Semeli Estate, a small wine paradise in Nemea

A full day at Semeli Estate

Semeli was the mother of Dionysus, the god of wine and pleasure in antiquity.  Nemea's probably most beautiful winery was named after her, nestled in the heart of vineyards that spread at an altitude of 650 meters, letting the eye wander to the surrounding hillsides until it reaches the sea.

Located in Koutsi, Nemea, Semeli Estate is the ideal stop for a road trip in Corinth, but also an opportunity in itself for a one-day excursion from Athens. Whether you are a wine lover and a connoisseur, or a first-timer in the magical world of wineries, you have a lot to learn here - and more to taste.

An estate with long history

With a history that dates back to 1979, the Semeli Estate is one of the leading winemaking units in Greece today. In the heart of a unique Terroir, in Koutsi of Nemea, the ultra-modern winery has been operating since 2003, surrounded by privately owned vineyards that cover 50 acres out of a total of 300 in Nemea and Mantinea.

In the same year, the first harvest took place, which resulted in, among other things, the emblematic NEMEA GRANDE RESERVE 2003, an excellent single vineyard 100% Agiorgitiko deep red wine that is now only available at the winery and you can see how beautifully it matures over time.

The choice of the winery's location was not at all accidental. The main reason is the quality of the soil, which is clay-calcareous, with high calcium carbonate content. Simply put, color. The grapes are more intensely coloured here than in other places. Secondly, there are not vast plains here that we see in, say, California: There's a slope, so there's very, very good drainage.

The cool breeze coming in from the Corinthian Gulf in the background also protects the vines from various diseases. Adding to the above the low yields per hectare (700 kg of grapes per hectare), one can easily understand the quality of the grapes produced in this sub-zone of Nemea, especially in terms of the concentration of aromas and flavor characteristics.

At the same time, the design of the winery according to the philosophy of "gravity flow" helps in the gentle treatment of the raw material, the grapes, and the wine produced.

By exploiting gravity, the grapes are fed to the winemakers, while the wine produced is also sent to the barrels in the cellar for maturation, thus reducing mechanical stresses to a minimum. In total, the estate is embraced by about 50 acres of vineyards; another 150 are located in the wider Nemea area, while another 100 are in Mantinea, where mainly Moschofilero is grown.

Apart from this and Agiorgitiko, which is the main variety of Nemea, Semeli Estate also grows Malagouzia, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah and Gewürztraminer, which comes directly from Mantinea because it needs altitude and a cooler climate to give a special crispness.

At the same time, there are many permanent/steady partnerships with specific producers to supplement the quantities required for wine production.

A full day at Semeli Estate

From the moment you leave the car in the parking lot and head towards the entrance, gazing at the spectacular landscape that embraces the winery, you understand that here, attention has been paid to every last detail: From the Francesco Moretti sculptures that greet us in the lush garden, to the tables spread out on the large terraces above the pool to accommodate the wine tasting that will follow the tour.

During the tour you will learn everything you always wanted to know about the production, vinification and aging of wine, starting from the level of the reception and ending in the extremely atmospheric underground cellar.

On the first level you will see one of only five destemmers that exist in Greece, a state-of-the-art machine that separates the grape's nipple from the bunch, keeping it completely intact. Also impressive is the rail system, which is a certified patent of the Estate, and ensures the correct and quick separation in the winemakers, depending on the sub-zone from which each batch of grapes comes.

From there we walk to the winemaking area, the heart of the winery, to see the white wine tanks and the oak fermenters where alcoholic fermentation takes place for the Spondee and Grande Reserve wines, the two most iconic red wines of the estate. Next is the bottling line, where we will learn about the bottling and storage of the wine, 25% of whose total production goes abroad, where it is sold in 22 countries, with the main markets being America, Canada, England, Germany and the Netherlands.

The tour ends in the evocative cellar, with its atmospheric lighting, the constant temperature that does not exceed 16 degrees Celsius all year round, with the oak barrels lined up to form corridors reminiscent of a film set. Beneath the decorative pebbles under the barrels is the natural soil to exploit the moisture of the soil.

In addition to the oak barrels, there are also some French acacia barrels, where Thea Mantinia, a single vineyard, PDO Mantinea Muscovy wine, which was even awarded as the best Muscovy wine of the year for 2023. This wine matures on the thin "sur lie" lees, acquiring, in addition to characteristic floral aromas and peach syrup, a particular mouth feel and mature character.

Inside the cellar is the impressive Glass Hall of the Estate, which hosts private tastings  and vertical tastings - vertical tasting, if you are not familiar with the terms of the wineries, we say the tasting of different vintages of the same label, which shows us the evolution of the wine over the years.

On display in the Glass Hall, the Estate's "library" includes some of the oldest vintages and historic labels, such as Chateau Semeli, one of the first Greek labels to win a gold medal in a wine competition in France, a Cabernet and Merlot blend that is no longer on the market.

The time we’ve all be waiting for has come

At the end of the tour, we head back up to the impressive reception area to taste some of the Estate's finest wines. Depending on the tour you choose,  the labels change each time (reason to come and come again, because one visit is never enough).

Our favorites include the perfectly summery pink Semeli Delear, 60% Syrah and 40% Grenache Rouge, with aromas of pomegranate, watermelon and passion fruit, and the white Semeli Aetheria, 80% Malagouzia with 20% Chardonnay, and delicate aromas of green apple and pear.

Brand new label Semeli Sofia, released just a month ago, is 60% Assyrtiko and 40% Muscovy, while special mention should of course go to the red Semeli Spondee, 40% Merlot, 40% Syrah, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon, with notes of ripe red fruit, blueberry and blackcurrant jam and oriental spices.

No tasting is, of course, complete without the wonderful Nemea Reserve and Grande Reserve, both made from 100% Agiorgitiko, aged for a total of two and four years respectively. Aromas of blackberry, black cherry and vanilla framed by notes of spice make these two iconic labels of the estate an experience for all the senses.

If time allows, it is definitely worth upgrading the whole experience to wine & dine,  by pairing the Estate's wines with tasty suggestions inspired by the rich gastronomic tradition of the Peloponnese and the rest of Greece, based on organic raw materials such as Corinthian trahanas, legumes and fava beans from Feneos, Zireia feta cheese, selected local cold cuts, as well as a selection of Greek reared meats.

You can enjoy it all with a view of the lush green hillsides around the Estate, either in the luxurious interior with the hanging fireplaces that steal the show, or at the tables spread outside on the large terraces.

Semeli Estate is open daily except Tuesday 10:00-16:00, and weekends 11:00-17:00. There is also the possibility of organizing corporate events, as well as for hospitality in impressive suites within the framework of these events



Athens Office: 3 Mitropoleos Street,

Athens, Attica 10057

T/ + 30 2103256850  F/ + 30 2103221948

E/ [email protected]

Semeli Estate: Koutsi, Nemea,

Peloponnese 20500

T/ +30 27460 20360/20361

website :

Wine tourism

Wine tourism