Travel & Life Digest

Achaia Claous Winery, Patras

Whether you arrive in Patras by car or boat you can't miss Achaia Clauss Winery; the jewel in Patra's crown. Literally.
Its' stone towers stand tall since 1869 on a hill above the city, with very impressive views over Patraikos Bay.

When I was little this was a real-life castle, where the sun was always shining, as far as I was concerned. 

Driving up the hilly sides of the Clauss estate you catch a glimpse of the original vineyards that produced the famous Mavrodaphe.
Here's a romance for you. 
Legend has it that the founder of the winery, Gustav Clauss, was in love with a local girl who had black eyes and hair. Her name was Daphne, hence the name of his first wine: Mavrodaphe, "mavro" being the Greek word for black. 
Nowadays grapes are brought in the winery from various places around the area as demand is great and this little original vineyard is not big enough to produce all the quantity needed. 

And I'll have you know that "Mavrodaphne" is also used for Communion in church. You guessed right, there is a barrel with the archbishop's stamp on it too!

Walking around the heart of the estate in the old courtyard,  surrounded by stone buildings and orange trees is pure bliss, especially on a sunny day.
Summer weddings are often hosted here and I can tell you that sitting under the stars, surrounded by so much history is just superb!
You'll even notice a lot of barrels left out in the sun, apparently this is a special treatment for Mavrodaphe wine that enhances the fermentation process and helps create this sweet, ruby-coloured potion. See if you can taste the sun in every sip!

Give your eyes a minute to adjust to the dim lighting when you enter "Cava Danielida", a crooked old building made of stone and wooden beams, where wine tasting takes place.
It looks more like an old German brewery than a winery; massive arched fireplaces divide up the room, tables and chairs are made out of old barrels, colourful bottles have been lodged into the walls and give the place vibrant red and orange twinkles, every time the sun shines on them; once you soak in the atmosphere find the tiny balcony at the back, with the best view over Patras and its' bay;
try spotting the ferries sailing to Italy and enjoy the vastness of this landscape for as far as the eye can see, into the Ionian Sea.

The lady at the tasting centre is one of the sweetest people I've encountered and will show you around the warehouse with the old barrels in a short notice, free of charge. 
If you like sweet wines ask to try "Melissaia", a white desert wine made of sun-dried grapes. 
The intricate barrels date back to 1800s and have constantly been topped with wine since! They are not opened or used regularly; only at special occasions the winery releases limited number of bottles for collectors. 
These barrels are swollen with age and pressure and drips of wine have run down the sides throughout the years, releasing an intoxicating aroma... close your eyes and imagine the stories these barrels have to tell...x

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