In the far northeastern corner of Macedonia, bordering Thrace to the east and Bulgaria to the north, is the PGI district of Drama. Drama is landlocked, blocked from the ocean by the vineyards of Kavala PGI, and sitting in the rain shadow of mountains to the far west. The Rodopi mountain range forms the Bulgarian border to the north, and protect the regions vineyards from winter storms. The region’s grapes are planted in two sections, a northeast facing slope that benefits from the sunny slopes of the foothills along the Menoikio mountains, and a flat plain to the east of the town, sandwiched between the Lekanis mountains to the south and the Falakro mountains to the north. The region is cooler than the coastal Kavala region to its south, and experiences a dry continental climate, requiring irrigation.
The modern history of Drama as a wine producing region starts from bare ground in the early 1990s when two local brothers, Nico and Kostas Lazaridis, planted vineyards focusing on a combination of Bordeaux varietals complemented by small amounts of Syrah, Chardonnay, Ugni Blanc, Assyrtiko, Roditis, and Robola. Since then, the style of wine pursued in Drama has always been international, the vineyards and wineries modern in every aspect, and the quality of wine consistently high, albeit scarce in quantity. Other producers have sought to copy the success of the area’s founders, and today seven wineries farm a combined 350 hectares (850 acres) of vineyards. With such a small industry and compact history, Drama can make a legitimate claim to having the highest average price for its wines, the most modern wine industry and the most consistent quality amongst any of Greece’s wine regions. The wine styles here reflect the taste of individual proprietors, from lush to firm but always reflecting precision and intentionality.