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  /  HONORSHIPS   /  Dr. Stavroula Kourakou-Dragona Hon AIWS

Dr. Stavroula Kourakou-Dragona Hon AIWS

Stavroula Kourakou-Dragona was born in Athens in 1928 A Doctor of chemical science she studied oenology in France, ran the Wine Institute for twenty years (1964-1984) This was a research facility reporting to the then Ministry of Agriculture, where she worked as a researcher from 1953.

As Head of the Foundation in 1964 she proposed the legal establishment and protection of Greek wine regions which could be categorised as wines from a specific geographical area to be designated as ” Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée” wines. Each potential wine region had to meet certain quality requirements and claims of wine tradition had to be supported by written historical documentation.

Thus the Foundation began a research programme which covered the whole of Greece, resulting in bringing to light of forgotten indigenous grape varieties and expanding viticulture into areas that had been renowned for the quality of their wines in previous centuries, but which had been abandoned either because of the historical misadventures the country underwent or due to the destruction of vineyards by phylloxera. She personally visited every wine-producing corner of Greece, she spoke with winegrowers of younger and older generations, gathered and recorded documentation on traditions, folklore and historical facts, and still retains close ties with the wine production community. She is aptly nicknamed “The lady of the vineyards.”

She set herself on a mission of visiting almost all wine-growing countries in the world, thus gaining experience and providing services to the international community, for which she was decorated by France and Spain.

In the 1970s, on her own initiative, the first legal names of geographic origin were recognized and the first “Appellation of Origin” Greek wines started to make their appearance in the market, which she supported -and continues to support- with many publications in the Greek and foreign press, with announcements at international conferences and forums, but also with her own independent publications.

Thanks to her international status (unanimously elected president [1979-1982] [1979-1982] of the OIV, the International Inter-governmental Organisation of Vine and Wine, based in Paris, member of the Academy of Vine and Wine of Italy, a corresponding member of the French Academy of Agricultural, frequently acting as Chairman on E.U. Committees, receiving decorations from France and Spain, etc.), but also earning the respect of younger and active colleagues, she achieved the recognition and protection of historic Greek “Appellations of Origin” wines even in 2011, long after she had retired. She was a visionary public servant, a technocrat, who had the power to turn vision into reality.

As far as alcoholic beverages and spirits are concerned, Mrs. Kourakou served for four years as Chairman of the Committee of the OIV for wine-based spirits as well as Chairman of the ad hoc Committee of the EU Agriculture Ministers, establishing regulations for alcoholic beverages. She managed within six months to establish these regulations after two decades of fruitless negotiations by preceding Chairpersons.

Within these regulations, many articles of which she herself composed, she succeeded in protecting the name “Ouzo” although it did not have a geographical indication of origin. To achieve this she spent years preparing the ground through a series of lectures at international forums and through publications on the subject of ‘traditional names’, ie: those products whose very name is a direct indication, due to centuries of being thus and exclusively named, of the origin of each product. Based on the same reasoning, that is of traditional nomenclature, she had earlier achieved acceptance by the EU legislation the protection of the name “Retsina”.

In international circles she has a reputation of being a very good negotiator. This is why in 2002, she was called in by the request of the wine community of Santorini to support the case of Vinsanto against the objections of Italy; within the Commission it was said: “The issue is closed, Ms Kourakou did not come to Brussels after so many years without being ready with substantial arguments to succeed.”

She has written scientific books and published numerous research papers in the Greek and foreign press on issues of her expertise, expertise which allows her to analyse the texts of ancient literature dealing with matters of wine or the vineyard from another perspective. This familiarity with the ancient world was the legacy left to her by Stavroula Kourakou, her grandmother, teacher from the Great School.

Ιn 2013, her latest book was released, 278 pages, titled VINE & WINE IN ANCIENT GREEK WORLD and published by Phoenix.

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