Cyprus is located southeast of Greece in the Mediterranean Sea. Viticulture and vinification in Cyprus dates back approximately four thousand years. The ancient wine Nama, known today as Commandaria, was regarded as a superior wine. Its production methods were first recorded in 800BC; making it the oldest recorded and named wine in the world. Cyprus’ viticultural area is located in the southwest portion of the country around the city of Limassol. The Troodos mountain range forms a natural barrier that protects the low-lying vineyards from harsh winds.
Phylloxera never reached Cyprus. As a result, grafting the vines is unnecessary. The majority of the country’s wine production is carried out by four main wineries, of which Keo Ltd. is the largest. Cyprus’ climate ranges from hot and dry near Paphos to cool and moist on the slopes of Troodos Mountain. The vines are planted a few meters apart and grow to an average height of .5 meters. They are bush trained without any support. The harvest usually begins at the end of August and is completed by the end of October. Most of the wine is produced from local grape varieties of Mavro (black) and Xinisteri (white). There are also small plantings of noble grape varieties such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Grenache, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc. These wines are made in small quantities and are consumed locally. Overall, wine styles vary from the rich Commandaria dessert wine to dry red and white wines.
In order to conform to European Union guidelines, Cyprus has designated and graded wines according to their quality. Currently, the only EU recognized Appellation Controlee wine is the Commandaria. The majority of wine production in Cyprus is for export purposes. A large quantity of grape concentrate is sold to Britain for British Wine. Bottled wine is also exported on a smaller scale to the United States and Canada.