At the official graduation of students, the WSPC® awarded the Honorary Title of WSET® Honour's Diploma to celebrities who with their vision and ethos have contributed to the evolution of Greek wine . Their work gives the correct orientation and future aspirations to the new and up-coming generations. The aim of the WSPC® is that the Honorary Honour's Diploma (HON AIWS) along with our students contribute to our becoming members of the global educational community of WSET® .
Celebrities who have been honoured so far are:
Mrs. Roxane Matsa Hon AIWS: Awarded April 26, 2010 , Dr. Stavroula Kourakou - Dragona Hon AIWS: Awarded May 14, 2012 , Mr. Paul Karakostas OBE , Hon AIWS: Awarded May 12, 2014, Mr. Ioannis Boutaris Hon AIWS: Awarded May 23, 2016
I was born in 1952 in Lausanne, Switzerland , my father was a writer and diplomat and I spent my childhood in several countries, which probably reinforced the need for me to find my roots later in the family estate. In 1967 I returned to Greece and studied at the Girls' College in Agia Paraskevi and in the Doxiadis school. For a while I worked in the Zoumboulaki gallery and in my cousin Paul Calligas' architectural office but I quickly realized that I did not want to leave our estate, part of the historical heritage, CAMBA in Kantza. I started it as a family business and continued from 1980, in collaboration with the BOUTARI company which offered me its expertise. Together we created award winning wines such as Chateau MATSA & LAOURATI and later the MALAGOUZIA variety which I helped to spread throughout Greece. Since 1998 the vineyard is grown organically and we produce various experimental wines like Syrah without sulphites.
Up to now the winemaker Roxane Matsa has offered the Greek bottled wine industry recognition this was due to the development of the Attica vineyard which has become the largest in the country.
In 2012 Roxane Matsa published the book: P. Andreas. Cambas - The "Patriarch" of Mesogaia and the Art of Wine (writing team: Emanuela Nicolaidou & Zeta Papageorgopoulou), recording the entire historical legacy of Camba "whose name is synonymous with the history of Greek wine. " Through her book she managed to "reconstruct the unique aspects of this winery, the existence of which is basically due to the recognition of the Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée wine " Mantineia ".
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 the 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 the coming 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 the 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 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 decade of 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 on 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] 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 does 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.
As recently as 2013, her latest book was released, 278 pages, titled VINE & WINE IN ANCIENT GREEK WORLD and published by Phoenix,
1945-2020. In 1971, at the age of 26 he took over the management of the GENKA COMMERCIAL SA Company, of which he is still President today. The Karakosta family entered the distribution of branded wines in 1935. They were then the official wine suppliers of the Royal family. In 1938 , the Karakosta family opened the first gourmet restaurant «Cellar» in Kriezotou Street. Continuing with the family tradition, Pavlos Karakostas III in 1989 founded the first wine club of Greece, the Athenian Wine Club, which was later renamed the Cellier Wine Club.
The GENKA Company, founded in 1877, has been marketing and successfully leading brands such as NOUNOU, Wine Cellar, Pampers, Ballantines, Courvoisier, Mumm, Sandeman & Canadian Club. In 1971, Pavlos G. Karakostas achieved the first import into Greece of one of the most important wine producers of the world, the Baron Philippe de Rothschild, followed by Champagne Bollinger, Cognac Delamain, E. Guigal, Bouchard Pere, Marchese Antinori, Angelo Gaja, Miguel Torres , Marques de Caceres, Graham's Port, Robert Mondavi, Penfolds. In 2000 it started to distributes branded Greek wines. Labels such as Lyrarakis, Mercouri Estate & Papaioannou Estate are all in his portfolio.
In 1986 he created the company "Myrto SA" with a view to restoring the Montofoli Estate in Karystos. Montofoli Estate due to its cultivable and particularly fertile land as well as its local historical significance, has always been a point of reference in the long history of Karystos. In 1987 the estate produced a sweet wine - the "Montofoli Estate " - following the same methods used for producing sweet wines in the Aegean islands since ancient times.
He served for 20 years as a member of the Board of Directors of the British Hellenic Chamber of Commerce and for four years as its President. He also served for 22 years as a member of the Board of Directors of the Association of Greek Wine (CED) and for four years as its President. The international community recognises his achievements and his long-term commercial and winemaking activities and has decorated him with the following honours:
- OFFICER OF THE ORDER OF THE BRITISH EMPIRE (OBE).
- CHEVALIER DE L'ORDRE DU MÈRITE AGRICOLE.
- KEEPER OF THE QUAICH.
- CHEVALIER DE L'ORDRE DE NAPOLEON.
He is also the Chairman and Management Consultant of the following companies - DYNAMIS INSURANCE SA ,GENKA INVESTMENT AND BROKERS SA,, IONIAN HOTEL AND BUSINESS SA (Hilton) and is a board member of ALPHA BANK.
Pavlos G.. Karakostas is married to Marianne and has three children.