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PDO Mavrodaphne of Patras and the oldest winery in Greece

By Project SMEOrigin

Mavrodaphne of Patras is a naturally sweet PDO wine coming from the area of Achaia in Peloponnese, Greece. Besides its qualities as a wine product itself, it bears a rich history and gives ground for further economic activities, like tourism. During the second interregional partnership meeting for project SMEOrigin in Greece, we visited the oldest winery in Greece – Achaia Clauss, to explore in depth the Mavrodaphne of Patras PDO and its contribution to the regional development in Western Greece.

Mavrodaphne of Patras PDO

The PDO Mavrodaphne of Patra (ΠΟΠ Μαυροδάφνη Πατρών) wine zone (est.1971) lies in the northern-central part of Achaia district, northern Peloponnese. The Mavrodaphne variety exists in different clones in Achaia and the Ionian island of Cephalonia (where it yields PDO Mavrodaphne of Cephalonia wine).

Mavrodaphne grapes in Achaia Clauss winery in Greece

PDO Mavrodaphne of Patra is naturally sweet wine (vin de liqueur) that has to be aged for a period of at least one year in oak barrels of a capacity up to 1,000 litres. If the wine has been oaked for 2 years, it can be labelled as “Reserve”. Wines oaked for a total of seven years (minimum three in the barrel and three years in the bottle) are entitled to the indication “Grand Reserve”.

The Mavrodaphne of Patra dessert wine is the most popular Greek sweet red wine.

Tasting Mavrodaphne of Patras

Mavrodaphne of Patras PDO has a deep brown color, an indication of the antiquity of this wine in combination with a refined complex bouquet of raisins and dried mixed fruits such as figs, plums and walnuts that are distinguished by quality and delicacy. Round, firm, elegant, soft, rich and tasteful are just some of the adjectives that can be used to describe the impressions of the mouth from this significantly complex, rich wine.

The longer this wine remains in the mouth, the greater the depth it acquires. The endless aftertaste of this wine will be maintained even after a long time. It is rightly characterized as one of the best sweet wines in Greece.

The wine Mavrodaphne of Patras, is ideal as an aperitif, with roasted almonds, dried figs, foie gras, but also as a dessert wine, it goes perfectly with melon, Roquefort, caramel cream, bitter chocolate cake with ice cream Vanilla.

The story of Mavrodaphne – Achaia Clauss winery

Achaia Clauss is the oldest functioning winery in Greece, built in 1861 by the visionary Bavarian Gustav Clauss. Clauss came to Patras in the mid-nineteenth century and made his first Mavrodaphne wine in 1861. Later, inspired by the making of Port wine, he created the sweet fortified Mavrodaphne, which gained huge popularity in a short time.

Achaia Clauss winery, Greece

For decades Achaia Clauss has been a leader in producing Mavrodaphne. Nowadays, it is not only a historic winery, but also an institution striving to preserve the unique wine heritage of the area. The oldest part of its buildings, the Imperial Cellar, is acting as a museum of wine. Inside they store an impressive collection of old Mavrodaphne vintages, including a barrel of 1873. Currently this is the oldest Mavrodaphne in the world.

Barrels with Mavrodaphne of Patras at Achaia Clauss winery, Greece

Wine, tourism and culture – a tasty pairing

Exploiting his rich heritage, Achaia Clauss winery is also contributing to the regional tourism sector. Visitors have the opportunity to see the unique art and wood carvings inside the old cellar. Inside the cellar there are also photos of real people that once worked in the cellar, as well as old tools and vessels for winemaking.

Achaia Clauss winery is also a museum

The winery equipment, where some of the oldest  winery machines and copper distiller are on display.   ​On special occasions guests can visit Gustav Clauss's  residence where rare archival and photographic material  of the winery is exhibited, as well as awards and works  of art.


For more information on Mavrodaphne and Achaia Clauss, visit the winery's website: Achaia Clauss : Από Το 1861 Οινοποιεί | Επισκέψιμο Οινοποιείο

Study visit