Wine is a crucial part of the Mediterranean life and Greece is no exception. Greek wines are renowned throughout the world, with Crete being responsible for 20% of them! Wine is still a very important part of Cretan’s daily life, and its wine tourism is also strong, with most wine tasting tours taking place during the summer.
History of Cretan Wine
The wine history of this island dates back to at least to 5000 BC, with evidence of winemaking present since the Bronze Age with the Minoan civilisation – the oldest vineyard in Europe is in the region of Kato Zakros and is 4000 years old, which further proves how ancient this art is in Crete.
Wine presses and paintings depicting winemaking were found in several archaeological sites around Crete, with most of the vineyards being located to the north of the island next to olive groves. This protects them from the warm winds of the Libyan Sea in the south. However, there are also vineyards in eastern Crete and to the west around Haniá.
Many spots around the island have the perfect weather conditions to produce high-quality wines, which are present in many Cretan customs and gastronomy. Wine events and festivals have been taking place on the island for many centuries and are still going strong today – Cretans and tourists alike participate in celebrations and try out the magical flavours that derive from thousands of years of wine knowledge and winemaking.
The terrains on this island are amongst the best in the world when it comes to producing fantastic wines! The land has a high content of limestone and can vary from light and sandy to denser and more clay-based terrains. Their steepness means that water can drain more easily, and the vines tend to grow deep roots that absorb many nutrients and water.
The result is wines with amazing flavours and textures!
Varieties of Grape
Due to Crete’s optimal position in the Mediterranean – as well as its isolation –, there are many indigenous varieties of grape on the island. There are also many foreign varieties that have adapted to Crete and thrived to the terrain and climate, also producing intoxicating wines that are appreciated throughout the world.
Some of the most common grape varieties include the white Vilana and Muscat of Spina, and the red Mantilari and Syrah. Crete has 12.8% of all Greek vineyards and is third amongst the nine viticultural regions in the country.
Cretan vineyards grow at high altitudes, with some reaching heights of 900m above sea level – these and other conditions, like the Mediterranean climate, makes Crete the perfect place to produce flavourful, world-class wines, which are perfect to accompany with your Cretan meal!
We offer you the base for you to explore the Cretan wineries at your own pace, so please don’t hesitate to contact us today on +44 (0) 1444 880 404 and we’ll help you choose the accommodation that will suit you best!