Stavroula Kourakou-Dragona
NEMEA. AN HISTORICAL WINELAND
Translated by Alexandra Doumas
Foinikas Publications, 2012


STAVROULA KOURAKOU-DRAGONA

Stavroula Kourakou-Dragona was born in Athens in 1928. She holds a PhD in Chemistry, with studies in Oenology in France, and for twenty years (1964-1984) was director of the Wine Institute, a research foundation of the then Ministry of Agriculture, where she had been working as a researcher since 1953.
In 1964, as head of the Institute, she recommended the legislative establishment and protection of those wines from Greek regions which could constitute the category of wines with geographical name of origin, the wines ‘Appellation of Origin’. Each candidate vine-growing region had to meet certain qualitative criteria and its winemaking tradition had to be documented by written historical sources.
Thus began a research project of the Foundation, which covered the whole of Greece, for the consistent enhancement of forgotten indigenous vine va­rieties and for the expansion of viticulture in regions that were famed in earlier centuries for the quality of their wines but had been abandoned either due to the historical vicissitudes of Greece or due to the destruction of the vines by phylloxera. Dr Kourakou-Dragona visited every vine-growing corner of Greece, spoke with the vine-growers young and old, collected and recorded traditions, folklore and historical data, and to this day is in close contact with the productive world. She has rightly earned the sobriquet ‘Lady of the Vineyards’.
In the 1970s, on her recommendation, the first geographical names of origin were acknowledged legislatively and the first Greek wines of  ‘Appellation of Origin’ appeared in the market. These she supported – and continues to support – with numerous publications in the Greek and foreign Press, with papers at conferences and international fora, as well as with books such as this one.
Thanks to her international standing (unanimously elected president [1979-1982] of the OIV, the international intergovernmental Organization of Vine and Wine with headquarters in Paris, member of the Vine and Wine Academy of Italy, corresponding member of the Agricultural Academy of France, repeatedly president of EEC committees, decorated by France and Spain, etc.) but also the respect of her younger and active colleagues, she succeeded in gaining the recognition and protection of Greek historical ‘Appellations of Origin’ even in 2011, although retired for many years. She was a visionary civil servant, a technocrat with the will and the energy to make her vision reality.