Thanks to the amazing Mediterranean climate, winemaking in Cyprus has been practiced for over 6 thousand years. Most of the white and red grape varieties on the island are now grown on the hill slopes in Limassol and Pafos, the towns where real estate is particularly in demand. The sun-filled grapes on the island make delicious world famous wines, such as Commandaria, port, sherry etc, as well as other white, red and rose wines. Every wine connoisseur will be able to find a taste to his liking among Cyprus varieties. What are the peculiarities of winemaking in Cyprus? How has it been developing over the centuries?
Winemaking in Cyprus: history and specialities
- Archaeological excavations prove that Cyprus wine was the first one in the entire Mediterranean.
- The history of the popular Cyprus wine Commandaria dates back to the Middle Ages.
- Industrial winemaking was first set up in Cyprus by ETKO in 1844.
- The Big Four of Cyprus winemakers are the following companies: KEO, SODAP, LOEL and ETKO. Their wines are produced and sold throughout the island, and their taste is loved and appreciated all over the world.
- Small family wineries are also very popular in Cyprus. Whole generations have been engaged in vineyard cultivating and winemaking. Such wines are produced in small quantities and are normally a bit more expensive.
- Before Cyprus joined the European Union, all wines in Cyprus were called table wines. However, after joining the EU, Cyprus was required to comply with new legislation regarding the classification of all wines that are produced on the island and exported to Europe. Thus, control of the origin was established, according to which the vineyards were certified for various characteristics, and the wines produced were given the appropriate classification and labelling.
- Conventionally, Cyprus is divided into four main wine-producing regions.
- The Limassol region is called The Wine Villages of Limassol and consists of 20 small villages that are located on the picturesque slopes of the Troodos mountain range. The area is very popular with tourists in winter. This area offers the guests and residents of the island delicious white wines from Xynisteri, and reds from Maratheftiko, Oftalmo or Mavro varieties. Visitors to the mountains of Cyprus particularly like the aromatic mulled wine on the base of Cypriot red wine of this region.
- The Akamas Laona wine region comprises four small villages on the northwest coast of the island. Local winemakers produce aromatic and tasty white and red wines. There is a requirement for the grape varieties used for the production of local wine - these are Marateftiko and Oftalmo for red wine, and Xynisteri grapes for white.
- The western region is called Vouni Panayias - Ambelitis and includes six villages. Local winemakers produce white wines from Xynisteri grapes, and reds from Marateftiko, Oftalmo or Mavro.
- The wine-growing region Pitsilia is located on the slopes of Madari, Papoutsa and Maheras. Here, beautiful vineyards are rich with grape varieties of Xynisteri, Marateftiko, Mavro, Oftalmo and others, from which red and white wines are produced. Their aroma and unique taste will be always remembered by everyone who was lucky enough to taste it.
- The Mediterranean island’s vineyards count over 140 different varieties of grapes, among which there are both unique Cyprus ones and popular European varieties.
- The Cyprus Mavro grape variety grows only on the island. Mavro is sweetish and many popular wines in Cyprus are made exclusively from these grapes. This wine is recommended to be consumed within one year after bottling.
- Cyprus exports to the EU about 75% of the island's wine production.
By purchasing a property in Cyprus, the investors and their families have the opportunity to discover the flavours of the Mediterranean every day in different areas of the island. Wine in Cyprus is definitely special, incredibly aromatic and exquisite. Moreover, if winemaking has been your lifelong dream, Cyprus can be a great place to make it come true and start growing grapes and producing your own wine. Local grape varieties allow winemakers to create masterpiece wines for every taste!