Wine is not a new story for Cyprus. Recentarchaeological excavations which have beenundertaken on the island have confirmed thethinking that this small tranche of earth hasbeen producing wine for almost 5000 years.The discoveries testify that Cyprus may wellbe the cradle of wine development in the entireMediterranean basin, from Greece, to Italy andFrance.This historic panorama of continuous winehistory that the island possesses is just oneof the reasons that make a trip to the wine
villages such a fascinating prospect. A secondimportant reason is the wines of today –finding and getting to know our regional wineries,which are mostly small and enchanting.Remember, though, it is important always to make contact first to arrange your visit.The third and best reason is the wine youwill sample during your journeys along the
“Wine Routes” of Cyprus. From the traditionalindigenous varieties of Mavro (for red and rosιwines) and the white grape Xynisteri, plus the
globally unique Koumandaria to well – knownglobal varieties, such as Chardonnay, CabernetSauvignon and Shiraz. Let’s take a wine walk.
The wine is waiting for us!
Laona – Akamas
Pafos, Mesogi, Tsada, Stroumpi, Kathikas, (Akourdaleia), PanoArodes, Kato Arodes,Ineia, Drouseia, Polis Chrysochous or Pegeia, Pafos
CREATING THE MOOD TO EXPLORE!
This route follows age-long pathways in north-western Cyprus. It offers uniquely interesting vistas, not merely associated with vinesand wines. Lovers of food and wine will have the opportunity to visit five wineries and to try some interesting wines, which they will findcomplement our Cyprus food. The bonus, however, is the remarkablepanorama of scenery and the cultural and geological interest beforeus. There is very little else like it on the island.Generally speaking we shall travel along secondary roads, on the E701and E709. The road ascends steadily, passing from cultivated fieldsto taller vegetation and the picturesque loveliness of the patch-workof the vineyards. One fascinating vista follows another as we driveupwards through delightful valleys to the forest areas. And then,unexpectedly, we come to tiny villages which dot the landscape –thearea is sparsely populated and this contributes to a lovely rustic, ruralatmosphere…Nature’s crowning glory of this vines and wines region is the AkamasPeninsula. Away from building development -the unspoilt area of Cyprus, with flora and fauna rooted in the mists of time. In the set ofthe land, its close association with the sea, in its vegetation and wildlife, Akamas is a wondrous place. The traveler, perhaps replete fromCyprus hospitality with its ever-ready supplies of food and drink, canenter here another world, a perfect antidote to the pleasures of thetable.
The paths we take in Akamas quickly demonstrate what a unique place it is, with much more than superficial views. For anyone interested in geology,vegetation and wild life, it is a place where time spent rewards the visitor.The peaceful environment and the charm of many rural buildings ensure thatthe route is a pleasure for the walker and lover of nature. And, almost whereverwe go, we encounter vines, vines and more vines. Along our route we shall find five wineries we can visit.
Climate: From sea level, the land rises to hilly undulations of 450 to
600 m altitude. Annual rainfall is about 620 millimeters. The climate
is generally mild.Terrain: Most vine yards on this route grow on limestone formationswhile some, on gypsum-clay beds.Vineyards: The region of Kathikas is best known for white varieties,mainly the indigenous Xynisteri. Most of the villages on the route are classified with the “Controlled Denomination of Origin” (WCNO) “Laona- Akamas”. Nineteen grape varieties are cultivated:
White varieties: Plant X Malvasia G., Plant X, Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling,
Semillon, Chardonnay, Muscat, Xynisteri.
