Drink wine for a healthier life!
The origins of our wine tradition are lost back in time. Fragments of round flasks with traces of tartaric acid (a component of wine), which were unearthed in Erimi village date back to the Chalcolithic period (3500BC-3000BC). Homer praises Cypriot wines in his epic poems. Cyprus is also mentioned in many ancient Greek texts as an “evoenos” place, which means “a place which produces fine wines”.
Dionysus was the ancient God of grape-harvest, winemaking, festivity and theatre. He confided the secrets of wine making to a mortal named Ikarios. The story of Dionysus and Ikarios is depicted on a floor mosaic, dating back to 2 AD century, in the “House of Dionysus” at the Pafos Archaeological Park. The mosaic shows god Dionysus with Nymph Akme, crowned with vine leaves drinking wine, Ikarios with the ox and the chariot loaded with flasks of wine and the drunk shepherds. The inscription above the shepherds defines them as “The First Wine Drinkers”.
Greek man Ikarios had the opportunity to accommodate Dionysus during one of the God’s travels to Athens. Ikarios’ hospitality was so lavish and the God was so please that he taught him the secrets of wine making. Ikarios loved the wine and decided to share it with other people. He jumped on his chariot and off he went. On his way, he found a group of shepherds and he treated them to a drink of wine. After they tasted it, the shepherds felt incredibly good and drank more of it. Soon they became drunk and killed Ikarios, thinking that he had poisoned them. Ikarios’ daughter, Erigone, found his lifeless body and grief-stricken as she was, she hanged herself above her father’s grave. Dionysus furious over the injustice he put a plague over the city of Athens. The plague was lifted only after the Athenians organized honorary rites to Ikarios and Erigone. Dionysus still sad over his friend’s death he himself or Zeus transform Ikarios into a star, in the Boötes constellation.
Our island’s vineyards are among the oldest in Europe since more than 70% of them are over 30 years old. Cyprus is also one of the few places where vineyards are cultivated at a high altitude of up to 1500 meters, as in the village of Kyperounta.
The mild Mediterranean climate and other local attributes, such as high altitude, steep slopes, meagre soil, self-rooted and non-irrigated old vines, which are cultivated in a cup-shaped form (protecting them from strong winds and drought), contribute to the producing of artisanal wines with strong personality.
According to a popular saying you should ‘drink wine for a healthier life’ (gr. Pinne krasi na eshis zoi). Indeed, studies have found out that moderate wine consumption boosts the immune system, strengthens the bones and naturally improves blood circulation.
In recent years, many local wineries are using indigenous grape varieties, to express the “terroir” of each region. We have about fifteen indigenous grape varieties, producing both white and red wine. Xynisteri, is a light-colored white wine with low alcohol levels and low acidity. Mavro is a red, balanced and slightly sour wine with a lot of tannins and distinctive flavor and color. These two varieties combined produce Commandaria, our traditional sweet dessert wine. Maratheftiko variety gives deeply colored and full-bodied red wines of superior quality, with soft tannins and delicate floral aromas. Promara, is a white medium-bodied wine with refreshing acidity and a long aftertaste. Spourtiko, is a low-alcohol wine with a pale yellow color and citrus aromas. Giannoudi, a red wine rich in color, tannins, acidity and aromas of blackberry, dark cherry and blueberry notes.
Visit one of the heartland wineries or follow one of our wine route and discover our stories, tales and mysteries of the authentic artisan quality wines of Cyprus.