Take a trip back in time and discover Cyprus’ famous wine Commandaria
Take a trip back in time and discover the secrets of the island's oldest and most famous wine, the Sweet Dessert Wine of Commandaria, which has been praised and renowned around the world for centuries.
The route through 14 villages of Commandaria dates back to 1192 AD. when the Knights of Saint John perfected the production of the world's first named wine. Sweet wine derives its identity from the place where it was mainly produced - "La Grande Commanderie" - which is the estate known today as Kolossi.
Commandaria was so famous that she even won the first recorded wine tasting competition - the "Battle of the Wines" - which took place in the 13th century and was organized by the French King Philippe Auguste.
The indigenous Mavro (red) and Xynisteri (white) grapes are harvested late in the season and sun-dried to intensify their natural sweet aromas, giving the drink its distinctive taste. The dried grapes are then pressed, the runoff collected and fermented in vats or huge terracotta pots - just like in the old days.
Four wineries line this route and a visit to the region is not complete without stopping at the renovated Laneia press, maintained over the centuries, and which recalls the glorious past of winemaking. Another popular site is also the medieval Kolossi Castle - or 'La Grande Commanderie' as it was once called.