How Were Grapes Grown in Ancient Greece?

In ancient Greece, grapes were an essential crop, and viticulture played a significant role in the culture and economy of the region. The Greeks grew grapes for both eating and winemaking purposes. Let’s explore how grapes were grown in ancient Greece.

Growing Regions

The Greeks cultivated grapes in various regions across the country. Some of the prominent grape-growing regions included Attica, Thessaly, Macedonia, Peloponnese, and the islands of Crete and Rhodes.

Varieties of Grapes

Ancient Greeks grew several varieties of grapes, each with its unique characteristics. Some common grape varieties included:

  • Ampelos: This variety was highly regarded for winemaking due to its excellent flavor profile.
  • Black Corinth: These small grapes were popular for making raisins and sweet wines.
  • Muscat: Muscat grapes were known for their distinct aroma and were often used to produce dessert wines.
  • Isabella: This variety was widely grown in Greece due to its resistance to various diseases.

Cultivation Techniques

The ancient Greeks employed various techniques to cultivate their grapevines. These techniques included:


Greek farmers used trellising systems to support their grapevines and encourage vertical growth. They would construct wooden or stone structures called “pergolas” or “stelai” on which the vines could climb.


To ensure healthy growth and maximize fruit production, Greek farmers practiced pruning. Pruning involved cutting back excess foliage and removing unwanted shoots to promote better airflow and sunlight penetration.


Although Greece is known for its Mediterranean climate, where rainfall is abundant, Greek farmers still used irrigation techniques to ensure consistent water supply for their grapevines. They constructed channels and underground pipes to transport water from nearby sources.


The Greeks carefully monitored the ripening of their grapes and harvested them at the optimal time to achieve the desired flavor and sugar levels. Harvesting often took place in late summer or early autumn.

Fun fact: Ancient Greeks celebrated the harvest with a festival known as “Anthesteria,” during which they would partake in wine-drinking and other festivities.


Grapes were an integral part of ancient Greek culture, both as a food source and for winemaking. The cultivation techniques used by the Greeks, such as trellising, pruning, and irrigation, helped them produce high-quality grapes. Their knowledge and appreciation for viticulture have left a lasting legacy in the world of wine.