Manousakis Winery has a different story to most Greek wineries.
Run by Greek-American, Alexandra Manousakis and her Swedish-Iranian husband, Afshin Molavi, this winery was founded by Alexandra’s father, Theodore (Ted) Manousakis in 1993.
Ted wanted to produce high end, organic wines in the small village he was born in called Vatolakkos. Since Ted did not know how to make wine, he called upon some of the biggest names in the wine industry to come to Crete to consult him as to which varieties were best suited for his land. In 1997 the first wines were produced- 100% organically from the varieties of Grenache, Mourvedre, Roussanne and Syrah. He named his wines Nostos Wines. Nostos, from the Greek of Homer’s day, expresses a yearning to return, memories of cherished friends; love of homeland and of one’s roots…nostalgia.
In 2007, 23 year old Alexandra (Alex), who had finished her studies in Art, Hellenic Studies and Business at NYU- decided to give up her career in real estate marketing in New York City to move to Chania to run her father’s winery which was producing 35,000 bottles of wine per year at the time.
Alex quickly developed wine tastings and events – both private and public-at the winery. Together, Alex and Afshin – a trained sommelier and owner of Salis restaurant in Chania – decided to open a restaurant serving traditional Cretan cuisine on the idyllic tasting terrace of the winery.
Given Alex’s strong background in art, the winery hosts art events and focuses an emphasis on aesthetics and design. Today, Alex showcases her own art, painting on everything from ceramics, to wine bottles to barrels.
In the summer, she paints under the trees on the winery grounds. The winery also likes to collaborate with different brands and has done so with Salty Bag to create wine totes, Chrstina Skouloudi Design Studio to make spitoons and the list goes on.
The winery now produces 150,000 bottles of wine per year from both international and local grape varietals. Nostos Wines can be found all around the world and have received high praise from notable wine connoisseurs such as Robert Parker and Jancis Robinson.
It is also important to note that community outreach is very important to the team at Manousakis Winery. Not only does the winery dedicate specific products and events to raise money for people or organizations for people with special needs, but it created the campaign #respectlife (respectlife.gr) and later produced the short film My Brother which became a viral sensation in a few days reaching over 9 million views.