Tipping vines and tasting wines in Creta Maris Beach Resort, Crete
In this narrative commentary, Dimitris Efthimiou, Guest Service Manager at Creta Maris Beach Resort, portrays how a vine tipping and wine tasting experience for tourists on Crete looks like. He empathically shares perspectives of Cretan locals and outlines the cross-generational meaning of wine-making and agriculture on the island of Crete.
“Tipping? Yes, but we never say tipping on Crete… We call it Korfologima,” Marianna Papadaki, one of the Guest Service employees in Creta Maris Beach Resort, said when a guest asked if “Korfologima” means “tipping”, removing the growing tips of the vines. Marianna had just started sharing her personal experiences and memories with hotel guests while presenting them the art of grape cultivation in the hotel vineyard.
“Vineyards and people on Crete are closely related,” Marianna mentions and smiles. “Every time I hear the word Korfologima, memories with beloved faces, smells and pictures of my country come into my mind. For every Greek, owning a piece of land has always been a life’s dream. It was the life’s dream for my father as well; to own, some day, a piece of land, in order to create his own vineyard and produce his own wine. So, after a long struggle, the family purchased a vineyard in a village near Heraklion called Gournes. Vineyards have always been inseparable to every Cretan. They have always been a big part of the history, culture and tradition of this beloved island.”
The hotel guests are introduced to “Korfologima” outside of the Creta Maris hotel, in the hotel vineyard. “It is a farm inside Creta Maris Beach Resort… We call it Hotel Farming! There are 13 indigenous grape varieties in this vineyard and we apply organic vine management (EC Regulation 834/07),” Nikos Vlassiadis, General Manager of Creta Maris, comments to the guests. “The sustainable food project carried out by Futouris in cooperation with the TUI Care Foundation creates an excellent platform for highlighting our hotel sustainability practices and communicating them to our guests. Korfologima is performed for moderating the growth of stems and leaves and allowing the vine to produce better grapes, thus better wine quality”, Nikos Vlassiadis adds.
Marianna goes on narrating her childhood memories. “The grapes in my family’s vineyard were from the Kotsifali variety, a favorite and well-known variety on Crete; it provides red wine with a rich and fruity taste. The same variety wine we drink even nowadays at every feast and special occasion, such as the engagements and weddings of our family’s children or the christenings of grandchildren. At those events, each child receives an own barrel of wine as a present! Those barrels are waiting to be opened during an important event. In my grandparents’ house in the village, the barrel was so big that it was put on the foundations of the house before the rest of the house was constructed!”
“Apart from the wine, we make raki with the remains of the grapes. This is another great celebration with many people getting together in ‘Kazania’ (special distilleries) when raki is flowing out after distillation and much of it is consumed on the spot. Raki, always served alongside mezes from my mother or grandmother, automatically awakens other memories; laughing, gossiping, singing or crying sometimes. ‘It is the best medicine for any case…’, my father used to say with a smile on his face, in order to ‘soften’ any problem.”
“However, to produce wine and raki, we first had to take care of the vineyard. It had to be carved, pruned, crafted and more until the harvest. The vine is delicate and we had to be very careful and meticulous if we wanted to have the best wine. My favorite job on the vine was Korfologima. With this little event”, Marianna concludes, “Creta Maris invites you all to share and understand our mentality and culture; to live through the simple routine of the locals and experience the magic of this place and make it a piece of you. A piece of Greece.”
… and tasting wine
Before ending this presentation, Marianna invites the guests to more interactive experiences in Creta Maris. “Don’t miss joining our wine tasting event tonight and be informed about the special characteristics of Cretan Wines! Dimitris and Giorgos will be your guides!” The wine tasting event in Creta Maris that same night highlights the indigenous grape varieties of the island which are cultivated and preserved by the local producers who participate in the sustainable food project on the island of Crete.
“My Name ‘Dimitris’ originates from the ancient Greek Goddess Dimitra who, as mentioned in Greek mythology, was the Goddess of harvest and agriculture, the one who presided over grains and the fertility of the earth,” Dimitris Efthimiou, Guest Service Manager of Creta Maris, mentions while creating a very friendly atmosphere among guests who participate in the wine tasting event.
“Since I was a little boy I do remember my grandfather talking about vineyards and Olive Trees. Almost all local people in the island of Crete have Olive Trees or vineyards. It seems it is our destiny to continue farming those trees and produce grapes and olive oil,” Dimitris says. “There is a complete set of knowledge that passes from one generation to the next. There are people who feel responsible for this knowledge transfer and spend their lives doing this, blending our culture, our traditions, our alimentation. That knowledge bears particles of memories, emotions and feelings.”
“From simple moments and things, we may express easily our feelings and we never choke them. My grandfather was farming his vineyards and I recall times that I watched him dancing by himself just because of his happiness for a good vintage year”, Dimitris remembers. “When he was collecting the grapes, he carried them in baskets like babies, with so much respect. One time I asked him why he was staying every day nine hours in his land although he only needed seven hours to finish his daily tasks. He answered that he needed to stay because his being there touched perfection and perfection only existed in nature. I really thought that I was speaking to a painter who was trying to create a new canvas in the same place every day with a perfect result.” While Dimitris narrates, he takes short breaks and gives Giorgos Kourinos, Maître of Creta Maris, the opportunity to share wine information with the participating hotel guests. Both Dimitris and Giorgos have much knowledge concerning the secrets of Cretan Wine production and they guide guests to discover the wine aromas and their multifaceted aftertaste.
After some sips of wine and much tasting comments, Dimitris proceeds with his grandfather’s story: “Farming all year long with a very backbreaking rhythm and lots of agony concerning the result; all of it just for the ‘flawless moment’ of wine making. We are talking about him calling his seven children with their families for dinner and pretending that this was just a family gathering… No, it was not that simple! He had plans in his mind – he just wanted to fill our glasses with his precious nectar…”
Dimitris lifts up his wine glass as if ready to make a toast: “I have realized that wherever I go around on Greece, there shall always be some people who respect mother earth, produce their products, be proud of them and share them with everybody who is welcomed in their houses and for this reason becoming an important person. The reason why we, Greek people, are so smiley, so positive, so happy, is because of the energy that we do receive from our very good climate. We use two words in Greece for expressing the way of doing things. They have a special meaning and exist only in the Greek language. These words are ‘Meraki’ which means to do a thing from the bottom of your heart and ‘Filotimo’ which stands for a way of doing something with devotion, passionately and great enthusiasm and of course just because you want to do it and not because you need to.”
Dimitris smiles at Giorgos and they both toast to the guests. Then they split their ways and join the guest tables for sharing stories of wine for the rest of the event.
In this project local farmers are brought to a better understanding of sustainable management methods and are connected with local tourism professionals. The link will be used to identify and exploit synergies between food producers and holiday makers.