Commandaria: The oldest wine in the world?
The wine of kings… — Commandaria wine from Cyprus is recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records as the oldest named wine in the world. According to legend, King Richard the Lionheart of England was so taken with commandaria that at his wedding in 1191 he pronounced it “the wine of kings and the king of wines”. Commandaria is comprised of red Mavro grapes (pictured) and white Xynisteri grapes, which are often both grown together in the same vineyard. The first recorded description of the wine comes from the Ancient Greek poet Hesiod
The island’s longstanding tradition of winemaking needs no further proof than its claim to the world’s oldest named wine still in production – that of Commandaria, and whilst the same ancient grape varieties are still cultivated; and the same villages produce wine in the old, traditional ways, the island’s wine industry has also vastly modernised, progressed and expanded. Whether you’re a connoisseur, or a simple lover of the drink that locals once worshipped as the ‘nectar of the Gods’, you will delight in discovering a host of charming wineries and wine growing regions along seven glorious wine routes. The Paphos region and the Lemesos (Limassol) region are the two largest wine growing areas in Cyprus. The quality of wine in Cyprus has improved enormously thanks to the introduction of modern production techniques and the sheer love of winemaking exhibited by many new and old entrepreneurs in the field of Cyprus oenology.
Paphos Wine Routes
Diarizos Valley Wine Route
This verdant route passes through: Pafos, Acheleia, Kouklia, Nikokleia, Choletria, Stavrokonnou, Kelokedara, Salamiou, Mesana, Arminou, Filousa, Agios Nikolaos, Praitori, Kedares, Agios Georgios, Mamonia and Fasoula.
Take a fascinating journey along the Diarizos River, through beautifully unspoiled green landscapes dotted with picturesque vineyards, where you will discover the lesser-known wine-producing region of the Diarizos Valley, located east of Pafos (Paphos). Unassuming in status, but breathtakingly lush, the route passes 14 hilly villages, with an opportunity to visit just two – yet significant – wineries that are placing the area firmly on the island’s wine-producing map. Situated at a lower altitude than the other main winegrowing areas, the wines produced in the area are remarkable. Climbing upwards, you will come across 18 different types of vines, with the predominant being that of the local Mavro (red) grape variety. Its tranquil scenery and interesting flora and fauna are further enhanced by the genuine hospitality of the local people, and the pleasurable delights of its expanding wine trade.
Laona – Akamas Wine Route (Akamas region)
This rugged route passes through: Pafos (Paphos), Mesogi, Tsada, Stroumbi, Kathikas, Akourdaleia, Pano Arodes, Kato Arodes, Ineia, Drouseia, Polis and Pegeia.
Travel through an evocative region of rugged coastlines and charming little villages, abundant with culture and lush vines and possessing a unique character that is both rustic and contemporary. Situated in the north-western shores of Cyprus, quaint villages and wineries invite you to visit their windswept vineyards, where you will discover the indigenous Xynisteri (white) grape variety that grows in a climate tempered by the sea breeze. The wines produced here are cool yet solid, with a fine aroma and among the best white wines produced on the island. When it comes to red wine, the region also produces some of the best, thanks to the rare and ancient grape variety of Maratheftiko. Aside from a visit to four wineries, the area offers a host of traditional tavernas, elevated views, intense natural beauty and the opportunity to visit the stunning Akamas Peninsula.
Vouni Panagias – Ambelitis Wine Route
This picturesque route passes offers the option of two alternative ending points and passes through: Pafos (Paphos), Mesogi, Tsada, Stroumbi, Polemi, Psathi, Kannaviou, Asprogia, Pano Panagia, Chrysorrogiatissa, Agia Moni, Statos-Agios Fotios, Koilineia, Galataria, Pentalia, Amargeti, Eledio, Agia Varvara and Acheleia or Choulou, Lemona, Kourdaka, Letymvou and Kallepeia
Embark upon a panoramic excursion into a glorious inland landscape on the Vouni Panagias – Ambelitis wine route, accompanied by the delights of the locally produced wines. In the western part of the island, east of the Pafos (Paphos) mountainous area, the route unfolds at an altitude of 800 metres to offer an unparalleled wine experience. Along the way, visitors will delight in also discovering fragrant pine forests, unique flora and a variety of mammals, amphibians, reptiles, and birds. The 10 wineries of the route are diverse and produce white wines of particular fineness in aroma and lightness of body, thanks to the local Xynisteri (white) grape variety that predominantly grows here. Hints of green apple, peach and apricot characterise the white wines of the area, whilst the ancient – and rare – red Maratheftiko grapes are enriched by red fruit, violets and roses. You will also discover 27 varieties of grape vine, of which there is an impressive showing of Carignan Noir and Cabernet Sauvignon. The villages on this route also produce some of the best wines of the indigenous Mavro (red) variety, thanks to the relatively high altitude and a mild climate, which benefit the vines and combine to produce pleasant dark and rose wines.
A Warm Welcome to Sterna Winery and an invitation to enjoy our hospitality and taste our five excellent wines, and schnapps in the peace and tranquillity of the vineyards of Kathikas. We are proud of being a small local winery with traditional roots and a commitment to the very latest production methods. Our wines are available in all good restaurants & supermarkets in Coral Bay, Paphos and Polis.
The tradition of wine production in the Paphos region dates far back through history, as archaeological evidence shows in the Roman mosaics of Kato Paphos where, in the house of Dionysos, Bacchus is depicted with a bunch of grapes in one hand and a wine goblet in the other. Sterna Winery has been producing wine for many generations and is situated above ancient springs and 31 caves dating back over 3000 years, one of which is used to lay down our wine.
The darkness of the cave cellar, together with isothermic conditions (15-16’C) maintained all year round, create the ideal conditions for ageing our fine wines.
The Sterna Winery is open to visitors 7 days a week from 9.30am to 6.00pm
Vasilikon Winery is one of the first local wineries of Cyprus, established in 1993 by the brothers Heracles, Georgios and Giannis Kyriakides. Its successful operation is based on the excellent quality grapes of Kathikas and the Akamas Laona areas of Pafos, which are mainly picked from the family’s vineyards. Furthermore, the knowledge, dedication, and care exhibited by these winemakers, together with the technologically advanced special machinery used, make Vasilikon one of the most accomplished wineries in Cyprus.
The vineyards are located in an altitude of 650-700 meters. Varieties of grapes: Xinisteri, Lefkada, Morokanela, Maratheftiko, Yiannoudi, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah. Most vineyards of this route are on lime (asbestolithic) ground, some in loamy gypsum. To maintain the highest standards, we do not use herbicides in our vineyards, but light soil treatment. After pruning, marc and pruning wood are incorporated to maintain the sustainability of vineyards and enrich them with organic matter. Our vineyards are not irrigated and rely solely on rainfall.
Visit our Winery, experience the natural surrounding beauty, and taste our unique wines.
Winery opening hours: 8:30-18:00
Restaurant opening hours: 10:00-16:00