Mythology, history and the characteristic name “Ampelos” (Vine) for one of the two mountain ranges that dominate the island, are key words when one thinks about the Samos vineyard with the typical dry-stone terraces and the cup-shaped vines.
The history of Samos wine dates back to early antiquity, the historical record includes elements of mythology also. Legend has it that the god Dionysus himself taught the Samians all about vine growing and winemaking in order to thank them for the help they provided to defeat the Amazons.
According to tradition, the first person to teach vine growing to the inhabitants of the island was the hero of the Argonauts, Agkaios.
We find historical references in antiquity for the wines of Samos in Hippocrates, Galenos, Theophrastos, while the military ships “Samena” transported wine from Samos to various ports of the world in Samian amphorae with a pointed base.
During the Byzantine period, references are also made in the descriptions of the traveler clergyman Willibald who visited Samos in 741 AD during his trip to Jerusalem.
The fate of viticulture follows the turbulent history of the island and is often interrupted by raids, culminating in the almost complete desolation of the land during the 15th century, resulting in the abandonment of vineyards, as natives resort to inaccessible mountain areas where they live in hiding. A century later, Samos is recolonized with new population from all parts of Greece, and that is when the history of the island’s Muscat wines begins again.