||Katogi Averoff began life in the late nineteen fifties, when Evangelos Averoff planted Greece’s first Cabernet Sauvignon vines on the precipitous slopes of Mount Pindus and bottled the wine now known as Katogi Averoff in the ”katogi” (lower storey) of his home in Metsovo.
”French vines in Greek mountain soil” read the label he lovingly designed for that first wine. Part of a wide-ranging effort, a vast work-in-progress aiming at stimulating economic and cultural development in the region, Averoff’s wine-making activities were borne of a vision: transforming Pindus’ abandoned slopes into vineyards and reviving a viticultural tradition which had flourished during the 18th and 19th centuries.
And that is precisely what he did. With the help of experts from Greece and France, Averoff created one of Greece’s most celebrated and elevated vineyards, built a small winery on the outskirts of Metsovo, and establishing Katogi SA in 1989. But Katogi’s red wine, which quickly made a name for itself both in Greece and abroad, where it won a number of international awards, was just the first step in the company’s master plan: releasing the vast potential of the Greek vineyard by promoting the cultivation of native Greek grapes and blending traditional Greek and international varieties. The company was also one of the first Greek wine-makers to embrace authentic methods of growing and making wine.
Evangelos Averoff died in 1990, but Katogi Averoff SA continued to grow both rapidly and in accordance with the philosophy of its founder under its managing director, Sotiris Ioannou. New vineyards were planted around Metsovo, and the company continued to experiment with new grape varieties and new blends of wine. The winery was brought up-to-date through a series of extensions, and the company increased its total production and expanded its national and internationally distribution. Katogi Averoff SA was now firmly established as a dynamic young company with solid foundations, high-quality products and a contemporary, forward-looking approach. It was in this spirit of taking on new challenges for the 21st century that the decision was taken to merge with Strofilia SA in 2001 and found the new company: Katogi & Strofilia SA.
Strofilia’s story begins in 1980 when two friends and colleagues, Giannis Maltezos and Achilleas Lampsidis, decided to plant vines on the Maltezos family estate at Tourkochorafo near Anavyssos. They opted for foreign grape varieties with a view to producing a superior product. Having brought the old wine press at Agios Georgios, near Palaia Fokaia, back into service in the meantime, they pressed their first vintage (1984) in the traditional manner: with their feet! The wine - the red a Cabernet Sauvignon, the white a blend of Savatiano and Ugni blanc - was bottled and christened ”Strofilia”.
Both wines proved successful, and it was decided to increase production using the vines that were already grown in the vicinity—Savatiano and Roditis—which had until then been used almost exclusively in retsina production. Strofilia showed that when harvested early and processed carefully, these two Greek varieties could produce a fascinating white wine with a discrete bouquet.
In 1985, a third friend, the chemist, joined Strofilia and the company was registered as a societe anonyme and began to employ young people from the area. At the same time, the company opened the Strofilia Wine Bar — Greece’s first — in downtown Athens, whose considerable and long-lived success would play a part in changing Greek perceptions of wine and educating consumers.
In 1988, a small modern winery was built on the estate which brought with it a further increase in quality and permitted both increased production and a more wide-ranging collaboration with wine-growers in Anavyssos. The local wine also received official acknowledgment in the granting of its own appellation of origin: ”Local wine of Anavyssos”.
In 2001, Strofilia SA merged with Katogi Averoff SA; united by friendship and a shared vision of the future, Katogi and Strofilia SA could now look ahead to a bright future.|