Born in Nemea in 1928, he is considered a pioneer of the particular PDO zone and the Greek wine sector in general. After the World War II and the Greek civil war that followed, he studied towards a Diploma in Commerce at the University of Athens and, subsequently, enlisted for military duty as a reserve army officer. It was in 1957 that he officially started his winemaking career; using “equipment” that, at the time, comprised 2 large barrels and a manual press, and working on a plot of just over 4 acres of his family’s land.
Phase 2 of his Estate came in the early 1970s, when he purchased 20 acres of land, to grow Nemea’s native grape, Agiorgitiko, as well as Cabernet Franc. At the same time he invested in the extension of his winery and the purchase of new winemaking equipment and vats.
Thanassis Papaioannou is a true believer in terroir and has studied his vineyards very carefully, in order to ensure that the right grape is grown in the right place. He was one of the new generation of winemakers (and possibly the only grower among them) who, in the early 1980s, revolutionized the Greek wine sector.
Today he remains fully active and a fountain of knowledge and experience, especially on Agiorgitiko and the vineyards of Nemea. Together with his son, George, a chemist-oenologist, they run Domaine Papaioannou, which currently owns over 140 acres of vineyards, all farmed organically, and exports a wide range of wines to a growing number of markets in Europe, the United States and beyond.