Red varieties: Mavro, Ofthalmo, Carignan, Mataro, Cabernet Sauvignon,
Cabernet Franc, Alicante B., Grenache, Shiraz, Merlot, Lefkada,Marathftiko
We start our journey northwards on the B7 road to Polis. After a short drive, and whilestill surrounded by shops and residences, we make our first stop. We turn off left , atMesogi, into the Industrial Estate, where
we will visit the “FIKARDOS” winery. One of the first regional producers, ownerTheodoros inherited the family traditions ofwinemaking, adding to them state-of-theartequipment and modern skills. Althoughowning no vineyards, he has long-termcontracts with local growers, resulting in a reliable flow which enables the winery toproduce a large range of table wines.Fikardos offers both “varietals” (madefrom just one grape variety) and blends ofseveral grape varieties. Taste across therange, such as the “Valentina” rosι, thewhite “Amalthia” and “Alkisti” and the redShiraz. The winery is open to visitors every day and offers a good perspective of thearea’s wine-making capabilities. Across theroad from the Industrial Estate you can findthe nice village of Mesogi, known for makingcane baskets, which you can buy from localshops.Before we continue our exploration, wecan make an interesting side visit tothe Monastery of AgiosNeofytos theRecluse. Take the turning off the B7 at
the top of Mesogi. Drive through thevillage of Tremithousa, passing an area ofconsiderable beauty that leads to a roadthrough a verdant valley. The monasteryis in a beautiful location at an altitude of412 metres. The site is enhanced by amarvellous square surrounded by sycamore,cypress and poplar trees. The Chapel,carved out of the rock in which the hermitsaint (1134-1214) lived, is well preserved. After this, we return to the B7 and continueto the village of Tsada. It’s a picturesqueplace, with both traditional and modernbuildings sitting comfortably together.The stone-built fountains, by the namesof Gerolakkos, Rodkias and Pyadkia, havea folklore beauty. Here you can enjoypleasant views to the sea, across vinesand plantations. Tsada is an importantviticultural village in the region.Now to continue our travel… The road up toStroumpi twists and turns, with scenic viewsupwards and down into gorges. The villageis sited at an altitude of 450 metres and isdeeply involved in vines and wine.
Anyone accustomed to open flatlands withmillions of vines is surprised at Cyprus’stiny vineyards. They are frequently plantedon steep slopes, necessitating the use ofdonkeys or mules to bring out the grapes.More than a thousand of them are stillworking on the island.Here the predominant grape varieties arethe Mavro-red and Xynisteri-white.
TheMavro, a low-acid grape, is being phasedout, with high-acid varieties planted inits place. Every year, in August, Stroumpiorganises the Grape Festival “Dionysia” -a good event to go to! In Stroumpi you
may see a number of churches, all of somearchitectural, historical or religious interest.One kilometre from Stroumpi, on the road toPolemi, lies the “KAMANTERENA” Winery ofthe Co-operative organisation SODAP.It is the largest wine plant in Cyprus.A functional building with thoroughlymodern equipment, a range of successfulwines is made here. Millions of bottles ofits “Islands Vines” are exported to Britain,
and a number of interesting blends (such asRiesling-Xynisteri) are made. The mediumpriced“Mountain Vines” (the red based onmostly Cabernet Sauvignon and the white on Xynisteri with a little Semillon) are worthtrying.SODAP are also installing a museum as wellas a modern tasting room, a restaurant/cafeteria and other amenities for visitors.At Polemi village, a few kilometres eastward,is our next winery stop, “TSALAPATIS
WINERY”. Moderately sized, it makes100,000 bottles a year of quality winesfrom privately owned vineyards. In thenaturally cool below-round wine ‘caves’ youcan taste and buy from an interesting range:
Xynisteri, but also Sauvignon Blanc and ared blend of Mataro and Lefkada.We continue our travel north-westerly and leave the B7 to take a left turn (E711) forKathikas. On the way, we can take a sidetrip
