Cyprus is said to be the original creator of the nectar of the gods – wine – although some other wine producing countries, including Bulgaria, feels that title belongs to them. What is certainly fact, however, is that Cyprus has been creating wine and viticulture for over 5,000 years.
Cypriot Wine History
There are ancient Babylonian texts that speak of Cypriot wine. The Talmud of Jerusalem also mentions the wines. Both have used the in religious rituals. Cyprus has also been known as the birthplace of Aphrodite, leading to thousands of revellers coming to the Paphos shores every year for millennia. They drank what is now known as Commandaria, a local and very sweet wine.
Euripides and Hesiod, two great ancient Greek poets, have frequently written about the virtues of Cypriot wines. They speak of pilgrimages to the island which they felt reflected the popularity of the wine. These are but a few of the historical accounts of this famous wine.
Cypriot Wine Today
The viticulture in Cyprus seems to be going through a revival. Domestic winemakers are suddenly remembering just how nice the local grapes are. They have started to experiment mixing blends of indigenous grapes with foreign grapes, using modern techniques to create wines that will leave you salivating at the mouth. They have brand new taste, but retain that character that makes them truly Cypriot.
Cypriot Viticulture Regions
There are various viticulture regions in Cyprus. However, some of these have been declared “Controlled Appellation of Origin” sites. These regions include Akamas Laona, Vouni Pnayias, Commandaria Village, Lemesos Village and Pitsili Village. Some 10% of the agricultural land in Cyprus is dedicated to vineyards. During harvest time, some 30% of the population of Cyprus works in the various parts of the wine making industry, producing 37,500 tons of wine each and every year.
Keo St John Commandaria
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