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A walk in time and wine with Maria Tzitzi

08 March 2010 / 09:03:43  GRReporter
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Emanuela Karastoyanova 

For wine, for both times in which mankind lives, for Greece, for the sea and many other things, we spoke with writer and expert vintner - Maria Tzitzi.

I find myself in the laboratory of Mary Tzitzi at noon on a weekday. Surrounded by countless flasks and glass bottles, precisely arranged on the working desks, I think of how complex the material world is... As a woman without chemical education, the too difficult to understand system, which I see before me, makes me believe Mary’s words, that perhaps everything in life is chemistry ... At least at first glance. 

GRREPORTER: How did you decide to become an expert vintner?

Maria Tzitzi: When I was younger my dream was to become a biologist or more precisely - biochemist. When I graduated university, however, I lost my father and I was under great stress. I had to find a job as a chemist, as was my major. Then I decided to start working freelance. For me it was an additional bonus to get a vintner license. During those years, in order to get such a license you had to have 6 months of practice in wine production. So, while I was doing my internship I met a wonderful colleague, who unfortunately is no longer among the living – Ntinos Filippoy. With him we worked together very well. One day he told me that the lab of his colleague - Mr. Dimou, is on sale. This happened in 1985. (At that time in Greece there were very few women who had a wine lab...) I took the lab and became a vintner, although in the beginning I was not aware of what it really meant to be a vintner. Back then the laboratory was at another address and there was a lot of work. It was not what I dreamt of as a child, but life led me this way... Subsequently, I liked the work because there was a lot of chemistry involved and chemistry is what I have always loved. Everything in this world is chemistry, I very much believe in it. The fact that you are here today and we are talking, is also chemistry. If I had to start my life again from scratch now, I would choose chemistry again.

GRREPORTER: You were considered to be a revolutionist for your time... 

Mary Tzitzi: No, I was not a revolutionist. Things were just different... I have participated in 19 wine competitions. The first was held in Canada in 2000, where out of the 102 tasters only 4 were women... Today, more and more women and young people participate in such competitions. Things have changed. Some of the biggest names in the wine business are men, but women the same ability to detect the flavor and some details of wine.

GRREPORTER: How did idea for the book come along? 

Maria Tzitzi: The idea came along as part of the cooperation with Le Monde and Paris Kyparissioy. We wanted to cover the needs of people who are interested in wine. They are much more than they were before and the more time passes by, they become even more. We also wanted to cover the needs of our students and ordinary wine lovers. This is not a scientific style book targeting professionals, although they can also find things that are of interest to them. It was written in language accessible to all readers. 
GRREPORTER: Do you think that nowadays the wine culture and the rapid rhythms of our societies could co-exist? How can we combine the ‘fast-food’ culture with the ‘wine’ culture? Do you think the art of wine will survive over time or one day harried rhythms will kill it? 

Maria Tzitzi: I believe that either way the lives of people are developing in two speeds. There are things that we do very quickly in order to meet some needs and we do other things, which give food to our deeper desires. Humankind has always lived in two times. I have lived in two times all my life and I don’t think I am an exception. You can see me eat at a fast-food restaurant, eating and frantically drinking my Coke but you can also see me in a good restaurant enjoying delicious food and good wine. I think most of us need this. We are trying to balance both things. Of course, the younger a man is, quality gives way to quantity. When a man is young he eats only to cover his needs. However the more time passes by, the more you say that you do not only want cover your needs but to enjoy everything and to spend your time wise. When you're young you do not sleep at night... The more you grow, however, night life becomes luxury. I do not think that quality will be lost. It will always exist. The fact that in recent years in Greece we gained a culture of wine-drinking is very important. We started seeing things differently. In the beginning it started as a principle of imitation, but I think that little by little things are starting to become balanced and we are finding our own first steps.

GRREPORTER: Which country is Greece copying? 

Tags: Wine Greece
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