for now.

Which of the Greek Varieties have what it takes to become “international”?

I believe that xinomauro, agiorgitiko, and paurotragano red grape varieties, and asyrtiko, malagouzia, robola, and roditis, are the ones that can establish us worldwide.

Do you believe that our oenical education has improved at all?

The consumer’s oenical education has definitely improved in the last 10-15 years. Without it we wouldn’t be able to experience this rise of the Greek wines right now; the consumers can recognize good quality. Obviously, it is too soon to label us “oenically cultural” as producers and consumers, however we are on the right track.

Which means can improve the way we respond to wine as a society?

Besides some institutional measures that I believe should be taken by the state (wine sales license), creating Wine clubs would really help a lot.

You are quite a complex and busy person. How do you manage to balance out your activities?

It seems to me that by nature I am a person who starts off something, but lets others finish it. I don’t leave it, I just rarely keep the dominant part. Som times I can’t help but wonder if it is out of frivolity, but once I see the results, I can tell it’s not; it’s simply one way of doing things.

Nowadays a lot of people, especially young, are addicted to various substances. Is there an antidote?

This is a very difficult question. I could speak of ways of withdrawal, but not of an antidote.

Which is your favorite wine?

To this question, I always answer: they were all my children. However, a new arrival always gets more attention, just like newborns.

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