Greek Minister of Rural Development and Food Lefteris Avgenakis spoke of the government’s plan to strengthen its wine sector, while arriving for the Ministerial Wine Meeting of Brescia, Italy.

The conference was organized by the Italian Ministry of Agriculture and the International Organization of Vine and Wine (OIV), a leading inter-governmental organization of which Greece is a founding member along with Italy, Spain, France, Luxembourg, Tunisia, Hungary and Portugal.

The minister spoke of the challenges surrounding the wine industry and commented on how the OIV, which celebrates its Centenary anniversary this year, was founded to provide common solutions to common problems. “One hundred years later, the issues facing the wine sector may not be the same, but their existence remains,” he mentioned.

Avgenakis highlighted how “Greece may not have the volume of wine production of larger countries, but it has a great tradition in creating high-quality wines, a large percentage of which carry PDO and PGI certifications, as well as a rapidly growing production of organic wines.”

He also mentioned how Athens’ implementation of the Common Agricultural Policy aims to further invest in Greece’s comparative advantages, in order to further support the country’s potential as a key player in the global wine industry.

The minister also highlighted the main axes that the government is relying on to support and grow the country’s wine sector.

“First, creating a brand narrative that highlights the local history of wine as well as the sustainable production methods applied is critical,” Avgenakis mentioned.

He also commented on Greece’s plan to invest in new and innovative approaches to the sector, such as the development of wine tourism, for which the government has created a national wine tourism strategy, as well as a Wine Tourism Council.

Avgenakis also noted Greece’s comprehensive development model to ensure the long-term sustainability of the primary sector. “We plan on implementing programs for the integration of new professionals into primary production and place great emphasis on the creation of producer cooperatives and organizations.”

Finally, he announced Greece’s strategy to support knowledge and innovation with the establishment of agricultural schools that will train professionals, produce research and collaborate with higher education institutions.

He concluded that although Greece has been working on supporting the sector for decades, solutions to the growing challenges of the industry must be sought out collectively, rather than by individual countries.

On Sunday, the minister will travel to Verona, where he will represent Greece, as the honored country, at the opening ceremony of the largest international wine and spirits exhibition, Vinitaly 2024.