Dougos Winery: Family-Managed Tours and Wine Tasting in Rapsani
Fun fact: a few years back, archaeologists discovered 6,500-year-old mashed grapes in Greece… which means the nation has been churning out tasty wines for at least that long.
These days, there are (of course!) endless Greek vineyards and Greek wineries dotted throughout various parts of the nation.
But here’s a question for you: do you know how many of those wineries are managed and operated by the current official president of the Association of Artisanal Winemakers of Greece?
Answer: exactly one of them. And right now, we’re gonna introduce you to the place (and all of its Greek wine). But first, let’s introduce you to the man himself.
Meet Thanos Dougos
For 6 years, our friend Thanos Dougos has been president of the Association of Artisanal Winemakers of Greece. So if you want one person to introduce you to Greek wine, it’s him.
But his path to grape-based prestige has been a long one.
It all started a few decades back, when his grandfather (and godfather) founded one of the first wine nurseries in Greece.
A few years later, this wine-loving pair passed their skills and knowledge down to Thanos’ father and Thanos’ uncles…
… and, then, a few years after that, they passed their (now even larger) knowledge onto Thanos and his sister Louiza.
So the family have worked in various Greek vineyards—and of them all, Dougos Winery (based in the little valley-sitting village of Tempi) is the biggest and most successful.
In 1991, Thanos and his family planted vineyards here. In 1995, the winery opened for business. In 1997, they became certified organic (they were the second-ever Greek winery to be certified so, and they’ve remained organic ever since). And in 1996, they opened the winery up to visitors… and have been offering winery tours for 27 years.
What can I expect from a tour at Dougos Winery?
Greek wine, obviously.
And we’ll get to all that soon. But first, here are the other perks:
- A scenic setting: the world has millions of wineries. But how many of those others are sitting at the foot of Mount Olympus? Located just south of the most well-known mountain in the world, Dougos Winery lies in the colorful Tempi Valley, surrounded by loads more peaks and plateaus. You've probably never seen a winery this pretty before.
- Easy access: because it’s located just off a well-connected main road, Dougos Winery is easy to reach. You can quickly get here from Larissa, Thessaloniki, the Mount Olympus coast, and plenty more places. And because you can book a tour within a few seconds (from the page you’re reading this on!), it’s easy to arrange your tour.
- History and heritage: this is one of the most historic places in the world. You’ll be sipping and slurping where the Greek gods chugged on Ambrosia and nectar. You’ve never experienced wine tasting anywhere this historic.
- All tours are led by experts: every wine-tasting tour is led by the Dougos family (not some random staff member who’s helping out for the day). 90% of the tours are taken by Thanos himself (nice chance to meet a legend of the wine game), while the other 10% are led by Thanos’ sister Louiza (who is officially trained in the science and study of winemaking. Impressive!).
- Plenty of bespoke touches: the atmosphere is adapted according to your needs. Want a serious educational tour? You’ll get it. Want something a little more informal and laid-back? You’ll get that instead. Thanos gets an idea of the type of atmosphere you’re looking for, and offers exactly what you’ll enjoy.
… and on top of all that, you (of course) get top-quality boutique Greek wines from a top-quality boutique Greek winery. In this part of Greece, the rules for winemaking are strict—it’s a protected-by-legislation area, and wines have to be made to a specific standard.
So all wines here are carefully crafted—Dougos Winery makes only 12 varieties of the stuff (all Greek-style or French-style), and they only craft 70,000 bottles per year (to put that into context, the biggest winery in the US produced around 900 million bottles of wine in 2017!). It’s all boutique stuff, it’s all family-managed, and wine geeks from around the world know all about the place.
This is special wine from a special family. And people from all over the planet come to visit.
Which tours can I take?
Dougos Winery offer three different types of tours:
Package 'Tempi' includes tastings of 3 different wines, Package 'Ossa' includes tastings of 6 different wines, and Package 'Olymp' includes the chance to taste 6 different versions of the same wine (so you can see how the flavors change and develop during the maturing process).
Whichever tour you choose, your experience will last between 60 and 90 minutes. You’ll explore different parts of the winery (including the underground cellar), hear about different parts of the process, and get time to ask as many questions as you like.
… and, of course, you’ll learn about the wines while you’re sipping on them. You’ll also be taught how to taste wine properly, so you can fully experience all the smells and flavors.
And when you’re done, you can buy some (surprisingly affordable!) bottles to take home.
Which languages are tours offered in?
All tours are offered in Italian, Greek, English, and Bulgarian—and all four languages are spoken fluently. When you take a tour, you’ll be guided by either Thanos or his sister, and you’ll get time to ask as many questions as you like.
Tours are only arranged by appointment (and only when the team have time to take them!), and all tours have 30 guests or less. In the height of tourist season, tours and experiences usually sell out pretty quickly.
Thanks for reading, thanks for stopping by, and enjoy your wine tasting in Rapsani, Larissa. Bye for now!