The Kontovrakis Estate is at the centre of a lovely vineyard in the Vresteza (Komini) area, not far from Kranidi, and covers about 10,000 square metres at an altitude of 250 to 300 m, with a north-east orientation.
Yiannis Kontovrakis, a third-generation viniculturist from an old Kranidi family, continues the family tradition, cultivating and preserving the rare – perhaps unique to Greece – Rokaniaris grape variety, as well as the equally superior Sklavos variety. Yiannis, who has a strong artistic/musical bent, has expressed it in his masterful planting of the vines. A former technician in hydraulics,he has arranged his plants in a linear formation with an excellent irrigation system and the result is a landscape design of unusual beauty.
Besides the main varieties of Rokaniaris and Sklavos, he also cultivates to a lesser extent the more familiar Roditis, Savvatianos, Moschofilero Agiorgitiko (from Mt Athos), Xynomavro and Cabernet Sauvignon. The yield per 1000 square metres is 800 kg of Rokaniaris and about 1200 of Sklavos. The Rokaniaris variety is found only in Kranidi. The name,from the verb ‘rokanizo’, which means to crunch, may derive from the rather papery and crackling skin of the grapes, which produces a slightly crisp effect in the mouth. A rare variety endemic to the Argolid, the wine has a pale yellow-greenish hue, a complex aroma, a pleasant and refreshing taste and intense aftertaste. Together with the Sklavos (‘slave’) variety, these twins are sure to enslave you!
Next to the vines a small winery with modern equipment has been set up, with space for storage and bottling.
Of great interest to wine lovers is the connoisseur’s tasting room, a wooden octagonal construction that resembles a French hunting lodge, with a plate glass surround from which there is a view of the rolling countryside of Ermionida.
With the same care and flair as his grandfather and father, who also had a taverna in Kranidi, Yiannis and his niece, Nadia Kotsaki,continue the family tradition, welcoming their guests with a wine-tasting session accompanied by many stories about the place and its cultivations.