“This labour of love started out as a hobby but grew into an expansive vision. If you know what it feels like to have achieved a seemingly unattainable vision, you will appreciate what this means: It makes the soul expand." — Evangelos Averoff-Tossizza, With Reason and Dream.
In the late 1950s, Evangelos Averoff planted the first Cabernet Sauvignon vines in Greece on the steep slopes of Mount Pindus. In his home cellar at Metsovo, he bottled the first vintage of what would become Katogi Averoff wines.
"Vines of France on the mountains of Greece…," reads the label Averoff lovingly designed for that first wine. Averoff’s vision to replant and transform the abandoned slopes of the Pindus into vineyards, as well as revive the indigenous vinicultural tradition that flourished in the 18th and 19th centuries, formed part of a far-reaching effort to boost economic and cultural development in the region.
With the help of experts from Greece and France, Averoff developed one of Greece’s most celebrated and highest-altitude vineyards. Becoming famous throughout Greece and garnering international awards, Katogi’s red wine became the cornerstone in Averoff’s quest to revive indigenous Greek grape varieties and develop successful blends with foreign varieties. The estate’s vision was also reflected in being one of the earliest to embrace authentic vine-growing and winemaking methods in Greece—an operation model that would become prevalent 30 years later and demonstrate the huge potential of Greek vineyards.
Katogi Averoff continued to grow after Evangelos Averoff’s passing in 1990. New vineyards were planted in the Metsovo region, experiments with new grape varieties continued, new wine blends were explored. The winery has been constantly updated and expanded, increasing production and expanding national and international distribution. Managed by Alexander Ioannou (Evangelos Averoff’s grandson), Katogi Averoff today continues to cultivate vineyards in the Metsovo region, focusing on reviving the indigenous varieties of the region and developing wine tourism.
Katogi Averoff finds inspiration in life and people: in vines that flourish under difficult conditions; in bears and birds, their companions in the Metsovo vineyards; in people who overcome all adversities to create. They are inspired by everything that delights the senses and frees the mind and soul – everything that transforms their winemaking pursuit into a true state of mind.
Katogi Averoff's steeply sloping vineyards are perched on the slopes of Mount Pindus, battling with wild boars, bears and extreme weather conditions. The Yiniets vineyards are Greece’s highest (950–1050m above sea level), where the seasons unfold at their own pace and the vines take their time ripening. Situated in the brown-bear habitat in Metsovo, it's hardly unusual to spot the footprints of bears or their little cubs near the vines. In fact, the local bears used to consume almost one third of the white Traminer grape variety production. Even today, bears frequently visit their vineyards and enjoy grapes of their choice.