Vineyards Offer More than Wine

Harvest 2015 is well underway in most wine regions in the Northern Hemisphere. The grapes are being picked and made into wine. After all, that’s what vineyards are for. But, as we discuss the important topic of food waste and hear about chefs utilizing scraps in the kitchen, what about in the vineyard? Grapes are crushed to make wine and then the skins can be used to make grappa or can be used as compost. But, have you ever thought about the leaves or the stems?

While in Greece earlier this summer, lunch in the vineyard of Elinos Winery in Naoussa, we were shown how creative one can be utilizing elements from the vineyard.

Elinos

Elinos is a family winery owned by the Taralas family. The name Elinos comes from the Odyssey and has multiple meanings – wine, crushing grapes, the top of the vine (helix), Greek wine. Dimitrios Taralas retired from banking and purchased the vineyard in 2006. The vineyard, situated at an altitude of 1000 feet, is located on the eastern edge of Naoussa, at the highest point of Mount Vermion, in the Imathia region of Macedonia, Greece. At 25 acres, it is the third biggest single vineyard in Naoussa. They grow Xinamavro, as well as Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Malagouzia, Preknadi, Moschomavro, Negoska and Roditis.

Elinos Wines

When they purchased the vineyard in 2006, it was surrounded by forest and mountains, making it an ideal setting for organic farming. Today the vineyard is certified organic and is run by Dimitrios’ twin children Christos and Nikoleta. Christos, an agriculturist and food techonologist with a Masters in food legislation, is the winemaker and Nikoleta is the sales manager.

Elinos - Christos and Nikoleta Taralas with their dad Dimitrios

We sat down for lunch prepared by the mother of Christos and Nikoleta. Each dish featured ingredients from the vineyard – from grapes to grape leaves and were paired with the delicious wines of Elinos.

Elinos - Lunch in the Vineyard

Sardines wrapped in grape leaves

Sardines wrapped in grape leaves

Grape leaf pesto

Grape leaf pesto

Potato salad with grape leaves, extra virgin olive oil, salt, breadcrumbs

Potato salad with grape leaves, extra virgin olive oil, salt, breadcrumbs

Grape stems pickled in vinegar

Grape stems in pickled in vinegar

Red peppers in grape must

Red peppers in grape must

Dolmas (stuffed grape leaves)

Dolmas (stuffed grape leaves)

We also enjoyed a salad with a dressing made from grape must, extra virgin olive oil and vinegar.

Next time you drive by a vineyard and think about the wines that will be coming from there, also think about all the great dishes you can make from all the other parts of the grape vine.

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