Incredible Valentia Island ViewsThe tall weeds in their vineyard have a very important role to play in reducing humidity and encouraging predators, thus solving two big farming problems without chemicals. The connection of natural winemakers like Dimitrios and Ria to the environment, soil, and plants they work with is what sets them apart from the conventional. They are constantly experimenting, looking, tasting, questioning, and coming up with unique methods, or forgotten ancient methods, to their farming and winemaking challenges. Even the Pet Nat was a reaction to a challenge- they needed sparkling wine for Ria’s wedding! I’m sure the wines would have tasted just as good if we were huddled in the caravan sheltering from the horizontal rain, and would have brought a bit of Greek sunshine with them, but everything tastes better under the rare and magic Irish sun.
It is absolutely pelting rain here in Mullingar - the dog days of summer are truly wearing thin. The days of the glistening sea are just slightly in the rearview mirror now as we start to begin our hibernation for the cold and rainy season. Could Fionnuala's blog on from Valentia Island come at a better time? We think not. It’s no surprise, after the restricted lifestyle we’ve had these past few years, that camping is having a boom. We embraced the great outdoors when we had no choice, and realised we rather liked it. Birdsong as our alarm and the grass under our feet for the morning coffee has touched a primal nerve we had forgotten. Dimitrious and Ria Kioutsoukis from Thessaloniki. Their natural, vibrant and idiosyncratic wines fit the mood perfectly. Label art painted by Ria shows country scenes from outside their house and images of Greek shadow theatre. Clouds are a running theme as their wines are unfiltered, keeping all the goodness in the bottle and the wines hazy shades of pink and gold. Listening to this father and daughter team describing the wild weeds, herbs and flowers growing taller than themselves among the vines, I’m sure their wine felt right at home among the lush Valentia hedgerows.