Welcome to the famous Tour de Winery.
Line up at the starting line, get into your starting position, clean your glass and prepare your senses. This tour doesn’t involve any sweat and tears, only those of grapes (and the designated drivers).
Let me introduce you to my favourite way to pass free time – touring the local wineries. Usually, my tours involve one winery a day on a weekend, but on my day off I managed to see three in a space of few hours. Find yourself a victim to drive you around and hop on the winery express.
If you want to squeeze out every last drop of your time, I recommend touring the wineries near Limassol – they are very close to each other and the transition from one to the next one will take you 20 minutes.
First stop – Tsiakkas winery near Limassol.
Tsiakkas winery dates back to 1988 and is located near a small village Pelendri at the edge of Troodos mountains. It is accessible through a small mountain road which leads you to this beautiful view towards the valley and the vineyard. We didn’t book any wine tasting, only showed up in the middle of the day to be greeted by the owner’s daughter.
The wine tasting took place in the main winery building, which was a shame as we couldn’t enjoy the view outside too much. We sat on a small covered balcony, accompanied by a small group of Russian tourists, and tasted some of their most popular wines. In the summer months, the balcony is probably open and offers beautiful views towards the valley. We didn’t have a tour of the premises, which is something I usually look forward to when visiting a new place.
I have to say it’s a shame the owners don’t take better advantage of the surroundings and beautiful landscape around – I can imagine stunning wine tasting session right at the edge of the vineyards. The setting is a huge part of the whole experience and it’s a shame that this one didn’t really live up to my expectations.
AYIA MAVRI WINERY
Out of the three wineries, this was by far my favourite one.
Located in a tiny little village called Koilani, Ayia Mavri is a small family winery and a little hidden gem. Unlike the other wineries, this one was full of atmosphere. A traditional old house with vines climbing all over by the front door, a traditional cobbled yard and a small garden full of surprises. We were greeted by the owner, an older lady who is in charge of the winery along with her husband.
She showed us some of the old equipment they used to use to make wine, took us through the production facility all the way to the basement and wine cellar. As you enter the room you can smell the crushed grapes everywhere. Their selection of wines is somewhat unique. The matured zivania, sweet shiraz wine and their very unique commaradia are some of the wine you won’t find anywhere else.
We happily sipped our wine in very relaxed atmosphere, while she explained the stories behind their bottles.
The wine tasting is free and you could easily spend hours here. This place is a picture-perfect grape wonderland. Plus, the wines are pretty good too.
Lambouri winery is located at the entrance to Platres village and if you ever drove through, you must have seen it as it’s right by the main road.
It is a lot bigger and more grand than other place I’ve seen, and somehow a lot more commercial and touristy than the other wineries. That’s one of the things that put me off right away. As we entered the building, we were offered wine tasting session, which wasn’t free – 3 eur per person.
My husband did most of the tasting, but I had few sips and I wasn’t very impressed. There was no unique character, flavour or distinct taste that would make this wine somehow interesting.
The wine tasting was accompanied with a short introduction to the wines by the employee of the winery, who honestly couldn’t care less about what he is saying and looked like he just wants to be done with it. Soon after we started with the tasting, a big group of tourists arrived and the place felt very crowded.
This was probably the shortest wine tasting I ever had – the whole experience felt like a tourist trap and had nothing to do with getting to know the local grapes and wine making process. If I had to choose again, I would happily avoid Lambouri all together.
That brings us to the end of this tour.
Have you visited any wineries in Cyprus or where you live? Which one was your favourite and why?