HomeCommunityGreek Australian winemakers join campaign promoting local drops in South Australia

Greek Australian winemakers join campaign promoting local drops in South Australia

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Riverland wine region in South Australia produces 30.3 per cent of the nation’s wine and is made available in high-end venues across the globe, however local producers say it is hardest to find in their own backyard.

This sparked industry body Riverland Wine to commission international photographer, Matt Wilson and renowned writer Katie Spain, to capture the personalities of the region’s wine producers.

The campaign, titled ‘Riverland Uprising,’ is aimed at promoting and making local Riverland drops competitive in a global industry.

Amongst the producers spotlighted are brothers, Jim and Arthur Markeas, from Mallee Estate Wines and grape grower, John Koutouzis, from Sixty Eight Roses.

Speaking with ABC News, Jim Markeas says the region suffers a case of tall poppy syndrome and that it would benefit from the sale of local wines.

“You could be down on the river and you’re drinking some local sparkling … and then you take those memories back home and you tell your friends — that’s how you build the reputation of the region.”

WATCH: Behind the scenes of Arthur and Jim being photographed for Riverland Wine’s campaign.

Jim’s parents, Peter and Eleni left Greece in the 1960s, finding themselves in the South Australian wine region where they laid their roots in growing grapes, apricots and peaches. In the 1990s they expanded their property, becoming specialist winemakers.

Mallee Estate is now run by Jim and his brother Arthur and is an award-winning producer of vibrant Aussie wines that evoke the atmosphere of a Greek taverna. It’s had global success, exporting to the US and China.

The Markeas Family.

Grape grower, John Koutouzis, is also featured in the campaign and has enjoyed the benefits of having his Sixty Eight Roses Label stocked by the local wine centres, he told ABC News.

Most recently, Koutouzis said he had secured supply to a major bottle shop chain, saying: “They were really looking for good quality local wines because the demand was quite strong — especially from tourists.”

John Koutouzis photographed as part of the Riverland Uprising campaign. Photo: Matt Wilson.

John launched Sixty Eight Roses in 2020, after returning to his family’s mixed farm to help his parents work their mix of vineyards and fruit trees.

Speaking with Katie Spain, John said: “Moving back to the Riverland was a blessing in disguise. I couldn’t hack corporate life anymore and it turned out farming was my destiny. I’ve been running the farm since.”

The vibrant winemaker, like the Markeas brothers, is dedicated to driving a shift in perception to promote the region’s local producers.

“It’s so wonderful to see small wineries and different winemakers working together as a team and getting the word out about the Riverland as the food and wine destination it is,” he says.

READ MORE: ‘Keeping the traditions alive’: SA winemaker set to make splash in national market

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