Until the end of the 15th century the cultivation of vineyards was very restricted and the produced quantity of wine only marginally covered the families’ needs.
From the beginning of the 16th century the Francs effort for increased costs for taxation intensify the cultivation of wine.
A very important factor in this development is the reconstruction and extension of the so called “armakia”. A construction of stone built steps with slopping, staggered levels which helped the farmers with cultivation on the irregular grounds of the island.
During Venetian Domination the vineyards started to flourish. Large quantities of wine were shipped to foreign market but the export charge from customs was high. The main exports during this period were from the varieties Muscat and on a slightly smaller scale Robola.
At the end of the 18th century, with the ending of Venetian Domination the political situation remains highly unstable and these disturbances all have an impact on viniculture and it faces a huge decline.
In 1809 the English take up residence on the island and start to create favourable conditions for the development of vine growing.
In 1818 with the first meeting for the Ionian Islands in parliament they decide to encourage the production of superior quality wine and in 1826 Kefalonian governor Karolos Iakovos Napier takes responsibility and in Poros takes on 300 farmers from Malta in order to introduce the island to modern cultivation methods (new varieties, sparse planting, pruning etc).
The results were very impressive, however, the work of the Maltese farmers remained unfinished as they were decimated by the malaria epidemic.
Towards the end of the 1840s revolutionary liberation occurs and leads to an armed, rural revolt.
The conquerors in attempt to enforce efforts, suppress protests, burn the earth, uproot the vines, decimating the population who under the pressure of persecution were forced into immigration resulting in a steep fall in the wine production.
The situation deteriorates and in 1852 powdery mildew (oidium) hits the local vineyards. The problem remains unsolved until 1856 when sulphate is imported to the island.
However, at the end of that decade a change in the wine happened. In Argostoli in 1858 the first wine making company was established by Dr Nikoloas Piniatorou and the famous French oenologist Gallot.
In 1864 the Ionian Islands unite with the rest of Greece and the state of the vineyards and vineries remained stable until 1872 when
an English wine merchant Ernest Toul took over the reins of the wine company. This development was a milestone for local winemakers.
Toul sets up an organized modern plant on a scientific basis creating commercial networks in Greece and abroad. Opens up new markets and establishes the grounds for the emergence of new winemakers just like Anastasiou Pretenteri and Georgiou Germeni in Argostoli, the Mayor Antupas in Fiskardo, the Kouroukli brothers and Antoniou Faraklou in Fiskardo.
This development continues and the following years even bring awards from International exhibitions just like the one in Paris. At the end of the 19th century the situation reverses with downy mildew totally destroying the vintage of 1900. The downy mildew was dealt with; however, it was followed by degradation of the quality of vin- tages and resulting in them being left unused and therefore leading to the alleged “wine crisis”.
The difficult times continue for vineyards with the production plummeting during the Balkan War and with the 1st World War contributing even more. This situation leads to the closing of Toul Winery as they were unable to face the difficult conditions.
During the period of 1930 there was a small improvement in viticulture that happened thanks to a replantation but the 2nd World War inhibits all the chances of improvement during this period. The terrible earthquake in 1953 causing nearly total destruction to the famous “armakia” was yet another hit to the vineyards and wine.
The situation doesn’t change for the following years until 1971 when Giannis Kalligas creates his winery in Kalligata, Leivathos.
The Kefalonian vineyards starts planting and using modern cultivation methods. Robola, Muscat and Mavrodafni were origin for geographical superior quality delimitation.
In 1982 Robola Cooperative Winery was established and radically changed the facts about vine growing and winemaking, setting foundations for growth, modernization and quality upgrading for Kefalonian vineyards and wine.
During the same decade other wineries were established like Gentilini and Metaxa and generally the conditions start to thrive and flourish on a broad recognition for Kefalonian wine not only nationwide but also internationally.