PDO (Protected Designation of Origin) Nemea (established in 1971) is the only PDO wine whose zone stretches over two of the country’s districts. Most of the zone lies in the south-central part of the district of Korinthia and especially in the area of Nemea (Nemea, Aidonia, Ancient Nemea, Ancient Kleones, Galatas, Daphne, Kastraki, Koutsi, Leonti and, Petri). Smaller parts of it are to be found in the areas of Sikyonia (Bozika, Titani) and Stymfalia (Asprokambos, Kefalari, Psari). The zone’s land stretching to the northwestern part of the district of Argolida is small and is cofined in the areas of Koutsopodi (Malandreni) and Lyrkia (Gymno).
PDO Nemea is the ancient Greeks’ “flyasios oenos”, a wine linked with the myth of Hercules whose sanctuary is to be found in the Nemea area and has resulted in the famous Agiorgitiko being alternatively called “Hercule’s blood”. In earlier times Nemea’s name was Agios Georgios, which is possibly why the variety is known as Agiorgitiko and the area is its main place of cultivation. Both terrain and climate conditions are highly diverse along the land the zone covers. Informally, the zone tends to be divided into three sub-zones which were determined on the basis of the different altitudes and on which the grapes’ maturation process and sum total of characteristics lead to different styles (or types) of wine. Indeed, the Agiorgitiko variety has become the most versatile native red grape variety.
Many are the vinification “schools” in Nemea, all offering from fresh red wines to wines of long aging. Especially in the case of the latter, the combination of Nemea-Agiorgitiko constitutes one of the most significant wine presences of the Greek vineyards and their new wines with regard to the dry red type. Another trend that has emerged lately is that of the production of sweet (dessert wines) which fall under the PDO Nemea category. Apart from local winegrowers, there has been considerable outside investment in the area. At present, there are 38 wineries active within the zone, and 35 more outside it that produce PDO Nemea wines on a joint-venture basis.