What is Terroir? Terroir is the fingerprint that nature gives to its products. Terroir is the environment. Terroir is the crop; it is the unique aromas and flavors tucked away in the soil that shape the character of a product. Terroir is also the people. Terroir expresses itself only when there is a person there to help it express itself. Let me tell you why this word is so important.
Almost everyone and everything is influenced by their surroundings; everyone is touched by the environment that they live in, in so many ways. Whether in a big city or a small country town, where you are- and the people that live there- make up the very soul of that place.
To so many people Crete is a magical place, a place that draws people like no other. Rich in history and natural beauty, every corner of this magnificent island has a story to tell; a past to unfold. It was this allure of the island of Crete that brought me here in 2007 to manage our family winery.
Wine… a product so affected by the terroir.
Little did I know that at that time, the economic crisis was just about to hit the U.S. and was slowly creeping up on Greece simultaneously. Over the next few years things got more and more intense for the Greek economy and of course for the Greek people. Going back and forth from Greece to the States made me spectator of many difficult realities being faced by the people of Greece.
It all came together in the form of a product line called Terroir by Alexandra Manousakis. This line of products serves as a showcase of Cretan nature, a showcase of Crete’s unique and unforgettable terroir.
The concept is pretty straight forward; every part of our products’ packaging-and of course the product itself-is as local as it can be. We wanted to keep it as local as possible. Each bottle for our olive oil and jar for our sea salt is handmade by a local ceramist. What better way to support the local economy and showcase Crete’s unique environment and what grows in it? It doesn’t just stop there. Supporting local causes is something we have been doing for years. A percentage of the profits of each and every bottle and jar is donated to ELEPAP, a very special school for children with disabilities.
We have started with olive oil and sea salt with hopes to include more products of Crete soon.
This is not a big project, it surely won’t solve all of Greece’s or Crete’s problems, nor will it bring ELEPAP all the funds it desperately needs but maybe it will serve in setting a good example to others who will find ways to help. Someone very close to me always tells me that “many small creeks make a big river”…and that’s the point, to be one of those small creeks.