Andreas Cambas is born in Athens. His love of wine is apparent from an early age – he is just 18 when he starts acquiring land to produce wine on leasing pastures from the Greek government. One of these is at Paleopanagia, in Kantza. Wanting to have control of production himself, he soon founds his first small winery on Rigillis St, and goes on to purchase 500 hectares in the region of Kantza.
He then buys a wine distillery from Bordeaux to make brandy and oak barrels from Russia. In the same decade, he is appointed a supplier of wine to the Greek king, George I. This is also the period when Cambas products receive their first accolades domestically and abroad, winning gold medals in both Greece and France.
Starting with Egypt, he begins exporting his products to introduce other countries to the wines and spirits of the Greek Mediterranean. His brandy is an enormous success in Egypt, selling 40,000 crates a year, even more than French cognac.
Andreas Cambas is famous for his wines both in Greece and beyond, thanks to the success of the renowned Cambas retsina and other wines, which are the first ever bottled in Greece, becoming the preferred choice of wine lovers. The name Cambas is synonymous with wine. Andreas Cambas now runs two businesses, producing brandy and wine respectively, without competition. His brandy and his wines win prizes at international trade fairs, even though the first imitations of his brandy have begun to appear.
Following the end of the First World War, the company becomes a société anonyme, with new capital and a ten-member board of directors. Two years later, it becomes the second company in the industry to be listed on the stock exchange.
He founds the Mantinia Winery, which immediately starts production and is one of the few in Greece to use glass-lined cement tanks to ferment the wine for the settling of the must. During the same period, Moschofilero begins to flourish, and Mantineia, Arcadia and Phileri wines are soon being marketed.
Cambas Cava is launched. This very special wine is Greece’s first aged wine, which becomes an instant bestseller from the moment it appears on the shelves.
Designation of origin wines Ιmittos, Pendeli and Roditis are withdrawn due to legislation and are relaunched soon afterwards under new names. A timeless television commercial airs in which a child goes shopping at the grocer’s for “cheese, rice, coffee, milk, Cambas”.
The Boutari Group buys a majority stake in Cambas.
Part of the legacy of Alexander Cambas, preserved to this day by his descendant Roxani Matsa with the help of expert oenologists at the Boutari winery, continues to produce timeless wines under the Cambas label, and remains a creative force, upholding the history and tradition of Greek bottled wine.
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