In ancient times, the island of Chios was so famous for it’ s wine that the Greek god of wine, Dionysus, gave his personal blessing to the island and it’s storied nectar. It is fabled that the wine god’s son, Oenopion, became the mythical king of Chios and taught the islanders the art of vine cultivation. According to the legend, Oenopion had five sons: Talon, Evanthis, Melas, Salagos and Athamas and, according to historians, these became the names of the 5 qualities of Chian wine.
The land between Mount Pelinneon and Amani, in the Northwest part of the island, has a special microclimate that is optimum for winemaking. Since ancient times, this area was referred to as the land of Ariousia and is associated with one of the most famous wines in Greek history.
While at first the wine’s fame extended only to the island of Chios, very soon it became renowned all over Greece and beyond.The Chian ships transported it throughout the Mediterranean and it was served at the most exclusive and luxurious symposiums (ancient drinking parties) in the ancient Greek and Roman world.
Poet’s far and near sung the praises of the Ariousios wine and it was called “the nectar of the gods” by the likes of Homer and his contemporaries. Because of this, the term “Homer’s wine” was attributed to the Ariousios grapes and the wine’s fame lived for more than 1,500 years into the rise and fall of the Byzantines. In the Aegean and beyond, the name Ariousios rang in the ears of wine lovers just as Bordeaux has rung in the ears of connoisseurs for the last 150 years.Recently on Chios, the name “Ariousios” has been replaced by the “wine of Kourounia,” a small village down the road that has kept alive the ancient Greek tradition of wine making on the island.
ARIOUSIOS WINE, HOMER’S WINE
During past centuries the travellers wanted to link “Ariousios wine” with Homer, the greatest poet of all ages.
In Chios Island, they were searching to identify his grave and they thought he should have been born to the production place of the most famous wine of antiquity.
They thought that there he had inspired the immortal lyrics, to praise the "the glory of men and gods."
This, they believed, would have contributed to the enhancement of his intelligence.
A circle of intellectuals would have cultivated the theory of the existence of the "Wine of Homer" or "Homeric nectar” or "Homer’s Vine”, as it was called.
The birth of the poet at Chios was something that incredibly flattered Chians and there were constant quarrels and intense with many other cities on this issue.
The inhabitants of the island used to offer travellers a fine wine, accompanying their offer with a reminder that this was the wine that Homer had tasted in ancient times and he had called it “afrizonta aithopa oino” (which means: foaming black wine).
Travellers expressed different opinions on the situation of Homer's birthplace and place of production of wine. They talk about the location Omerus, which was in Chios Island and which they believed that the name of the poet was coming from. This is an unknown place today. Others talk about Kardamyla, Anavato, Erithes and other villages at NW Chios.