The history of winemaking in Cyprus

As is the case with other  things on this island, the history of winemaking in Cyprus is a very old one, and just like some of those other things, it is one of the oldest in the world. Some recent excavations have found that wine production on the island dates back about six millennia. In the village of Pyrgos in the Lemesos districts, two jugs were found which were used for wine, they even found grape pips. Similar jugs were found in a different region as well, so it’s pretty clear that the cultural heritage of winemaking is the oldest in the Mediterranean basin and it is now thought that Cyprus spread the technology of winemaking to Greece, Italy, France and other nearby regions.

Winemaking has been intertwined with Cyprus culture from time immemorial, as evidenced by the mosaics found portraying Dionysus – or Bacchus, the god of wine, as well as very old wine-presses in many villages, not to mention several amphorae and other pots related to wine found all across the island’s archaeologic sites.

Studies have further shown that the grape varieties found in Cyprus are amongst the oldest varieties in the world. But fashions and tastes change an Cyprus has to adapt in order to survive, so today you’ll find foreign varieties such as Cabernet Souvignon, Carignan Noir or Chardonnay having been successfully introduced over the past couple of decades. These blend with the local varieties, but are also used to produce small quantities of ‘varietal’ wines.

The producers of the island are quite small and independent, with capacities of between fifty thousand to three hundred thousand bottles per year, and now there are more than forty such regional wineries that produce a wide array of very diversified and characterful wines.

There are also four traditional wineries – ETKO, KEO, SODAP and LOEL – which have also been very active planting hundreds of thousands of new vines, both international varieties as well as re-discovering indigenous ones.

The wide range of choice is nothing if not good for wine lovers, and the best way of exploring it in as much detail as possible is with the help of our Cyprus car hire services.