As an adventure traveler, I look for activities that are not the standard, but truly exceptional and perhaps off the beaten path, challenging, or a tad bit wacky. This fall, I took my maiden voyage through the Greek Isles of Mykonos and Santorini with stops in historical Athens and Olympia’s port, Katakolon. Although I found out on this trip that I needed to take a deep dive into my Greek history, when I arrived in Katakolon, I passed on touring the site of the first Olympics. I needed something more engaging, my own version of DYI adventure travel.
If you have been reading this blog since 2008, you know that I’m an active adventure traveler, but that I believe that you need to refuel after such activities with locavore eats and drinks. I found out that only 5 kms from the port was the Mercouri Estate winery, which offered tours. As I bypassed the tourist shops, taxis, and large tour buses of the ship, I continued along the port to the end of its small downtown. There parked was a small train, Katakolon’s Tourist Train. For only 6 euros, I purchased a ticket valid all day for a ride to the Mercouri Estate winery (15 min) and St. Andreas Beach (15 min).
Sitting in the train with a handful of others, we ventured out into the countryside of Katakolon and up a windy road to arrive at the Mercouri Estate vineyard. I alone got off the train as the others continued to the beach. I entered the wine tasting room to receive two tastings at 1 euro a piece of their dry white and red.Selection of Mercouri Estate’s Wines – Katakolon, Greece
Arriving before a large tour, I was instructed by the staff to walk around the grounds myself. I sat in a shaded pergola writing in my journal and then walked through the vines.
As I passed the grape press to return my glass, I was put to work by this tired worker. He insisted I try. I figure he didn’t want to shovel smashed grapes all himself. I was up for the experience. Heck, I’ll work for wine! Opa!
Will Work for Wine at Mercuri Winery outside of Katakalon, Greece
After a little work at the vineyard, I didn’t leave empty handed. I purchased a bottle of Foloi (dry white) for a celebration with my friends and family back home where I would tell this very story.
Beneath the shade of an olive tree, I waited for the train, which picks up every thirty minutes.
DIY wine adventure in Greece: 6 euros train ticket + 2 euros tastings + 7 euros bottle of wine =15 euros, but being put to work was the icing on top of the cake. Opa!