to the tiny village of Theletra (200residents) and to another hamlet calledGiolou. There is a small restaurant herewhere you will probably remember the wine,but more especially the fresh bread!And so to Kathikas, set in a patchwork ofvineyards, trees and stone walls. It is an
area with plenty of photo opportunities.Spreading out from a square housing itsChurch, the little streets of Kathikas enchant the visitor with small houses, shops selling local produce, aswell as places to eat. Kathikas has two wineries, both wortha visit.“K&K VASILIKON WINERY” has an excellent reputation forits two staple wines. The white “Vasilikon” is fresh, fruity andideal with local seafood. The red “AyiosOnoufrios”, blendedfrom Mavro, Mataro, Cabernet Sauvignon and Grenache,is a best-seller. The Kyriakides brothers, who founded the
winery, produce 300,000 bottles annually. Their wines aremade from grapes grown in their own vineyards. Visitors arewelcome byappointment and may taste the wines and tourthe winery.On the other side of the village you find “STERNA” winery, apopular destination, where people happily sit on the terracesampling wines and enjoying food. Here the cave wherethe wines are stored is a very genuine one, around 2,000years old. At weekends your guide could well be the son of
the producer, the ten year old Panagiotis! The winery’srange features pungent, earthy wines, which suit local specialties. The grapes come from 140 acresof privately owned vineyards.The sun moves across its arc andreminds the traveller it’s time to moveon! So, we leave Kathikas and soon take the road to our left that leads toseveral picturesquevillages. Stopsto gaze and take in the scenery arecalled for, with lots of photo chances, too. A cup of Cyprus coffee, with itsattendant glass of cool water, is also agood idea -to clear taste, smell and ourappetites for delights to come!Firstly we come to PanoArodes village,characterised by well maintainedstone houses and the Church of AgiosKalantionas. In the square there is a pretty coffee shop at which to relax andtake in the scene. Locals, sometimessitting and talking, other times playingTavli (Backgammon), seem to shoutat each other -but this is just the way
people converse!One kilometre north, in Kato Arodes,you can view the oblong vaulted Community Office, which seems like achurch without a bell tower. Carrying onwe come to the village of Ineia, wherethe view to the sea is breathtaking –theslope shelves gently down to the coast
ofAkamas… In Ineia, the traveller willnote that the signs are old-fashioned,denoting the village as “Oinia”,indicating its origin from the Greekword for “Wine”.Just a little up the road is Drouseia village, a popular destination for tourists. Setin rolling hills with lovely views all around, itis a great place for a weekend, with hotels,restaurants, tavernas and shops. Needless tosay, there are vineyards all around. AmongDrouseia’s attractions is the Textile Museum.Instead of taking the road to Polis out ofDrouseia, we can go back to the E709 and
cross it to visit KritouTera. “Park and Walk”is the motto in this traditional settlement ofnarrow streets. The water-driven mill and
the old coffee shop with its murals are thingsthat will live in our memories as we turn backto drive the few kilometres to Polis.
There is plenty of choice here for anovernight stay, to review the sights, soundsand people we have encountered duringour journey, and the food and drink we havepartaken. Polis is a modern coastal townwith many tourist amenities, including water sports, sailing, fishing and sporting.On the return drive to Pafos, we may, if wewant, take a right turn at Kathikas to go toPegeia, a vibrant small town at the edge ofthe steep escarpment and the coastal roadwith its many hotels andrestaurants.
26949814, 26937439, 99647005
Mesogi, www.fi kardoswines.com.cy
KAMANTERENA SODAP WINERY
K & K VASILIKON WINERY
26633237, 26632520, 99647004
STERNA WINERY LTD
26632745, 99421706, Kathikas, Pafos
26633269, 26632954, 99618177
Georgiou Kleanthous 33, Kathikas, Pafos
Georgiou Kleanthous 11, Kathikas, Pafos
26632076, 99471540, 99186496
Georgiou Kleanthous 17, Kathikas, Pafos
Akamantos 3, Drouseia, Pafos
26332276, 26332336, 99458316
Agiou Georgiou 10, Drouseia, Pafos
Kato Vrysi 45, Kathikas, Pafos
Courtesy of the CTO