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Cyprus Wines

The history of winemaking in Cyprus is very old, one of the oldest in   the world.  Recent excavations by Italian archaeologists have revealed   the sensational truth that in this small island the production of wine   dates back some 6000 years.  At the village of Pyrgos in Lemesos   district, two jugs were found which had been used for wine – even grape   pips were traced!   At the village of Erimi eighteen pots were   unearthed, twelve of which had been used for wine at some period between   3500 and 3000 BC. This cultural heritage is the oldest in the whole   Mediterranean basin and leads to the assumption that Cyprus triggered   the spread of winemaking to Greece, Italy, France and other regions.

There is an abundance of archaeological findings which provide ample   evidence that viticultural activities in Cyprus date back to the depths   of time.  There are unique ancient mosaics portraying god Dionysus   (Bacchus), very old wine-presses at the villages of Omodos, Lania and   elsewhere and amphorae and other wine-related pots crowding the island's   archaeological museums.  They are all tangible proof of Cyprus'   viticultural history through the centuries, testaments of an   awe-inspiring heritage in winemaking.

Studies indicate that the grape varieties in Cyprus are some of the   oldest in the world.  Fashions change however and Cyprus has had to   adapt its wine industry. Foreign varieties, like Cabernet Sauvignon,   Grenache, Carignan Noir, Chardonnay and Semillon, have been successfully   introduced in the past 20 years and are used for blending with the   local varieties,  as well as producing small quantities of "varietal" wines.

In the early 1980's, small wineries of 50.000 to 300.000 bottles-a-year   capacity were set up on the hill villages of the grape growing regions.   There are now more than 40 regional wineries which are producing more   diversified and characterful wines. The first of these was at   Chrysoroyiatissa Monastery in the Paphos district, whose Monte Roya   winery was established with German technology and equipment, making a   range of good quality wines.

Whilst this exciting development has been taking place, the four   traditional wineries (ETKO, KEO, SODAP and LOEL) have also been very   active. They have planted hundreds of thousands of new vines of well   known international varieties and re-discovered old indigenous ones.   Their laboratories have researched new production techniques and their   oenologists have introduced new styles and brands.

All this of course is good for the wine lovers. There is a wide range of   wines to choose from at prices that still represent very good value.   The Cyprus wine industry has a battle on its hands, but everybody in the   sector is confident that the island will ultimately get the place it   deserves on the international wine map. After all, Cyprus wines continue   a wonderful 5.000 year-long tradition of enjoyment!

 

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