If souls can have roots, Philip Arvantis’ are back in Greece, probably relaxing on a beach in Santorini with a glass of Greek wine. The Whitmore Lake importer and distributor, owner of Wine Dimensions, boasts a Greek-heavy portfolio which includes such classic gems as Santorini Vin Santo and Tsantalis
Avaton’, He’s on a mission to change the perception of Greek wine in America. “It’s not about retsina and roditis anymore,” he smiles.
Phil has been beating the streets with his wine collections for nearly thirty years; as an importer, he’s fairly new to the game, but his natural ebullience and sound wine knowledge have pushed him to the forefront of an unusual niche: both Greek and Russian wines.
Both need a little hand-sell finesse. “The improvements in both Greek wines and Russian wines over the past decade have been astonishing,” he assures. “Both countries are steeped in traditions in winemaking that led to some unforgettable selections. But the world wine market has become so demanding that producers all over the globe who want to compete have been forced to take a serious look at their operations. The wines we represent come from winemakers who have taken the best of what their vineyards can offer, upgraded technique, and entered the twenty-first century with a roar.”
The silver-haired Arvantis is on a mission not only to educate consumers about the magic of Greek wine but also about the magic of Greece itself: he recently took his thirteen daughter Zoë (‘life’ in Greek) to the land of her heritage, and sold her on it entirely. “She keeps asking me when we’re going back,” he says. “Greece has a way of doing that to you: you get hooked, easily.”