Gentilini was the family name of Spiro Nicholas Kosmetatos’ paternal grandmother, Marianna, the last of a long noble lineage.
Marino Gentilini, an Italian army engineer, was commissioned by the Venetian Senate in 1593 to build the extensive Assos fortifications on Kefalonia). He eventually married and settled here, and his name was inscribed in the Libro d'Oro of noble families.
In 1929, Gerassimo Cambitzi opened one of England’s first wineries, Isleworth Wineries, a little outside London. Thirty-five years later his grandson, Spiro-Nicholas Kosmetatos, planted his first vineyard of local and classic white grape varieties on Kefalonia. Having studied the latest techniques to identify the processes best suited to the climate, soil and varieties of the area, the first commercial vintage of Gentilini was released in 1984, simultaneously in Athens and London. At the time he was a pioneer in fine wine making in Greece and paved the way for other boutique wineries that followed.
... AND NOW
The winery and vineyards have now passed to the next generation. Nicholas’ daughter Marianna and her husband Petros Markantonatos took over the estate in 2002 with an eye on the future which, however, respects the experience of the past. As always, we aim to produce top quality, exciting and unique wines while promoting the unique flavours and aromas of the local Kefalonian varieties. All the steps that go into the making of these fine wines, from vineyard management to bottling and marketing, are overseen and controlled by us together with our resident winemaker, Mike Jones.
Today, we have 10 hectares under vine which are certified organic and we make a core range of six wines. We also produce experimental wines each year to ensure that Gentilini keeps moving forward. Quantities have purposefully been kept low to ensure that quality is not compromised, with a total production of just 50,000 bottles annually.
WHERE WE ARE
Kefalonia, the island of Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, is the largest and most complex of the Ionian Islands in western Greece. A part of the Venetian Empire for 400 years, these islands were placed under British protection in the aftermath of the Napoleonic Wars, and were united with Greece in 1864.
Wine has been made on Kefalonia since ancient time, and a French entrepreneur set up a winery and bottled wine here in the 1850’s. Kefalonia is the only Ionian Island to have been granted “appellation of origin” for its wines - and it has not one but three, for Robola, Muscat and Mavrodaphne. The cooling heights of Mount Ainos and the rocky limestone soil provide this island with the best conditions for the Mediterranean vineyard.