Wine Maker Notes
Crete (Kriti) is the largest and most populated (600,000 people) of the Greek Islands. The Aegean island has a long and illustrious history, spanning nearly 5000 years of agriculture, with viticulture gaining prominence in the middle ages when it was known as Candia.
Crete is the most southerly point of Greece at a latitude of 35 degrees north, equivalent to Memphis, Tennessee. The climate is predominantly Mediterranean with North African influences, however Crete’s mountainous topography plays an important role in mitigating humidity and hot winds from Africa. Consequently, most vineyards tend to be located on the northern side of the island, benefiting from the natural weather barrier provided by the east-west mountain ranges. There are many valleys and gorges suitable for agriculture here.
Roughly 20% of Greece’s wine production comes from Crete in the form of country wine or wine that is designated as one of four appellations. Arhanes, Dafnes and Peza, in the centre of the island, are responsible for the bulk of production, with Sitia on the eastern coast. Wine in Crete is produced from a range of local grape varieties, the most notable of which are Kotsifali, Liatiko and Mandilaria. Many other international varieties have also gained popularity here after the region was forced to diversify in the 1980s to help combat phylloxera.