“Aoton” in ancient Greek defines the “finest specimen of its class” and represents a winery dedicated to the production of fine wines. The winery sits in the same location where three generations ago it served as the region’s “patitiri” or “press,” and were the community’s farmers came to press their grapes from the surrounding vineyards. In the heart of Mesogia, the plane of land between Athens and the Eastern coast of Attica, Sotiris Gkinis, a dedicated oenologist himself, has revived the 6-ha organic family vineyard which is planted on heavy, deep, red sandy-clay soils. The winery produces PGI Attiki certified organic wines from native varieties and a high quality “traditional appellation” retsina since the year 2000. The secret to his “finest specimen” or “ἄωτον” wines is no secret at all: low yields, especially for the highly productive Savatiano vine, high-quality fruit, organic cultivation, and night-harvesting to retain acidity and aromatic freshness in the fruit. Low-intervention winemaking with spontaneous fermentations and no use of enzymes or fining round out the ethos of the winery.
Aoton Winery is located in the village of Peania, at the foot of Mount Hymettus. Right across a narrow street from the small winery is the familial home of Sotiris, and sitting under the cypress trees of his courtyard imbibing the traditional resinated wines of Mesogia is a quiet study in timelessness. A tradition of winemaking that may well stretch back 4000 years in this specific region is finding new relevance in gastronomic circles near and far.