History of Winemaking in Cyprus
The whole history of winemaking can be divided into three stages:
Stage 1: Spontaneous Original Winemaking
Wines were stored and transported in clay vessels. This gave the wines a special flavor.
The vessels’ walls, made of clay, interacted with the contents. The clay also has a porous structure and is a kind of membrane. Thus, the wine was breathing. This, on the one hand, had a positive effect on the flavor, but on the other hand, greatly reduced the shelf life.
Stage 2: Appearance of Glass Bottles and the Technology of Wine Production on a Large Scale
This stage has not lost its relevance even now.
However, the nature of island life did not allow local winemakers to follow the technology of wine production perfectly. Therefore, the wines varied greatly in flavor and composition even within the same batch.
In addition, of course, the grape harvest made its adjustments. But this is a general rule that applies to absolutely all wineries in the world.
Stage 3: Control and Measurement of Chemical and Physical Characteristics of Wine and Raw Materials
The third stage began relatively recently, with the appearance of precise means of control and measurement of chemical and physical characteristics of wine and raw materials, as well as computerized automation of the process.
Only then do certain stability of wine varieties, their flavor and physical characteristics appear.
Let’s talk about wine barrels for aging and storing, as well as corks. The unique situation in Cyprus is that there are no locally produced corks or barrels; everything is imported, and it comes at a cost. Additionally, bottles are not manufactured in Cyprus.
But Let’s Start With Corks
Traditionally, bottles are sealed with natural cork, which comes from the bark of the cork oak tree. Like a clay vessel, cork has pores, allowing air to enter the bottle and the wine to “breathe.” However, the cork’s surface area is much smaller than a clay vessel’s, resulting in a significantly longer shelf life.
Portugal and Spain are the primary sources of natural cork production.
Recently, a highly commendable alternative has emerged—the screw aluminum cap. It works well for both affordable and premium wines, offering a more convenient and practical opening experience. However, unlike traditional cork, the wine doesn’t “breathe” with this cap. Yet, when proper corking techniques are followed, it ensures the longest shelf life.
Another option is polymer corks, typically found in less expensive wines. Despite being technologically advanced and suitable for mass production, they are commonly associated with budget-friendly wine selections.
By examining the barrels a winery employs, you can swiftly gauge the quality of the wine it creates. The type of barrel used plays a significant role.
Usually, wineries opt for oak barrels from France, occasionally incorporating American oak. While there are innovations, such as the use of Acacia wood, it takes courage to experiment with new options without risking a batch of 10-30 thousand bottles.
Now, Let’s Talk About Cypress Wine
Wine is an alcoholic beverage produced by the fermentation of grape juice. The color of wine does not depend on the color of the grapes, as the juice of any grape is white. However, the skin of the grapes gives a pink or red hue during fermentation.
The main characteristics of wine include its type, which could be white, red, rose, or sparkling. All these types are produced in Cyprus, but sparkling wine is produced to a lesser extent.
Different grape varieties have different flavour characteristics. The main grape varieties grown in Cyprus are:
- Sauvignon Blanc
- Cabernet Sauvignon
- Alicante Bouchet
Cyprus primarily produces dry wines, spanning from light yellow to intense red. The wines feature a diverse buquet of gentle aromas and flavors, devoid of bold spices.
The alcohol and acidity levels in the wine can differ. In red wine, tannins play a role in providing structure and firmness, enhancing its ability to age gracefully.
Wine Regions in Cyprus
The region and origin are crucial factors that determine a wine’s characteristics.
Cyprus has six wine regions where wines differ in flavour and other characteristics, with the most famous region being Commandaria, located north of Limassol town in the south downhills of the Troodos mountains.
The Label of Wine Bottles
Now, let’s move on to the integral part of any wine bottle: the label.
The label is a very important part of the appearance and content of the wine. Judging by the label, you can understand a lot about the wine without even opening the bottle.
So, what is usually depicted on a wine label? Usually, there are two. Some bottles also have a small part on the neck – the so-called collar label – but it is not very informative. The most important labels are the main label and the back label.
On the label, you can find the following information:
- The name of the wine and sometimes the second name
- The name of the producer (winery)
- Grape variety, one or more
- Percentage of alcohol content
- Year the grapes were harvested (vintage)
- Region (Appellation)
- Type of wine (dry, red, table, etc.)
- Net content
- Additional information (pairing suggestions, flavour notes, serving)
- Warnings (about the dangers of alcohol)
The main thing to know if you’re not a true wine connoisseur is a simple rule: a wine that has already earned trust and fame does not need a flashy and colorful label. It’s needed for wines still on their way to the pinnacle of their fame, but this rule does not always work in Cyprus. Here, it would be best if you were guided more by recommendations.
Judging by the label, you can only get a general idea of the product inside the bottle, but a combination of factors (cork, color, bottle and label) can suggest a worthy specimen.
If you encounter any difficulties, it’s best to seek expert help.
Wineries in Cyprus
Now, let’s talk a little about wineries. Some modern wineries guarantee consistent quality, including:
Zambartas Wineries, Tsangarides Winery, Vlassides Winery and others.
