The millennia long tradition of producing the ancient ‘Pramnios’ wine of Homer’s time has been preserved in our wine production. Though contemporary methods are used, our ancestral spirit, care and devotion are present in the production of our wine. These are ingredients that come from a five-century long family tradition, as shown by the records kept.
Despite many years of successful employment in Athens, George Karimalis, gave up his career in economics and resolved to settle with his family on the island of Ikaria. The preparation for this major change started with him travelling back and forth to Ikaria doing the groundwork necessary for the reviving of the vineyards and for setting up the winery. However, this was a little secret kept from the rest of the family for a couple of years (1998-1999), during which time the winery was being constructed. Then one day he broke the news of relocation to the family. Initially, the winery was the sole business endeavour of the Karimalis family, while agrotourism and oenotourism developed with time.
George Karimalis has enthusiastically engaged in professional wine tasting since 1993 and participated in great many professional wine-tasting seminars. His development as a connoisseur was facilitated by his membership of professional wine societies, his participation in international fairs and from his collaboration with various restaurants and other wine producers.
The Karimalis winery was signed over to daughter Iliana Karimali in 2019. Iliana had shown a serious interest in wine production at a very early age. From the age of five, she started shadowing her father on his visits to the vineyards and the winery, thus cultivating a passion for wine making. Studies in Chemical Engineering at the National Metsovio Technical University came with adulthood. She majored in Biotechnology and Food production and, as expected, her thesis was entitled ‘Characteristics of the local grape varieties of Ikaria and the study of their fermentation’. Her first degree was followed by postgraduate studies in Oenology at the Athens Agricultural University. This encouraged her Chemical Engineer and Oenologist father to sign over the business, anticipating that her commitment and skills - along with his unfading presence as an advisor - would take it to the next level.
Wine is made from the grapes harvested from the actual vineyard in which the winery stands, as well as from two other vineyards that belong to the family. These are the ‘Kalabele’ near the village of Nas and the ‘Stefanes’ near the village of Pigi. All the vineyards are certified by the Organic Farming Organisation for their organically produced crops. The Karimalis vineyards cover an area of 3,5 acres (15 stremma) and they comprise local varieties of vines, such as Reteno, Kountouro (Mantilaria) and Fokiano for the red varieties and Mpegleri and Assyrtiko for the white ones. According to the records kept from generation to generation, the Karimalis family have been vineyard owners and wine producers for at least five centuries. In 1993 the vineyard gradually started to be given a new lease of life through replanting.
All the wines produced are labeled PGI Ikaria (Protected Geographical Indication) and are minimal intervention products. Vinification takes place with the aid of indigenous yeasts that reflect the unique terroir of the island and naturally produce wine quite high in alcohol content. All of the dregs and sediments of the wine-making process are returned to the soil of the vineyards through a process of composting, thus enriching the locally-produced yeasts.
The winery is 100 m2 in size and is fitted out with modern wine producing equipment, such as grape separators, presses, cooling systems for both the space and the tanks, fermentation monitoring equipment, stainless steel tanks, a nitrogen system, modern bottling equipment and so on. The winery boasts a safe space for the aging of red wine in oak barrels, as well as a horizontal storage space for about 12 to 14 thousand bottles of wine. The premises of the winery are air-conditioned to a temperature of 18 °C.