It takes a village… to run a winery!
It takes a village….
Growing up in a small village of less than 800 people, I can say that a lot of the preconceptions about village life are actually true. It is quiet, it can be boring, there is village gossip (a lot of it!), it is a closed community, there is a level of jealousy. But there is also a real sense of community, there is safety, people still greet each other on the road, stress gets blown away by a fresh breeze, and the smell of flowers fills up the air in spring.
I would have never expected to end up again in a village 8 years after leaving my own village in Holland. At first, I was a bit wary of my return to village life, especially knowing that I was not only an outsider to the village, but also a foreigner. Marcos and Akis settled in Agios Amvrosios, with no tie to it, except for it to be one of the classic Wine Villages of Limassol. Being Nicosians, the village dynamics were maybe even more foreign to them, than they were to me.
Another 10 years fast forward, not only have we become ‘locals’ in Agios Amvrosios, but the winery is generously supported by the help and hard work of so many locals. Over the years as we slowly got to know the village, its dynamics and its people, we grew closer as persons and as a business. Four out of eleven of our winery’s team members were born and raised in Agios Amvrosios, and all of our own vineyards are harvested every year by the experienced hands of Agios Amvrosios’ families.
There is Mr. Yiannis, who offers us water from his well to irrigate our young Lefkada vineyard. There is Mrs. ‘Ellou’, 71 years old, who all her life, every year, harvested grapes. She now does it for us, with a speed and care, we would not change with a mechanical harvester. There is Dimitra, who provides us the latest village gossip and has a fast hand in bottling wine.
Our own team members, Stavros and Kyriakos, father and son, working hard everyday to make sure our vineyards are pruned and healthy. Leonidas, working with persistence, even in the hottest days of the year. Rafaella, whom we know since 2011 when she was 16 and came to sort grapes in her school holidays, now keeps our winery clean and tidy for our visitors.
But there is more. There is a sense of feeling included in the community. We get delivered freshly baked Flaounes before Easter by the Leonidou family. We provide grape juice and in return Mrs. Koulla brings us ‘palouze’, still warm and fragrant. Mail gets delivered to us, even if the address is completely wrong, because the mailman knows us. Figs, courgettes, eggs or watermelons come our way, fresh and from the village, depending on the season.
Zambartas wines are not only a product or our passion, they are a product of the environment they are made in. That environment is friendly, generous and has a sense of ‘care’.
We just had to scratch off the thin layer of initial suspicion that we found 10 years ago. We had to invest in getting to know the families. What we got in return, is a beautiful synergy between our winery and Agios Amvrosios.
Today, we are proud to have given back to the village its pride in being a ‘Wine Village’.