The Wine Routes of Cyprus
Cyprus has an ancient history when it comes to the production of wine. The oldest wine label in the world was Commandaria, which has been produced in Cyprus, on the foothills of the Troodos Mountains, since 800BC. It is said that King Richard the Lionheart, drank this wine at his wedding in 1191. There are still villages in Cyprus that produce wine the old traditional way, but many modern boutique wineries have opened with the new generation of wine makers leading the way to the production of excellent wines in picturesque modern wineries that can be found around the island. There are seven wine routes that you can follow if you want to visit these wineries. The wineries are located in the Paphos area, Limassol on the high slopes of the Troodos Mountains and rural areas in Nicosia and Larnaca. To get the maps and directions to these wineries see http://www.visitcyprus.com/index.php/en/discovercyprus/routes/wine-routes
Commandaria Wine Route
On this route you will pass 14 villages and see the vineyards that produce the indigenous Mavro and Xinisteri grapes that are picked late in the season and allowed to dry in the sun to intensify their natural sweet flavor. The wine is fermented in huge earthenware pots following the traditional method of making the Commandaria wine. There are 4 wineries on this route to visit and there is an old wine press in Laneia which has been maintained for centuries that is well worth visiting. Other places of interest on this route is the Medieval Castle of Kolossi and the Kouros Dam.
Diarizos Valley Wine Route
Located east of Paphos, this wine route will take you along the banks of the Diarizos River through unspoiled landscape dotted with vineyards. This wine route will take you through 14 villages and you will be able to visit two excellent wineries. The wineries are at a lower altitude in the Diarizos valley and the production of wine is made with the 18 different vines that are grown in this area. A lot of the wines produced in this area are predominantly made with the local Mavro grape varietal. This is a very scenic route that can be enjoyed any time of the year.
Krasochoria of Limassol Wine Route
This area is renowned for its vineyards and wineries and has a deep rooted history of wine making. The word Krasochoria literally means ‘wine villages’ and these villages are located on the southern slopes of the Troodos Mountains. Taking this route you will pass a total of 20 picturesque villages with cobbled streets and traditional architecture. There are 16 wineries in this area, some of them are boutique wineries that produce excellent wines and they are well worth visiting. The area is also well known for its traditional Cypriot tavernas that dot the area for those who want to have an authentic Cypriot meal. Omodos and Koilani alone have 10 wineries and this area has unique geology that is responsible for the production of some of the best wines on the island. Apart from the indigenous Mavro and Xinisteri grape varietals, this area also has imported varieties like Cabernet Sauvignon, Mataro, Grenache and Syrah. If you want to spend the day sampling some of the best wines produced on the island this is definitely the wine route to choose.
Laona - Akamas Wine Route
This is one of the best wine routes to take if you want to enjoy the scenic coastal majesty of the Akamas peninsula. Situated on the north western part of the island this area has 4 excellent wineries producing various wines that are indigenous to the area. You will also find some excellent Cypriot tavernas along the way where you can enjoy some authentic cuisine. This coastal route will take you past picturesque villages in the unique wine zone of the Akamas peninsula. This area is famous for the indigenous Xinisteri grapes which leads to these wineries producing some of the best white wines on the island. The rare and ancient Maratheftiko grape is also produced in this area for the production of excellent red wines. There are 4 wineries to visit for wine tasting and to experience in unique beautiful surroundings.
Mountainous Larnaca – Nicosia Wine Route
This is a long wine route that will take you through the mountainous area of Larnaca and Nicosia. You will pass through 10 quant villages on route to the 3 wineries in this area. On the way you will be able to visit museums and workshops and view the new vineyards that specialize in Assyrtiko, Malvasia Aromatica, Chardonnay Xinisteri and Sauvignon Blanc, and the red varieties of Maratheftiko, Cabernet and Merlot. These wineries are relatively new with modern wineries and a new generation of winemakers producing some of the best wines on the island. One of the villages you will visit is Lefkara which is famed for its embroideries and also the village of Fikardou that is home to the oldest traditional wine press in Cyprus.
Pitsilia Wine Route
The Pitsilia wine route will take you through 11 villages in the mountainous area of Madari, Papoutsa and North West part of Machairas. You will pass through the scenic route through the pine forests which are dotted with vineyards and enjoy the rural charm of the villages. Classic local grape varieties including Maratheftiko, grow on the slopes of these mountains, the altitude making them slower to mature, thus producing richer wines. You will enjoy the scenery and the excellent wineries which are open for free wine tastings and have the chance to enjoy the hospitality of the Cypriot wine maker.
Vouni Panagia - Ambelitis Wine Route
This wine route will take you through the Western part of the island, east of the Paphos Mountains, to an altitude of 800 meters. On the way you will enjoy the fragrant pine forest and the unique flora that are indigenous to this part of the island. There are 10 wineries on this route that has over 27 grape varietals. The wineries in this area produce some of the best wines using the Mavro grape variety. Some of the new varieties of grapes grown at this relatively high altitude are the Carignan Noir and Cabernet Sauvignon. Visit the Chrysorrogiatissa Monastery and see examples of unique Byzantine art in the church. In Panagia village you will also be able to see the Archbishop Makarios III museum. Some of the wineries in this area offer traditional meals with free wine tasting.