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September 10, 2017 by Chris Christou

The process of turning grapes into wine has been a tradition that has been carried on in the island of Cyprus for quite some time now. Mind you, Phylloxera has never affected the production of wine in Cyprus. Basically, the most famous wine of Cyprus is Commandaria which is a dessert wine whose taste is rather similar to that of sweet sherry. This wine is matured with a solera system and is rather reasonably priced. However, if required, you can also find more expensive special cuvees of the wine too!

Other than Commandaria, most of the wines produced in Cyprus are basically table wines of different qualities. These vary from rustic wines that have some charm to some types of wine that are not enjoyable at all to drink. The reason this wine is usually thin, unclean and basically flawed is because there was no or little control over the yields of the vineyards. As the owners of the land did not produce the wine, there was a ‘quality gap’ in the wine. As they were paid according to the weight of the grapes, they tried to get maximum yields with as little grapes as possible. This led to the taste of the wine being flat and tasteless. Moreover, the mode of cultivating grapes, its storage methods and the fact that the temperature is not controlled while storing the wine has basically led to a decline in the quality of the Cypriot wine.

In the last two decades, there have been drastic changes in the demand for Cypriot wines in the world market. Basic table wine that used to be shipped to former Eastern Bloc countries fought to find a place in the wine market. And with the fall of the Iron Curtain in 1989, external demand further reduced because the Eastern European countries could buy wine from wherever fancied, and not only from Cyprus. There was a reduction in the demand for Cyprus sherry to countries like UK because the international demand for wine has become rather fierce. With the New World wines, Cyprus wines indeed faced lots of competition.
Nearly 95% of the wine production in Cyprus is executed in its four main wineries; Etko Ltd, Keo Ltd, Loel Ltd. and the latest winery which was founded in 1947, Sodap Ltd. these wineries produce a variety of red and white wines which are made of international and indigenous varieties of grapes.

With the numerous threats from international wineries and wines, lots of steps were taken to make improvements on the production side of Cyprus wines. The first being better vineyard management along with selective grubbing and replanting. Wineries were built near vineyards to make it easier having grapes processed as soon as practical. And lastly, with the help of foreign winemakers and improved production processes, the final wine product improved in quality. With this, nearly forty boutique wineries have been started which renewed the interest in Cypriot wines. These boutique wineries are usually private businesses that were started with private finances.

Today you can see lots of demand on the promotion of Cypriot wines in the international market. People have a renewed interest in Cypriot wines, and to keep up with this, the Cypriot wineries have taken steps for the better public exposure of these wines. They are now on the supermarket listings, making them more accessible to the general public. Moreover, these wine bottles’ labels have also been revised so that they are cleaner and clearer to the potential buyer. Moreover, these labels are also more modern looking to reflect on the new and improved Cypriot wine.