Alternatively, some wineries take a more traditional approach, including:
Kalamos Winery, Linos Winery, Ktima Gerolemo, Shoufas Winery, Ayia Mavri and others.
The choice is ultimately yours… or you choose an expert to guide you:
Wine Tour in Cyprus
Explore the enchanting world of Cypriot wines and join an exclusive small-group wine tour guaranteed to captivate.
Immerse yourself in the Pafos region, where you will embark on a remarkable journey. For wine enthusiasts and connoisseurs alike, the highlight lies in the intimate wineries that specialize in producing exceptional varietal and blended wines.
Cyprus is home to approximately 20 such wineries, producing a modest quantity of between 10 and 100 thousand bottles annually. This limited production adds value and rarity to these extraordinary creations.
At each winery, you will witness firsthand the meticulous winemaking process before indulging in delightful tastings.
The first stop is the village of Katikas, where you’ll stroll through picturesque vineyards and visit Vassilikon Winery – one of the oldest in Paphos, covering some 4000m2. Here you’ll find not only the production area, but also cellars, a bar and even a fascinating wine museum that tells the story of Cyprus’ rich viticultural history. Vassilikon’s annual bottling capacity is an impressive 350,000 bottles.
Continuing your adventure brings you to the village of Lemony, where the Tsangaridis family winery is tucked away amidst sprawling vineyards and charming rustic structures, seamlessly blending time-honored traditions with modern technology.
Your next destination takes you to the village of Strumbi as you venture to the Kamanterena Winery – part of the renowned SODAP cooperative since its founding in 1947. In collaboration with more than ten thousand families from various vineyards (144), Kamanterena has consistently participated in prestigious international wine fairs, winning numerous awards along the way.
For your grand finale, Vuni Winery, established in 1987, offers an extensive selection of fine wines as well as its own museum and restaurant. After tasting, you’ll have the opportunity to enjoy a delicious lunch at this magnificent winery.
After experiencing the charm of Cypriot wines firsthand, it’s only natural that you’ll want to take home a bottle as a souvenir. The taste of Cyprus will soothe your soul every time you open that treasured bottle and bring back memories of your wonderful days on this idyllic Mediterranean island.
Duration: 8 hours
Group size: max 20
This comprehensive wine tour package includes:
Convenient hotel pick-up and drop-off
Comfortable transportation in an air-conditioned motor coach
Wine Tasting in Cyprus
Cyprus is a land of ancient legends and traditions, from its architecture to its cuisine, which makes it no surprise that the country has a rich wine culture. The island includes traditional and modern wineries, producing distinct varieties of wines that reflect the unique terroir of the Mediterranean island.
For those looking to indulge in a wine-tasting experience in Cyprus, there are a few essential tips to remember:
Firstly, research the wineries beforehand, as there are many to choose from, each offering a unique experience.
Secondly, dress appropriately, as wineries tend to be fairly casual.
Once there, do not hesitate to ask questions and interact with the staff; most are willing to share their knowledge and expertise.
Regarding the wine itself, it’s essential to be patient and let it breathe before tasting it, ensuring it is at the right temperature.
Wine tasting is about exploring each wine through your senses: sight, smell, touch, and taste.
Finally, avoid overindulging to appreciate and remember the experience fully.
In conclusion, the wine-tasting experience in Cyprus is not one to be missed. Immerse yourself in the unique culture and tradition of the island, and discover the richness and diversity of Cyprus’s wine industry.
If you’re visiting Cyprus, you should consider trying some locally-produced wines. Cyprus is home to various wineries, many of which offer wine-tasting experiences. If you’re new to wine tasting, don’t worry!
Here Are Some Tips for a Successful Wine Tasting in Cyprus
Choose your wineries carefully. Look up reviews and recommendations online before selecting which wineries to visit.
Don’t overdo it. Don’t attempt to visit too many wineries in one day. Remember, wine tasting is about quality, not quantity.
Take notes. Jot down your thoughts and impressions about each wine you taste. This will help you remember which ones were your favorites. Use this free wine-tasting sheet (sample).
Engage with the staff. The people who work at the wineries are often extremely knowledgeable about wine. Don’t hesitate to ask them questions or ask for their recommendations.
Enjoy the experience. Wine tasting should be a fun and relaxed activity. Savor each wine and the experience of discovering something new.
Our Recommendation: Join a Cyprus Wine Tour
Don’t forget the professionals. We want to recommend one of the wine tours in Cyprus. The wineries you will visit are located in picturesque locations with stunning views of orchards and Mediterranean landscapes. Here, you can taste great wines and learn about Cyprus’s diverse wine styles.
The guide will enthuse you with his extensive knowledge of wine. From rich blends to exquisite details, he will guide you along a path of discovery and enjoyment.
All in all, wine tasting in Cyprus is a must-do experience for any wine lover. Follow these tips, and you will surely enjoy exploring Cyprus’ local wines’ unique flavors and aromas.