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Meet the Greeks
Tsililis Tsipouro

One of the Finest Tsipouro Spirits of Greece

Address: Raxa, Trikala Telephone: 0030.24310.85885 Website: Tsililis.gr

The text is copyrighted from the Official Website of Tsililis Tsipouro.

Under the glorious Meteora Rocks, alongside the prehistoric Cave of Theopetra, signs of human existence and evolution are found far back into Paleolithic era. At the Cave of Theopetra, there were found, among other things, grape seeds that provoke change in the history of wine and prove the ancient coexistence of this place with the vine and the wine. During the Byzantine era, the sacred vine cultivation and evolution of winemaking passed into the hands of the monks of the sacred Rocks who practiced them with the same reverence as worshipping God. The mystery of Meteora passes to the wine and distillates through a particular terroir, making the region an eternal cradle of production of wines and grape distillates. The Tsililis family was the first to bottle the tsipouro of Thessaly, with the homonymous geographical indication, recognized by the European Union. In 1989, the Tsililis family established the distillery and winery at Raxa of Trikala region. Today, the family continues to be a pioneer in the effort for the highlighting the international recognition of tsipouro, of this original Greek alcoholic drink. The continuous effort to praise the dynamics of grapes has resulted in the creation of a range of single varietal grape distillates and an aged in oak baroques tsipouro. In 1996, the Tsililis family has created the Theopetra Estate, an icon winery with organically grown vineyards, in order to highlight the particularities of the area and to revive rare Greek grape varieties. During the last decade, aiming to meet the needs of Greek and international consumers with the creative vision of Tsililis distillery, winery people, new ranges of grape products are created combining traditional values with modern practices.

Tsililis’ Tsipouro: The Traditional Drink of the Greek Countryside

Tsipouro is the original Greek alcoholic spirit with a long tradition and history, the hallmark of Greek hospitality and cordiality. It is the drink with the full taste that accompanies our every day and special moments, it gathers friends around a table with delicacies, it relaxes the mind and it warms the heart. Tsipouro results from the distillation of alcoholically fermented pomace (grape skins) that remains dipped into the wine, until distillation. Grape marc distillates exist also in other Mediterranean countries, such as grappa in Italy, eau-de-vie de marc in France and orujo in Spain. For centuries, tsipouro was the secondary product of viticulture and domestic wine production. It was what we might call the “poor cousin” of wine and it was always related to the life of the middle-class Greek. Tsipouro was present in everyday moments of rural people, in joys and sorrows and it became a hallmark of the Greek hospitality. The monks of Mount Athos initiated the monks of Meteora in the secrets of distillation, in a region where viticulture is witnessed since the Paleolithic Era. In the prehistoric cave of Theopetra, archaeological excavations brought to light grape seeds, among others. Until the 15th century, the art of distillation of tsipouro expands to surrounding areas. In Epirus, Macedonia, the rest of Thessaly, and Crete as well as in many other parts of Greece. Tsipouro was produced from villagers as a way of reclaiming grape pomace, which would otherwise be discarded. Merchandising of small quantities was allowed, always in bulk, within the county and neighboring counties, as any kind of bottling was forbidden, in order to enhance the income of farmers and residents of border regions. In 1883, the official Greek Government established the first law on the taxation of alcohol and the first official licenses were given for the production of tsipouro in 1896. In 1989, with the relevant establishment of National and European legislation on drink spirits, production and bottling of tsipouro is allowed to official distilleries. The above legislative conversion resulted in a huge shift for the qualitative evolution of tsipouro. It contributed significantly to the development of the culture of distillation and to the flourishing of tsipouro’s industrial production. Thus, it changed dramatically the profile of the drink, which today is considered equivalent to international spirits. With the latest revision of the regulation for spirit drinks in the European Union, tsipouro is established as an exclusively Greek product produced from grapes which are grown in the Greek land and which are distilled within the country. The original Greek distillate of grape is refined trough the art and the many years’ knowledge of the Tsililis family. Tsipouro Tsilili is the first to be bottled in Thessaly, which is the hometown of tsipouro with a long historical tradition and the region with the largest production of tsipouro in the country. Tsipouro with the Geographical Indication “Thessaly” is a recognized product from the EU with particular organoleptic characteristics. Tsipouro Tsilili of Thessaly is produced from grapes of high quality aromatic varieties grown in selected vineyards of the Thessalian land under controlled conditions with respect to humans and the environment. After alcoholic fermentation, the marc is distilled in small, discontinuous, stainless-copper pot-stills using steam through a patient and thorough process. Only the “heart” is collected, the part of the distillate that has the most clean, elegant aromas, velvety taste and is free from harmful substances, to become Tsipouro Tsilili. Tsipouro Tsilili takes two forms: one without anise dominated by the grape varietal aromas and one with anise where the spicy aromas of Greek herbs give a traditional character.

A Family Affair: The History of Tsililis’ Family

The relation of the Tsililis’ family with tsipouro and wine is a family affair. It begins immediately after the Second World War when Efthymios Tsililis as commissioner of the village church, is responsible for the communal alembic still while, he reveals the secrets of tsipouro at his fellow villagers. In the following decades, the family cultivates its own vineyards and produces tsipouro and wine for its own use, according to the traditional custom of the people of the region. In 1988, the law allowed the production and bottling of tsipouro from official distilleries while the partnership Konstantinos Tsililis, based in Raxa Trikala, is established with main activity the production and bottling of tsipouro eleven years later. In 1990, tsipouro of Tsililis’ family is marketed, the first to be bottled in Thessaly. The first vineyard of the family Theopetra Estate is planted in 1995, and since then the vineyard is steadily expanded every year. The philosophy that characterizes the Tsililis’ family is the respect for the uniqueness and diversity of each region, every corner of the Greek land that has their own special treasures. Through a mysterious discovery process of Greece, the Tsililis’ family envisioned the revival of the historic vineyard of Meteora, the qualitative development and the enhancement of local wine and distillation culture. The cultivation of the family vineyard and the management of the winery are ruled by the respect for the ecosystem of the area Antichasia- Meteora, a protected area from the European Network of Natural 2000. Nowadays, tsipouro and wine of Meteora have the place and the image they deserve in the Greek market. They are products of which the high quality is in absolute harmony with the rare beauty of the landscape that gave birth to them.

Thesally’s Tsipouro: The Fatherland of Tsipouro

Thessaly is the fatherland of tsipouro with a long historical tradition, as it is the region with the largest producing tsipouro in the country. Tsipouro with the geographical indication “Thessaly” is a recognized product from the European Union with particular organoleptic characteristics. The tsipouro of Thessaly is produced from grapes grown in Greece and distilled in official distilleries within the department. Well-ripened grapes of aromatic varieties, such as Hamburg Muscat and Roditis, in combination with double or multiple distillation in discontinuous pot stills produce a distillate with a high aromatic profile, a full body and a soft finish. The flavoring of tsipouro with fennel and anise was a regional tradition, although modern consumers show greater preference to the unflavored local tsipouro.

An Authentic Experience: Visiting the Tsilili Distillery

The visit at the Tsililis family’s winery-distillery and the initiation into the charming world of wine and tsipouro (the Greek marc distillate) takes about forty-five minutes and it is upon request. If you are visiting Meteora, do not hesitate to call the distillery and make an appointment! It surely is an authentic experience!

The text is copyrighted from the Official Website of Tsililis Tsipouro.