Our pillars of strength
Annette van Kampen
In the context of Biodynamics, Annette embodies the Earth element. Raised on a diverse farm near Rotterdam, she was resolute in her decision not to pursue a farming life. Her professional journey took her into the heart of numerous publishing companies, where she became the linchpin connecting editors, advertising departments, and printers. Annette is characterized by her unwavering focus, honesty, fairness, and absolute dependability.
Today, her role remains unchanged. Without Annette, the risk of chaos looms, with tasks left half-finished and loose ends abound. She is the adhesive that binds our operations together, juggling responsibilities spanning administration, exports, production, customer relations, supplier interactions, and human resources—an extensive workload for a single individual. While she receives support from Anna (administration), Anastasia (Customer Relations), and Chryssa (Logistics), Annette’s significance goes beyond her professional responsibilities. She is Laurens’ soulmate and the nurturing mother to their son, George, adding a personal touch to our Domaine Karanika family.
Laurens M. Hartman – Karanika
Laurens embodies the Air element, complemented by formidable Fire attributes. He is the visionary thinker and masterful communicator, distinguished by unwavering passion, occasional hot temper, boundless creativity, and an innate impulse to take initiative without hesitation. However, the harmony between Laurens and Annette is a testament to their indispensable partnership—each incomplete without the other.
Following his attainment of a Master’s degree in Economic History at the University of Leiden, Laurens embarked on a diverse career in publishing. His professional journey encompassed roles ranging from a financial reporter for a prominent newspaper to the esteemed position of Chief Operating Officer at Amsterdam University Press, an academic publishing powerhouse. Throughout his illustrious publishing career from 1989 to 2004, Laurens nurtured an enduring love for the traditional wines of Northern France, notably the Loire, Champagne, and Bourgogne regions. More precisely, he cherished wines produced before the 1990s—wines he had savored as a student in the ’80s.
These were wines characterized by terroir-driven authenticity, untouched by the forces of commercialization. They embodied a range of vintages, from less favorable years to truly divine ones, boasting low alcohol content, high acidity, and distinct personalities. Regrettably, each passing year made these wines increasingly elusive, owing partly to the impacts of global warming and predominantly to the proliferation of tools and additives at the disposal of winemakers. These tools allowed for the complete manipulation and transformation of wine quality, often shaped by consultants’ recommendations and consumer preferences.
Driven by his emotions and inspired by a desire to revive these wines, Laurens embarked on a journey to craft them himself. Ironically, this quest led him to Greece, the birthplace of his mother, Katerina Karanika—a country relatively uncelebrated for producing low-alcohol, high-acidity wines, except in the case of Amyntaio—a hidden treasure yet to be discovered by the wider world.
Laurens, serving as both winemaker and vineyardist, holds the reins in the vineyard, where he makes the pivotal decisions that define the wines he creates. However, he is far from alone on this remarkable journey.
The turning point in Karanika’s sparkling wine journey came with the accolades received by the Karanika Extra Cuvee de Reserve, which earned recognition as a recommended wine at Eleven Madison Park in 2016, hailed as the best restaurant in the world. This marked a significant shift towards professionalism. Laurens and Annette made the resolute decision to fully commit to their vision: assembling a specialized team for sparkling wines, conducting extensive terroir research across Amyntaio’s seven villages to assess their suitability for sparkling wine, investing in top-tier equipment and cellar facilities, and scaling up production.
In the midst of these transformative efforts, Laurens sought an additional winemaker, someone capable of meticulously vinifying the base wines sourced from numerous plots, serving as his invaluable brainstorming partner. Then, one rainy September day, just before the 2017 harvest, a petite yet remarkably determined oenologist named Lia arrived at our doorstep. She refused to take “no” for an answer. Lia, of her own volition, undertook the formidable challenge of bringing order to Laurens’ creative yet chaotic winemaking approach. She also embarked on the Herculean task of streamlining the intricate vinification process involving grapes from 100 different plots across seven villages, managed within 30 tanks, culminating in the creation of five distinct labels and 100,000 bottles.
Initially, she shadowed Laurens closely. Today, she has evolved far beyond that role—she has become the nimble counterpart to his winemaking endeavors. Lia infuses her unique style, innovative ideas, and distinctive nuances into Karanika wines—a feminine touch, if you will. In the realm of Biodynamics, she represents the Water and Earth elements within our team.
Harmonizing values: Our collective visions
At Domaine Karanika, we believe in more than just crafting exceptional wines; we stand united by a set of enduring values that permeate every aspect of our journey. These values serve as the bedrock of our identity, charting a clear and unwavering path towards our shared destination.
Love for Mother Earth: Our deep-rooted love for Mother Earth is at the core of everything we do. We recognize the vital importance of stewardship, nurturing the land that yields the fruits of our labor. It’s a commitment to sustainable and biodynamic practices that preserve the natural balance of the environment and allow it to flourish.
Respect for humans and animals: We hold a profound respect for all life forms, extending our care to both humans and animals. It’s a commitment to ethical treatment, fairness, and compassion in every interaction—whether it’s with our dedicated team, cherished customers, or the wildlife that calls our vineyards home.
Passion for what we do: At the heart of Domaine Karanika lies an unwavering passion for our craft. It’s this burning dedication that fuels our pursuit of excellence, inspiring us to create wines that transcend the ordinary and elevate the extraordinary. Our passion is the driving force behind each bottle, each vintage, and each moment we share with you.
These shared values bind us together, forming the cornerstone of our brand’s identity. They guide us as we continue to craft wines that embody the essence of Greece, all while honoring tradition, embracing purity, and relentlessly pursuing perfection.
In total harmony with nature
An unspoken presence had long lingered in Laurens’ thoughts, almost as if it were woven into his very DNA—a persistent feeling that something essential was amiss in our vineyards. This silent hero is none other than Fanouri, the 5-year-old mule of Karanika, affectionately known as “The Joker.”
As we introduced Fanouri into certain vineyards, a profound realization dawned upon us—the spirit of this equine companion is indispensable for achieving the sought-after balance. Fanouri plays a pivotal role in our vineyards, particularly during the Hilling procedure in autumn and Dehilling in spring. These practices are not only beneficial for the vineyard itself, with hooves gently tilling the soil between rows, but they also eliminate exhaust fumes, reduce weight near the vines, and create a tranquil environment free from noise, among other advantages.
Yet, it’s more than just practicality; it’s about the profound interaction between man and animal that enriches the lives of all involved. Fanouri represents not only himself but also the other animals residing on our farm. But why is Fanouri so deeply ingrained in Laurens’ DNA? The answer lies in Laurens’ lineage, as he is the 10th generation of the Hartman family to work alongside horses. Dating back to around 1680, the first Hartman, a German-born dragoon officer, rode to the aid of the fledgling Dutch Republic with his trusty horse. His grandson, Lauwrentius Hartman, born in 1720, became a skilled saddler and rigger. This tradition continued in every generation until Laurens’ grandfather, also named Laurens.
Today, Fanouris is not alone. He is joined by his younger brother, Lambros, a 4-year-old mule, and their caring ‘nanny’,Ginger, a 15-year-old Haflinger horse. So, indeed, horses are more than just a part of our story—they are woven into the very fabric of our heritage and identity, standing as a testament to our commitment to a harmonious relationship with nature.