In Dafnes, nested among the olive groves, stands the only winery on the island. It is called Melmar and is surprisingly modern. It was built recently, some years ago. It started to work in 2013 and in 2014 the first bottles of wine, named after Mount Saos, were launched onto the market. I remember that year I was pleasantly surprised to find at O Vrachos Taverna a local bottled wine (that time I didn't know more about it).
Meanwhile Melmar Winery grew, developed and made a brand out of it. It is still developing nicely. We met there Giorgios, the young enologist came from Crete who showed us the building and the new modern installations and told us about the wines and plans of future.
Melmar Winery in Dafnes
The most popular label is called Mistiko Monopati, which can be translated as "the secret pathway" and I think it describes very well "the Samothrace feeling". There is a white wine, but also a red wine. To be noted that the red wine with the Mistiko Monopati label (a 2015 Syrah) received in 2018 a golden medal at the Internationl Wine Contest of Thessaloniki. And it's quite a big thing for a winery which only works for a few years and which still experiments. And I wish them to win so many other prizes…
The white version of Mistiko Monopati is produced from a local grape called Malagousia. Giorgios told us that there were big problems with the phylloxera crisis, which destroyed the local grape varieties at the end of the 19th century, so that the wines that were produced afterwords were based on the french grape types. Anyway, Greece managed to overcome the situation and today there are some studies who mention about 300 types of local grapes.
Another label is called Adyton ("altar, sanctuary"). The white version is produce from the Greek Assyrtiko grape, the rosé is produced from Mavroudi (a grape which is characteristic for the Thracian region) and the red one is made of a Mavroudi and Syrah assemblage. A special edition is the white Asyrtiko aged for 12 months in oak barrels.
The grapes come both from the island (where the vineyards are still in developing) and from the mainland (only from the region of Thrace). All the wines are dry, with a 12-14 Celsius alcohol content.
The plans are to get the 5 new apartments ready to receive guests. It will be wonderful to wake up in the morning surrounded by the vineyards and olive groves and to have the sea in the front of your eyes. It is also planned to build a distillery for tsipouro, a traditional alcoholic Greek beverage.
Visiting the winery
It's a shame to come on the island and not to pay a visit to Melmar Winery. Even if theoretically there is someone there every day, it's a better idea to announce your visit. It is open from 10 to 14 and from 17 to 20. You can announce your visit at firstname.lastname@example.org or calling at 0030 697 550 008). For the moment there isn't any fee, but at the end of a visit you can buy some wine bottles. The prices are between 6.5 and 12 Euro a bottle. You can also buy the wines from the souvenir shops or supermarkets of the island.
Getting to Melmar
From Kamariotissa you take the road to Pachia Ammos, through Lakkoma and when you exit Dafnes you turn right. As there's no sign, it's better to use Google maps. You'll drive through olive groves and in a few minutes you'll find yourself at the entrance of the winery.