Wine is an indispensable part of Cretan food culture and hospitality. Wine making traditions have been kept alive on the island for 4,000 years. Cretans have taken loving care of their vines to make wine or raisins. These two products became quite famous and provided significant leverage for the overall trade of the island, with important exports since the time of the Venetian conquest. Every household in Crete produces its own wine and tsikoudia, in adequate quantities to cover the needs of the family and even give some away to friends. To this age, taking care of the vine is deemed truly important by all families.
Standardized Cretan wine, however, had a hard time gaining the recognition it deserved in international markets. However, over the past decade or so, the tides seem to be turning in favor of the Cretan vineyard: Cretan wine has been spreading, winning awards together with its own special place in the wine lists of prestigious restaurants around the world. Boasting eleven unique indigenous grape varieties, Cretan producers are able to bottle single varietal wines, as well as intriguing blends with other European varieties that grow on the island.
The most famous varieties that have found their way back into our glasses include both whites (vilana, vidiano, dafni, thrapsathiri, malvazia, moschato, plito) and reds (kotsifali, and most importantly, liatiko, and mantilari).
The Cretan Winemakers Network is the first significant cluster of winemakers in Crete, consisting of 30 producers and wineries. The Network has achieved excellent results in promoting and marketing Cretan wine in the global market. This effort is also supported by shared actions and events organized by the winemakers to promote Cretan wines. Producers make the most out of the common promotion strategy and participation in expos, indeed putting the motto "United we stand" into practice.
Follow the wine trails all year round. Learn and live the true wine experience in one of the open Cretan wineries.
Toplou Monastery, Sitia
The monastery Toplou has always been making some wine for the needs of the church but also for the friends and social events which accompany the monastery’s life. The bare, poor, dry and windy fields around the monastery were no good for crops other than vineyards or olive trees.
On the hill “Orthi Petra”, at an altitude of 500 m, 3km north of Ancient Gortyna in the settlement of Plouti is where the Domaine Zacharioudakis is located. Since ancient times, this area has had a long-standing tradition in viticulture and wines, as it is proved by recent findings of ancient pressing-tanks situated on a rock next to the settlement. In the year 2000, the family Zacharioudakis, began the implementation of their vision...
Douloufakis winery is located in Dafnes, a small village near Heraklion. At the privately owned vineyards, not only Cretan indigenous varieties are cultivated, but also international. When you reach the winery, don’t forget to ask for the rare red wine “Dafnes P.D.O.”, made from Liatiko variety.