Cyprus’ love affair with wine is ages old, in fact archaeological excavations indicate that production of wine on the island dates back more than 5500 years, making it one of the very oldest wine industries in the world. This history continues to be written by today’s winemakers who use traditional indigenous grape varieties along with well known grape varieties to produce some wonderful wines which we highly recommend you try for yourself.
Places of interest in the historic story of wine making include the picturesque villages of Omodos and Laneia, where you can view the most ancient of wine presses: Laneia’s dates back to 1844 which is the same year that the first contemporary winery ETKO Ltd opened.
Paphos Mosaics also beautifully depict wine making and consumption.
You simply cannot discuss wine making in Cyprus without mentioning Commandaria, an amber coloured desert wine which is the world’s oldest named wine still in production. Produced since around 700BC, it is known as the “wine of the kings and the king of the wines” because it was very famous amongst Royalty in the 12th century and was even heavily exported to many European Royal Courts. Legend has it that Commandaria was served at Richard Coeur de Lion’s wedding to Queen Berengaria in 1911.
We urge you to take a day and experience Cyprus’ wine production for yourself – the history and the beautiful scenery that this journey will take you on will add to the magic of discovering the stunning tastes on offer. Originally pressed by foot before the days of electricity, wine production, although still traditional, is very sophisticated in comparison and wineries are aplenty throughout the island. The Cyprus Tourist Organisation have compiled a wine route programme, made up of 7 routes, which is a great reference and we will give a brief overview of each. Don’t forget to call ahead to arrange your appointment with the wineries though!
We recommend that you ask for wines produced by indigenous varieties by name, which are very rarely used in blends – these include:
WHITE: Xinistry, Spourtiko, Promara, Muscat of Alexandria*.
RED: Mavro, Maratheftiko, Giannoudi, Lefkada.
*Muscat of Alexandria is mainly a dessert wine. Top tip: try Muscat Ayia Mavri Winery in Kilani Village where an old charming couple have won multiple awards.
Wine Route 1: Laona – Akamas
Wineries: Fikardos Winery (Mesogi: 26 949 814), Kamaterena Sodap (Stroumpi: 26 633 000), Tsalapatis Wines co Ltd (Polemi: 99 624 929), K & K Vasilikon (Kathikas: 26 633 237) and Sterna Winery (Kathikas: 99 699 082).
Wine Route 2: Vouni Panagias – Ampelitis
Wineries: Ezousa Winery (Kannaviou: 99 415 909), Vouni Panayia Winery Ltd (Panagia: 26 722 770), Kolios Winery Ltd (Statos – Agios Fotios: 26 724 090), Makkas Winery (Statos – Agios Fotios: 7777 2221)Chrysorrogiatissa Winery (Panagia: 99 626 642), Tsangarides Winery (Lemona: 26 722 777), Shoufas Winery Ltd (Koilineia: 99 447 424), Kalamos Winery (Amargeti: 99 519 268)
Wine Route 3: Diarizos Valley
Wineries: Lagria Winery (Salamiou: 99 346 990), Nelion Winery Ltd (Praitori: 99 666 414)
Wine Route 4: Krasochoria Lemesou
Gaia Oinotechniki (Agios Amvrosios: 99 442 472), Agia Mavri Ltd (Koilani: 25 470 225), Vardalis Winery Ltd (Koilani: 99 642 255), Vlassides Wiinery (Koilani: 99 441 574), Lambouris Winery Ltd (Kato Platres: 7000 9463), Antoniades Winery (Mandria: 99 824 475), Zambartas Winery (Agios Amvrosios: 25 942 424), Ktima Gerolemo (99 696 031), Zenon Winery (Omodos: 99 492 979), Malia (Keo) Ltd (Malia: 99 692 295), Nikolaides Winery (Anogyra: 99 649 655), Linos Winery (Omodos: 25 422 700), Constantinou Winery (Pera Pedi: 25 470 370), Argyrides Vasa Winery (Vasa: 25 945 999).
Wine Route 5: Koumandaria
Wineries: Co-op Commandaria Winery (Kalo Chorio: 99 534 060), Karseras Winery (Doros: 99 413 238).
Wine Route 6: Pitsilia
Wineries: Kyperounta Winery (Kyperounta: 99 589 612), Tsiakkas Winery (Pelendri: 99 567 898), Vassiliades Expressions Winery (96 342 622).
Learn from a local:
Haris at O’Vrakas Taverna in Pissouri Village Square is one of the best known and most knowledgable sommeliers in Cyprus – he is very open to you picking his brain for information or asking for recommendations on Cypriot wines. His enthusiasm for the island’s rich wine making history is hard to beat!
– Pick up a ‘Cyprus Wine Routes’ brochure from any CTO office, or download via their website: www.visitcyprus.com
– www.wineriescyprus.com has a full list and interactive map of all the wineries around the island.
– Look out for the ‘wine route’ road signs on the roads.