Wine Heroes Interview: Yiannis Paraskevopoulos, Gaia

The Greek winemaker tells us all about his obsession for Assyrtiko and Agiorgitiko, and what music he enjoys in the winery



What sustains your love of wine?

As for the winemaking it’s a strange relation. I’m not so sure that it’s a ‘healthy’ one! You see, working for 25 years with one or two varieties exclusively (Assyrtiko & Agiorgitiko in my case) an ‘obsession’ settles in you. In every new vintage you need to ‘renegotiate’ with the grapes and still get something new out of them – this obsession, just like any other, is addictive, call it love if you may.


What was the last wine you consumed?

Last night at a local tavern I had an excellent grilled chicken with the local coop’s red – don’t really want to talk about it.


What’s the best wine you’ve ever consumed?

Penfolds Bin 707 Cab 2004 – A straight 100 all the way.


Can you sum up your winery?

Both our wineries (in Santorini & in Nemea) have a great view. It’s very beautiful being there and sometimes – although rare – it can even be relaxing.


What’s the best part of the winemaking process?

Lunch with the staff.


What’s the worst part of the winemaking process?

Seeing the rain pouring over your grapes just a day before harvesting. You feel devastated and helpless – moments like that I hate my life.


Tell us something about your winery or company that nobody knows?

What happens in Santorini stays in Santorini… sorry.


What’s the biggest mistake you’ve made in the winery/wine business?

Not having being “aggressive” enough on buying more vineyards when we had the money to do so.


Which unknown varieties will be big in 2020?

ASSYRTIKO no doubt…!


What music do you listen when making wine?

I listen to a mix of my best-rated pieces (some 800) that evolves from archive to classic going through Buda Bar Lounge & Pink Floyd… it’s crazy.


Who is your wine hero? And why?

Good question. Do I have one? Need to ponder on this one You do know that wine makers are strange creatures, often very self-contained.


Who is your sporting hero? And why?

I’m an old guy. It has to be Bjorn Borg…


Who is your favourite Superhero?

Super Goofy!