Although Zitsa has been producing Debina wine since 600 AD, it became an official appellation only in 1972. One of the region’s most famous proponents was the 19th century English poet Lord Byron, who was a guest at the monastery in Zitsa and praised the region’s wines.
Zitsa is the only appellation in the mountainous Epirus region in north-western Greece, the neighboring villages of Karitsa, Klimatia and Protopappa fall under the same appellation.
Numerous hills, mountains and valleys typify the terrain of the area, and vineyards usually sit on steep, sunny south- and east-facing slopes with free-draining limestone soils.
The Zitsa is located at an altitude of 700 m with orientation towards the coasts of Ionian Sea, here the climate is more continental, with mild winters and cool summers, resulting from the airs of the Sea, coming through the gorges of Kalama and Arahthos rivers to the center of the mountainous volumes.
This diurnal temperature variation means that the Debina grapes can ripen slowly without losing much acidity. The rains are throughout the year abundant, except the summer months, which are dry. Cold winters in Zitsa often see the vineyards covered in snow.
Debina may be the only officially permitted grape to be used in Zitsa-labeled wines, but it is not the only variety grown in the area. A traditional wine associated with Zitsa is a blended red made from Bekari and Vlachiko grapes, often produced in a sparkling rosé style. Bekari and Vlachiko are still grown in Zitsa and are often blended with Cabernet Sauvignon to produce dry, full-bodied table wines.
The first winery in the area of Epirus…
Initial attempts to establish a winery in Zitsa region began in 1939, but the war and the alien occupation stopped such plans. The advent of phylloxera had a severe impact on the region during the 20th Century but it has experienced growth in production and quality since the 1970s.
In 1954, the wine growers of the region founded the first wine cooperative but with small facilities. Nowadays, ZOINOS S.A. is a modern, innovative, high quality and perspective Company, a leader amongst winemaking companies throughout Greece and the world.
Equipped with tradition, passion, technology, knowledge, respect towards the consumer and a long experience, ZOINOS S.A. aspires to offer in the years quality wines, and one good example of their work is the Orange wine Dr DEBINA RESPECT.
Debina respect is produced from white grapes following the tradition of Zitsa’s wine wherein Debina of “Yesterday” in traditional spatial vinification was an orange colored wine due to the must fermented with marc and indigenous yeasts (an ancient production method which was first used thousand of years ago in Caucasus, in today’s Georgia).
White dry wine (orange wine) from the rare native variety Debina, grown in the viticulturist zone of Zitsa, at 700m above sea level.
Amber colour with aromatic complexity. Aromas of dried fruits, marmalade, citrus, orange, bergamot, honey and spices. Gentle tannins, balanced acidity and pronounced aftertaste. Consumed at 10-12’C.
Grapes are handpicked early in the morning, transported in small baskets and are then chilled in 8-10°C in a pneumatic press. White vinification takes place, where the must stays with the marc for 20 days at low temperature with indigenous yeasts in order to pronounce the varietal aromas of citrus, orange and bergamot.