In 2012 Thracean Gold Mining S.A., broadening the Corporate Social Responsibility plan, has studied the possibilities of development of agricultural activities in the area around the Perama project, having as goal to contribute to the economic and social progress of the local community. In the context of the above study it has been asked to the distinguished scientist Mr. Allan R. Hingston to prepare a study regarding the rural development of the wider area.
Subsequently, Mr. K. Bakasietas, a vine-grower and owner of the company “Bakasietas Vine Nursery”, has visited the area in order to examine if the cultivation of vines is appropriate for the area. Taking into account various parameters, such as the climatic conditions, the soil and the history of the area, he recommended the red wine varieties of Mavroudi and Merlot and the white wine varieties of Malagousia and Assyrtiko.
Although Thrace, and more particularly the region of Maronia, is mentioned by the Burgundy Wine Museum as the first region where wine was ever produced in Europe, it is today the area with the lowest wine production in Greece. The importance of viticulture for the local economy is not high and thus the production of wine is limited and these wines are consumed at a local level. There is the exception of a few vinification efforts will very good results.
This activity began in 2013 with the planting of 5,500 square meters of the red wine variety of Mavroudi and 5,500 square meters of the Malagousia variety at the Perama farm, an effort which was directly accepted and voluntarily supported by all of the residents of the two villages of the area.
The vines were planted in April 2013, after a two-month period after the completion of the appropriate preparation of the soil. Since then, all the necessary processes have taken place so that the appropriate soil composition and the good condition of the plants is preserved, according to the rules of good agricultural practices, under the instructions of an agronomist and in cooperation with the residents of the Perama and Komaros settlements. The high quality of the grapes is ensured with various interventions such as the continuous monitoring of grapes in order to avoid diseases and to place nets for birds.
In the summer of 2015, we harvested for the first time the red wine variety of Mavroudi producing approximately 1,000 liters of red wine, although the vines were considered quite young for this kind of production in their second year of existence. Since then, the grapes of the Perama vineyards produce excellent quality wine, with every year increasing quantity.
For the vinification process we contacted a local agronomist, specialized in vinification, who has the expertise and cooperates with many wineries in the area.
Objective of the Corporate Social Responsibility Program
For many years now, Thracean Gold Mining S.A. offers long-term benefits to the community where it operates through actions of Corporate Social Responsibility, such as the development of irrigation drilling and the creation of irrigation networks in an area where the respective infrastructure does not exist.
The objective of the program of establishment of the Perama vineyard is to improve the living conditions, to contribute to the development and strengthening of the local community sustainably. Through the development of vineyards a parallel economy will be created, which will be independent of the operation of the mine, capable to absorb the total workforce of the area, after the closure of the mine.
Already, the majority of the residents are trained in the cultivation of vines acquiring expertise on viticulture as well as vinification, in order to create their own vine cultivations and to generate value from themselves. The establishment of the Agricultural Wine Cooperative will provide the maximum possible value to its members through the sale of products, the control of operating costs, the improvement of profit margins.
It must be remarked that the Perama vineyard is another proof that the development of the mine does not harm the water, the soil and the agricultural production, but rather creates the conditions for its further development.
Furthermore, what is more important is that through the cultivation of vines the strong ties between the company and the local community that have been developed in all these years are confirmed. The voluntary participation of the people proves that the residents of the two villages that are located close to the Perama gold mine accept and recognize the efforts of our company and consider this corporate responsibility project as their own. These vineyards consist the tangible proof that the company is interested in the parallel development of agricultural economy in the area, increasing total employment.