As referenced in many ancient texts, the «Pramnios wine» has been a product of Ikaria since antiquity. Homer specifically states in both the Iliad (verse Λ’, 638) and the Odyssey (verse Κ’, 233) that Pramnios was a wine dedicated to the worship of the god Dionysus. What’s more, some of the famous ancient personalities, such as Galinos the Athenian - and even Hippocrates himself – mention the medicinal use of this specific wine. In more recent times, Pramnios wine has enjoyed critical acclaim from well-known travellers, such as Buondelmonti, Bordone, Boschini, Thevenot and others. Hauttecoeur, in particular, makes reference to the large (given the size of the island) expanses of land that were dedicated to vineyards (approximately 200.000 vines).
Antiquity ‘wants’ Ikaria to be associated with Dionysus and the cultivation of the vine. In Greek mythology Dionysus was the god of wine and unbridled fun. The mythical kingdom of Oinoe is said to have been on the island and many places are still known by their ancient place names related to Dionysus. Actually, one of the names used for the island was ‘Makris’, from the name of one of his wet nurses. Also, according to Greek mythology, the Island’s name – Ikaria – comes from the legendary Icarus, son of Daedalus, the first aviators ever. Myth has it, that young and adventurous Icarus flew, against his father’s advice, too near the sun. The heat thus melted his wax-held wings resulting in Icarus falling to his death in the sea below. His body was washed onto the shores of the island, which was subsequently named Ikaria after him, while the sea where he drowned was named The Ikarian Sea.
Ikaria has gained a worldwide reputation through the ‘Blue Zones’ series of books by the American author Dan Buettner. Dan, who visited our estate, describes this experience in his books, making reference to recipes of local gastronomy and publishing photos as well as advice on how to live the Ikarian way. (The Blue Zones: 9 Lessons for Living Longer from the People Who’ve Lived the Longest & The Blue Zones Kitchen: 100 recipes to live to be 100). ‘Blue Zones’ refer to areas with a large number of centenarians; there are 5 areas worldwide that are listed as ‘Blue Zones’. These areas are: Ikaria (Greece), Okinawa (Japan), Sardinia (Italy), Nicoya (Cost Rica) and Loma Linda (California). Ikaria in particular holds the world record for the largest number of people aged over 90.
Among the secrets for longevity on Ikaria one would find the local plant-based gastronomy, the consumption of local wine, the relaxed way of life and absence of stress, along with daily agricultural labour, walking, family ties, goodwill, faith and of course the island’s environmental aspects, such as its nature, its water, the prevailing winds and its thermal springs.
"Five generations of the Karimali family, Agios Polykarpos, Ikaria, 2004’’