On Tenedos, island of the vine
Tenedos in 1860 was a place seething with activity. The affluent Greek community cultivated the barren land and produced superb tsaousia or grapes, famed for their quality and flavour. Among the growers was Efstratios Malamatinas, who cultivated vines in the family’s vineyards. The flavour and firm flesh of the grapes made them famous across the region – and the white wine he produced soon became well-known and well-loved in the local community.
Konstantinos was a shrewd merchant: he increased production of the family’s white wine and expanded the market substantially. His ship, Mersini, an invaluable comrade and associate, was now unloading its precious cargo in all the main harbours and ports of northern Greece.
The first winery
The family’s first winery was founded in Alexandroupolis, under the name Tenedos. The decision by Konstantinos Malamatinas, son of Efstratios, to found the winery was a gesture of solidarity with the local community, groaning under the Turkish yoke, and support for its economy. The founding of the winery laid the foundations for a family tradition which has now been preserved for five generations.
“The man who brought us retsina”
n 1922, in the exchange of populations required by the Treaty of Lausanne, the family lost its land in Tenedos. Until that time the grapes had all come from the family vineyards, but now, as a result of the Treaty, Konstantinos Malamatinas had to look for locally produced grapes. It was at this time that he took the decision to produce the ‘wine of Greece’, or wine flavoured with pine resin, retsina. And for those in the region who do not know his name, he is referred to simply as ‘the man who brought us retsina’.
The Winery in Aulis
Konstantinos toured the vineyards of Greece, hanging out in Porto Lagos and Boeotia. It was in the Aulis made famous by Homer that he founded a new winery, where the wine was made from the local Savatiano variety of grape. Always mindful of his lost homeland, he hung outside the new winery a large sign: ‘Tenedos Winery’.
A Family Affair
The Malamatina family is not the only family whose name is closely associated with this popular wine. Dozens of families of farmers and vine-growers, workers in the fields and technicians, have tied their family fortunes to Retsina Malamatina, some of them for more than forty years.
The first bottled retsina
Evangelos – representing the third generation of the Malamatina family – experiments for hours in the chemistry laboratory. An oenologist gifted with the renowned family trait of perseverance, he has resolved to improve and stabilize the quality and flavour of the retsina. His ambition: to find a way of ensuring that Malamatina makes its way to the country’s most remote kafeneion in perfect condition. And his efforts are crowned with success! In 1957, retsina is bottled in the ‘balloon’ type of bottle, and a new era begins for Malamatina and for Greek wine. In 1988 Evangelos Malamatinas accepts an Honorary Diploma from the Greek Society of Chemists ‘for his important contribution to the wine-making sector’.
The Little Man with the Key
No one now remembers the origins of the Malamatina symbol, the little man with the key. Tradition has it that the actor Nikos Stavridis, a friend of Evangelos Malamatinas, proposed the logo on the grounds, he said,
that ‘Malamatina is the key to my stomach!’
A Family History – Going Back 120 Years
Every year around 50,000,000 bottles of Malamatina are consumed in Greece and 30 other countries. Every single bottle brings to the table, and to our hearts, the fragrance of spicy resin, the coolness of the Greek vineyards and the warmth of the Mediterranean sun. For 120 years the tradition has been handed down from one generation to the next, arriving at the present day more alive and fresh than ever before. We welcome the 5th generation of the family, and drink to the health of the next 120 years!
Over the years the family’s commitment to ongoing improvement has brought about a whole series of innovations and investments. The wineries at Faros and Ritsona, Aulis, have been expanded. An automated winery has been established in Asopia, Boeotia; this is one of the most advanced of its kind in Europe, with four pneumatic presses capable of processing 700 tons of grapes a day. The bottling plant at Kalochori, Thessaloniki, has been modernized and its capacity increased. The sales and exports network has been expanded. The fourth generation of the family is represented by Konstantinos and Aikaterini Malamatina, a management team combining the passion and know-how of a hundred years with visionary strategy and a hunger for growth.
Retsina Malamatina is produced exclusively from the Greek grape varieties of Savatiano and Rhoditis. Vinification follows the white wine-making method [?] under controlled temperatures and by selecting only the “mosto yema” or “flower must” from the grapes to achieve the wine’s unique colour, aroma, flavour and quality. The quality of Retsina Malamatina is assured by the state-of-the-art winery facilities, which are fully automated with mechanical equipment of the latest technology.
The addition of a small amount of pine resin during fermentation provides the characteristic retsina flavour, while at the same time allowing the fruity aromas of these varietals to emerge. By adding the beneficial properties of resin [?] known since ancient times, the achieved result is a unique wine with a completely Greek identity.
Bottled in 0.5lt and 0.25lt bottles, with a crown-type cap, and
in 2lt bottles with a screw cap.
"The Malamatina Bottling facility is one of the largest in Europe: here, 50 million bottles are produced per year - over 40.000 bottles per hour! We will be happy to meet you and offer you tours of our facilities and a sample of our Malamatina!"
We welcome applications from school groups or tourist groups (but we can’t promise to treat you all!)
E. Malamatinas & Son SA welcomes any organized groups from companies, schools, etc. wishing to learn at first hand how our wine is produced and bottled.
You can visit one of our three wineries in Evoia, or our state-of-the-art bottling plant at the winery headquarters in Kalochori, Thessaloniki.
It’s an opportunity to enjoy the unique experience of watching wine being made and bottled, and to see for yourselves how our much-loved products are made.
If you would like to see at first hand how Retsina Malamatina and Malama wine are made, all you need do is give us 8-10 days advance notice of your visit. You should also let us know what wineries you would prefer to visit, and on what date.
MALAMATINA Production Director
Export Sales Manager