Cyprus - a History of Wine
Cyprus – a History of Wine
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 ROUTES IN CYPRUS
Wine Route 1: Laona – Akamas
Wine Route 2: Vouni Panagias – Ampelitis
Wine Route 3: Diarizos Valley *this is the route closest to Aphrodite Hills resort, click for details.
Wine Route 4: Krasochoria Lemesou
Wine Route 5: Koumandaria
Wine Route 6: Pitsilia
Wine Route 7: Mountainous Larnaka-Lefkosia
* Download the full ‘Cyprus Wine Routes’ brochure
* Visit Cyprus Tourist Organisations webpage that details the different wine routes
* Look out for the ‘wine route’ road signs on the roads.
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!
The information provided by Aphroditerentals.com on this page is correct at the time of publication, and is provided in good faith. Aphroditerentals.com are not liable to any changes to this information and we recommend checking all current operating times and information with each individual facility on the Resort using the contact numbers provided.