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Greek Wine, Barrels and Art. Semeli Winery, Nemea, Greece.

Barrel art
Barrel art

Last week, whilst on a trip to nearby Nemea, I had the unexpected opportunity of seeing the most amazing art work.

Nemea, a small, picturesque, typically Greek town, at the heart of the Peloponnese wine country, produces some of Greece’s bes twines, and is home to more than forty excellent Greek wineries.


On visiting the Semeli winery, named after Semele, the mother of  Dyonysus, God of wine, I was greeted by barrels and barrels of art, literally!

Bacchus (Dyonisus) Caravaggio
Bacchus (Dionysus) Caravaggio

Every year, in the month of March, the Zappeion  Megaron exhibition hall, located in the centre of Athens, hosts Oenorama, Athens’s wine week, Greece’s largest wine fair.

Oenorama  Athens Wine Week.
Oenorama  Athens Wine Week.

This year, for the first time, thirty artists had teamed up with thirty, huge, used, oak wine barrels, to create a spectacular art show, named:

 “Oak Sessions”

Oak wine barrels
Oak wine barrels

The concept was;

 What had these barrels seen?

 Where had they been?

If only they could talk, what would they say?

These thirty talented artists transferred their thoughts, to the thirty wine barrels, in unique art form.

Barrel art at Semeli Winery, Nemea
Barrel art at Semeli Winery, Nemea

As luck would have it, after the wine fair closed in Athens, these wonderful barrels had been brought to Nemea and put on display at the Semeli winery, the very place I was to visit!

Semeli winery & vineyards, Nemea
Semeli winery & vineyards, Nemea

Not only did I take in the breathtaking views of Nemea, acres and acres of vineyards, stretching for as far as the eye could see, but I had the bonus of seeing this incredible barrel art.

View from Semeli Winery
View from Semeli Winery

Not all thirty barrels were on display at Semeli, the ones I didn't get to see, I found in

 “The Oak Sessions”  Catalogue.
You will find a link to the catalogue, towards the end of this post.

Savvas Georgiades
Savvas Georgiades

This barrel, maybe my favourite, together with the olive tree barrel, which you will see in a minute, was painted by Savvas Georgiades, for the Mediterra winery.

 No title.

 Kostas Lavdas
 Kostas Lavdas

This was created by Kostas Lavdas for the Avantis Estate, using different sized barrels.

 "Angel Ksoano"

Olga Goulandri.
Olga Goulandri.

 This one for Hatsimichalis Estate by Olga Goulandri.

 "In Vino Libertas"

Eleutheria Tseiko
Eleutheria Tseiko

Lego has been used here for the Palivou Estate in Nemea, by Eleutheria Tseiko.  

 "Playing with Lego"

 Mary Samouli
 Mary Samouli

 A very fancy one here by Mary Samouli for the Semeli Estate, Nemea, the Estate where I actually saw these astounding barrels.

 " Drops of optimism In Deep Ruby"

Pavlos Habides
Pavlos Habides

By artist Pavlos Habides for Paparuan Estate

 "Saying goodbye to Polyphimo"

Pavlos Habides
Pavlos Habides

Painted by Pavlos Habides  for the Oenoforos Estate


 Georgia Bliatsou
 Georgia Bliatsou

Lovely spring poppies here painted by Georgia Bliatsou for Boyatzi Estate.

 "Spring Brings....."

Stelios Panagiotopoulos
Stelios Panagiotopoulos

An unusual one painted by Stelios Panagiotopoulos for the Gaia Estate Nemea.

 "Breaking Free"

Daphne Stergidi
Daphne Stergidi 

Stranger still, a lot of fantasy has been put into this barrel created by Daphne Stergidi for the Tour Melas Estate. 

 "Apollo and Daphne"

Vasilis Peros
Vasilis Peros

Vasilis Peros
Vasilis Peros

Here's my other favourite, with the olive tree, it roots bursting through the barrel, I love the tiny swing detail.

Created by Vasilis Peros for Nemeion Estate.

"The Red Swing"

 Athina Hatzi.
 Athina Hatzi.

Here's a more traditional idea, grapes in baskets for the Vasiliou Estate by Athina Hatzi.

 "Bench With Grapes"

Marcos Kabanis & Christina Aktidi
Marcos Kabanis & Christina Aktidi

The barrel on the left was painted by Marcos Kabanis for the Tsandali Estate.


 The one on the right, by Christina Aktidi for Estate Mouson.


Yiannis Dedes & Panagiotis Beldekos
Yiannis Dedes & Panagiotis Beldekos

On the left here, we have two rows of figures, painted by Yiannis Dedes for the Bairaktari Estate,


 and, on the right, Panagiotis Beldekos, sketched ancient Greek boats onto the barrel for The Estate Wine Art. (Kτήμα Τέχνη Οίνου)

No title

Marios Boutsinos & Harris Pressas,
Marios Boutsinos & Harris Pressas,

In the foreground is the barrel made for Estate Sigali by Marios Boutsinos, a perspex top, decorated with copper vine leaves, please have a look at this in the catalogue, (Link further down the page) the picture is much, much better than my amateur photography!
 AQs they all are actually!

"Wine Pleases The Heart"

The barrel behind, is for the Estate Kokotou ,and is painted by Harris Pressas.

 "The Four Seasons"

Tania Dimitrakopoulou &  Alina Matsa.
Tania Dimitrakopoulou &  Alina Matsa.

At the forefront, sky blue with horses, painted by Tania Dimitrakopoulou for the Aivali Estate, titled, you guessed it:


The one behind, showing the hand, is for the Estate Alfa by Alina Matsa.

"This Side Up"

Do please refer to the link for the catalogue  HERE, as you can see them in much better detail, and, 

also, have a look at the seven or eight other barrels that were not on display at the Semeli winery.

After inspecting these glorious barrels, we said our goodbyes, left Semeli winery, and went on to the

Palivou Winery, where Mr George Palivos (Owner & manager) told us the most interesting things

 about vines,wines and vineyards.

I don't pretend to be a wine buff, but, after speaking with Mr. George, I felt I was!

 Such a nice man.

Palivou Estate.Nemea  Photo by Nemea Press.
Palivou Estate.Nemea
Photo by Nemea Press.

Mr. George Palivos is so passionate about his vineyards, he very kindly piled us into his truck, and took us to see, as he put it;

"The Best View In The World"

He wasn't wrong, it truly was an astonishing thing to see!

View from Palivou Estate.Nemea.
View from Palivou Estate.Nemea.

Before heading  home to Loutraki, we stopped off at The Sofos Restaurant in the centre of Nemea, run by an absolutely delightful couple, George and Eirene, and had a delicious traditional Greek meal.

The perfect end to the perfect day.

If you are ever in Nemea, do go and see George and Eirene Sofos, believe me, if you do, you will become a customer for life, their food is to die for!


  1. I love your photos of the spring scenery around Nemea

    1. Thank you Hilary, it was nice to see it green, the last time I was up there at Semeli, it was covered in snow. I prefer the green!


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