Cyprus is one of the world’s ancient cradles of wine, with a winemaking tradition that spans over 5000 years. It is also the homeland of “the wine of kings and the King of wines,” as King Richard the Lionheart called the Commandaria. The precious libation, an amber-coloured blend of sun-dried Mavro and Xynisteri grapes, is a sweet dessert wine aged for two years in oak barrels and recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records as the oldest named wine in the world.
During the Crusades, Commandaria was made famous by the Knights Templar stationed at the Kolossi Castle, 14 km west of Limassol. Here, they maintained a feudal estate called "La Grande Commanderie" – where commanderie stands for military headquarters. The region where the oldest Cypriot wine is made is still called Commandaria. But the roots of the wine are much older. First described in 800 BC by the Greek poet Hesiod, the wine was known for a long time as Cypriot Manna. Although Hesiod doesn’t name the wine in his poem Works and Days, he reveals the traditional method of producing the sweet wine:
“Forget not next the ripen'd Grapes to lay,
Ten Nights in Air, nor take them in by Day;
Five more remember, e're the Wine is made,
To let them ly, to mellow in the Shade;
And in the sixth briskly yourself employ,
To cask the Gift of Bacchus, Sire of Joy.”
Although Commandaria is only produced in the Commandaria Region, it is the most famous wine our island has to offer. As far as the Paphos region is concerned, some of the best wineries in Cyprus produce cellar-worthy wines with indigenous grape varieties, like the red Maratheftiko and the Xynisteri. Three of the six specially-designed wine routes of Cyprus are in Paphos too:
- Laona-Akamas, taking you to Ineia, Pano Arodes, and Kathikas to discover the full-bodied Xynisteri wines;
- Vouni Panagias-Ampelitis to trace the red Maratheftiko and to savour delicate white wines;
- And Diarizos Valley following the river bed from Achelia to discover modern wineries that produce exceptional wines.
Every year in October, local wineries and farmers hold a wine and traditional products festival at the Medieval Castle of Kato Pafos.
Best Paphos Wineries for Wine Enthusiasts
There are many Paphos Wineries you could visit while staying at Leonardo Hotels Cyprus, but, for your convenience, we rounded up our top favourites: Tsalapatis Winery, Fikardos Winery, Kolios Winery, Tsangarides Winery, and Vasilikon Winery.