When Constantinos Anastasiou handed over Cavino to his sons Jiannis and Theodoros in 2002, it was already one of the most modern wineries in Greece. Now the pair are carrying on their father’s good work.
It seems that there has always been a distinct division of responsibilities between Jiannis and Theodoros. Jiannis is CEO of Cavino and Theodoros is the company‘s president. Jiannis is responsible for export and Theodoros for the domestic market. Jiannis is studying oenology and Theodoros, business. Their father, Constantinos Anastasiou, must have been very pleased to see the two of them complement each other so well and master every facet of the business he built up.
The Anastasious have been wine growers for many generations, exactly like many other families. They had a close association with their home in Aigion in the north of the Peloponnese region, and harvested raisins and grapes. It was Constantinos Anastasiou who took the next step and founded the Cavino winery in 1958. CA represented his initials, and VINO was clear to all.
It was perhaps his openness more than anything that set the plucky businessman apart from the rest, and his vision stretched way beyond his own sphere of activity. He observed international developments with interest and responded to trends. He recognised that German consumers liked to drink sweet wine and developed Imiglykos especially for them. Consequently, Cavino was one of the first Greek wineries to sell wine in Germany. The company has been exporting to Germany since 1970. The wines came into their own in the increasingly popular Greek restaurants in Germany.
Sometimes it seems that the image of Greece has changed radically in recent years. In view of the financial crisis, respect for the philosophical and cultural achievements of ancient times and enthusiasm for the Greek way of life have taken a back seat. When the Anastasiou family sees this, it must be with a heavy heart as they have been heavily involved in the export market for a long time and played an important part in promoting positive emotions for Greece throughout the world.
Their open approach to other countries has also helped the family during the financial crisis. Because Cavino’s business was already focused on export, it has been hit less hard by the fall in demand in Greece. Its good contacts abroad have even made it possible for Cavino to continue its growth on a sound economic basis. Seventy-five per cent of its production is exported. Germany is still by far the biggest market, but meanwhile Cavino wines can be found in 41 countries, including in the USA and China, as well as in markets such as Brazil and Nigeria.
Constantinos Anastasiou could, of course, not have predicted this success at the outset. He concentrated on producing typical Greek wines. His high level of quality awareness enabled him to build an internationally competitive company for Jiannis and Thoedoros to grow into.
A milestone in the company’s development was the establishment, in 1999, of the Domaine Mega Spileo in the historical vineyard of the monastery of the same name which, when translated, means the great cave. Whilst the monastery, which is built on a steep hillside, can only be reached with difficulty, Cavino saw to it that the wines were again available. Wine lovers can be very happy about this, since the 800m high vines produce outstanding wines. The gravel and clay soil give them a special terroir.
In former times, donkeys transported the grapes to the poorly accessible monastery cellar, but Cavino brought the vineyards abandoned in the late 1980s into the present. And so Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah and Riesling were planted in the vineyard alongside the indigenous varieties. In the cellar, the wines are given time to mature. Following maceration, the red wines mature for 16 to 24 months in the barrel. Subsequently, they are allowed to spend a further two years in the bottle. The wine producer has received many awards at international wine contests. The 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon was given the title of Best Greek Red Wine at Mundus Vini 2013.
Cavinoʼs growth was not limited to Mega Spileo. A large number of classical Greek wines are produced in the highly efficient winery in Aigion, including Retsina, Imiglykos, Imixiros and Ionos. In addition to these are wines where the emphasis is placed on where they come from, whether it be Nemea, Naoussa or Patras. Cavinoʼs commitment to the diffusion of Greek food and drink culture is also reflected in some of the companyʼs other products. Olives from the Aigion region and olive oil are produced under the Oliana brand name. Moreover, Ouzo and the pomace brandy Tsipouro are produced under the brand name of Romios.
Cavino’s power of innovation is demonstrated by the Deus line. Here, both indigenous and international grape varieties come into their own, as does the Anastasiousʼ love of experimentation, which is breaking new ground with the Deus white and rosé sparkling wines. Their willingness to be open to new ideas and determination to continuously change and improve are the characteristics that set the Anastasiou family apart. Cavino benefits from this enthusiasm for innovation, just as it does from the fact that the Anastasious are interested in the long-term development of their family business. This has an impact not only on their employees, some of whom have been with Cavino for more than 30 years, but also on their long-term relationships with customers. Awards for ‘Best Winery in Greece’ from the Wine and Spirits Magazine 2009, Best Red Wine in Greece at Mundus Vini (Cabernet Sauvignon Domaine Mega Spileo in 2013 and Domaine Mega Spileo in 2014) and National Champion at the European Business Awards 2013/14 are the reward for continuity and the best proof that the company is also wellequipped for succeeding generations.