Vineyard Manager and Winemaker – The Life of Dimitrios Mainos

27th January 2023

Vineyard Manager and Winemaker The Life of Dimitrios Mainos

Wine isn’t just made, it’s crafted by the dedicated skills of a Winemaker and the nurtured touch of a Vineyard Manager, sometimes old traditions are passed down by generations and on other occasions, new people venture into the industry, introducing us to new creations, this series of Winemaker Interviews will help you uncover the vast world and skills of how the artists passionate about wine make the world a bubbly place.

In this article we speak with Dimitrios Mainos, an amazing Winemaker and Vineyard Manager from Greece, let’s discover a little about his time in the Wine Industry.

Who Are You, Dimitrios Mainos?

“My name is Dimitrios Mainos, I am 29 years old and I am from Naoussa, in Northern Greece. I studied at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece, where I received my first MSc in Agricultural Sciences. Then, I studied at Montpellier SupAgro, France and Hochschule Geisenheim University, Germany, where I obtained my second MSc in Enology and Viticulture. I conducted my Master’s Thesis at the Oakville Research Station of the University of California, Davis. After having completed my studies abroad and having experienced seasonal harvests in Greece and Germany, I returned to Greece to permanently work in the wine industry. As of March 2022, I work as a full-time Vineyard Manager and Assistant Winemaker for Ktima Biblia Chora S.A. at Mikro Ktima Titos, Goumenissa, Greece. I am responsible for managing and scheduling viticultural activities in order to maintain healthy and productive vines. Also, I assist in supervising all day-to-day cellar operations from harvest until bottling.”

How Did You Become Involved In The Wine Industry?

“I was born and raised in Naoussa, one of the most important winemaking regions of Greece, so growing up I was surrounded by wine and vines. My family has always been wine-oriented, as my mother is an Enologist. From a young age, she was taking me to wine exhibitions and trade fairs, which I found very special and enchanting. All those stimuli, created an environment that drove me into loving the art of winemaking. As such, I selected and scheduled my studies in a way that would help me get involved with the wine industry, eventually. I made an internship in a winery as a cellar hand and that was the beginning of everything. I can proudly say that I was able to achieve my goal with my hard work, commitment and dedication to the original plan.”

What Has Been Your Hardest Obstacle To Overcome In Producing Wine, As The Assistant Winemaker?

“There are many obstacles faced daily by winemakers in each wine region including terroir, market perception, regulations and compliances. But the most important thing is to be adaptive to the needs and specifics of every company you are working for. In the past, I have worked in smaller wineries where the infrastructure was limited. Yet, I needed to overcome the barriers and deliver. This in fact is quite intriguing because it makes you think and fills you with experience. The part that I really don’t like is when I do not share the same ambitions with my employees, because I am not a person who likes to compromise. Luckily now, I am working in a very healthy, well-driven, resourceful and ambitious environment where I am fully capable of expressing myself.

Obviously, the hardest part of a winemaker’s job is during the intense harvest period. You prepare everything the whole year for those 1-2 months. This means you need to constantly be alert and aware to make it worth. Which grape to put in each tank, when to rack, check the temperature and fermentation progress, all these things. It’s like a riddle or a puzzle, hard to solve but compensatory in the end.”

And As The Vineyard Manager, What Challenges Do You Find Yourself Facing Each Year?

“The first would surely be climate change. Every year is so different and unpredictable. Extremely high temperatures during fruit maturation causes ripening imbalances, extreme phenomena or prolonged frost during flowering, and so on. You can’t have a standard irrigation or fertilization program that you will follow year in and year out. You always need to improvise and come up with new solutions to keep the quality up there.

The second would be the protection of the environment and ecosystem. Conventional viticulture is one of the agricultural activities that consumes the most crop protection products. As such, the citizens and consumers are requiring the winegrowers to turn into organic viticulture. And that is exactly what we are doing. But this means we need to be more alert and hands on the field as it is harder to keep a healthy and productive vineyard under organic practices.

Finally, it’s the human resources. Due to decentralization, it’s hard to find young people willing to work in the vineyards. Also, there is other crops that need to be harvested around the same time as grapes, so the few available workers are divided. This means mechanization will slowly become the only feasible solution, which will make it very challenging to keep the same quality in the vineyard practices.”

What Part Of The Wine Making Process Do You Enjoy The Most?

“What I enjoy the most is getting to see the wine’s evolution. Wine is truly a living organism. I love getting in physical contact with it, using all my senses. Tasting the phenols of the berry skin, the oils of the seeds. Then the juice, then the fermenting must which changes day by day, hour by hour. Then the wine after the fermentation is over and then after the end of the malolactic fermentation. And then of course the wine after the barrel and the bottle aging. All these steps are unique and different every single time, every single vintage. And that’s what keeps our job interesting, turning the first berry into the last bottle of wine.”

Thank you Dimitrios, for sharing your words, knowledge and experience with us and we at Glass of Bubbly wish you the very best for the future!

Images belong to Dimitrios Mainos. Glass of Bubbly was granted permission to use them.

Oliver Walkey

Champagne and Sparkling Wine Writer, Focused on Bringing the Exciting and Fascinating World of Bubbly to You.