An ambitious agro-ecological project is being implemented on the eastern Aegean island of Patmos by Greek expatriate Josef Zisyadis, a member of the Swiss National Council (Lower House of the Federal Assembly of Switzerland), who has also served in the cantonal government of Vaud (Conseil d’ Etat).

The “Patoinos” project was launched in Petra, Patmos on March 26 and will be completed on Tuesday.

In a three-hectare stretch of land, Zisyadis together with other Swiss nationals, plan to create a vineyard with local vine varieties, an oil press, a wine-making school and a vine seed bank.

The 500,000-euro investment aspires to promote agriculture on the island. “This is not only about a vineyard and a winery,” he told ANA-MPA, “our future goals include the creation of an olive oil press, a seed bank, a wine-making school, the cultivation of different varieties of tomatoes, figs and pomegranates.”

The people participating in the project will be able to rent a grapevine for ten years for just 150 euros and each year they will receive a bottle of wine with their name on. Already 500 Swiss have joined the endeavour.

Zisyadis was born in Istanbul to a Greek father and Jewish mother. The family lived in Athens for a few years and when he was six they moved to Switzerland. Since 1986 he has spent almost all his summers on the island of Patmos.