Wine & Spirits

Taste the Cretan Wine and Beer

April 18, 2021
By Matina Demelis

Τhe history of wine in Crete and its bonds with the island have deep roots, dating even further back than the Homeric epics.

One hundred years have passed since internationally-acclaimed archaeologist Sir Arthur Evans brought to light the miracle of the Minoan Civilization in Crete. At the palace of Knossos, the oldest architectural monument in Europe, luxurious four-storey buildings were found, with services the rest of Europe acquired several thousands of years later. Evans was so impressed by the living standards of ancient Cretans he very often praised them in front-page articles in the world’s most popular journals. The multicolored wall-paintings in Minoan Palaces depict a life full of creativity, good taste and in complete harmony with the natural environment.

The vine has known around 4000 years of systematic cultivation in Crete! No wonder that the oldest wine-press (3500 years old) was found in the region of Vathipetro.

Homer informs us that, in his time, Cretan wines were renowned throughout the known world. Apart from the 3500-year-old wine-press, impressive amphorae, vast underground wine storage facilities, and relevant drawings in all Minoan Palaces provide evidence not only of wine’s central role in the life of the island, but also of the sophistication of the Minoans’ know-how.

However, Cretan wine was not confined to the island. Minoans went all around the Mediterranean, their ships filled with products of the Cretan land. So, they reached the court of the most powerful man in the world, the Egyptian Pharaoh: Egyptian wall paintings depict Cretan ships arriving at Egyptian ports. Merchandise included amphorae, probably filled with Cretan wine. At the wreckage of such a ship off the coast of Turkey, archaeologists found a sealed amphora filled with wine over 3000 years old.

Pnevmatikakis Winery

The winery is located in the province of Kisamos, an area with a long tradition in viniculture and wine making. The modern facilities, the select varieties, the quality control and the passion for the wine are elements that differentiate Pnevmatikakis Winery.

The Pnevmatikakis family is engaged in viniculture and vinification from grandfather to grandfather. The modern facilities are open to all lovers of good Cretan wine. If you want to visit their vineyards and the stone-built cellar, the wine museum, and taste wines, go to Drapanias of Kissamos. The Winery provides guided tours in the production and storage area as well as the bottling area and to the stone-built cellar.

On the upper floor of Pnevmatikakis Winery is the Wine Museum that comprises a range of exhibits related to viniculture, vinification, the production of raki (tsikoudia) and the daily life of older generations on the island of Crete.

 The Museum is decorated with wall paintings depicting scenes related to all the phases of viniculture and wine making techniques that have been applied on the island the ancient times until today.

 You can enjoy a glass of wine overlooking the gulf of Kissamos. The complex is very close to the national road from Chania to Kissamos.

Manousakis Winery – NOSTOS WINES

 Located in Platanias, the Manousakis Winery is the realization of a dream that began in 1984 when the hills around the village of Vatolakkos were still untouched by humans and the wild herbs of Crete were intoxicating to one's senses. Following numerous studies both in Greece and abroad, the decision was made to plant the Rhone varieties of Syrah, Grenache, Mourvedre, and Roussanne. 

Nostos means ‘the yearning to return to one's homeland’ and the Manousakis Winery name embraces that sentiment. The three small flowers on its logo are called ‘Manousakia’, from which the family name is derived. These delicate and very fragrant flowers grow on hilly fields, mountain slopes and on the sides of creeks. At the end of autumn, they are picked by the village folk and are used to adorn the icons in the small country churches. It is this simple blend of beauty and exquisite fragrance of nature that served as inspiration for the creation of the logo for the Manousakis Winery. The three ‘Manousakia’ are symbolic of Ted Manousakis' three daughters.

The owners felt that organic farming was the only way to show respect for nature and the environment. Being sensitive to the needs of the ecosystem is extremely important in their philosophy so they are committed to the sustainable development of their vineyards through the use of rigorous earth-friendly practices.

Located at Vatolakkos, Municipality of Platanias.

Domaine Paterianakis

A third-generation family company, the first on the island of Crete to introduce organic grape cultivation, it is one of the few wineries in Greece with a vertical organization of its production process.

The winery cultivates six unique indigenous and five first class international varieties using the latest organic techniques, creating a series of products with a strong personality.

Natural and authentic wines are produced in which there is no use of chemical or synthetic fertilizers. In other words, neither soil, nor water, nor atmosphere are contaminated.

The wine tasting area is open from the 1st of April until the 1st of November and it is located at Melesses, in the Municipality of Archanon Asterousion, Heraklion.

Charma: A beer made in Crete

Cretan Brewery S.A is the first microbrewery in the prefecture of Chania Crete. The brewery is located in Zounaki village, in the municipality of Platanias. Its highly sophisticated industrial facilities are surrounded by orange trees and olive groves. It can be found just 25 km away from Chania city center, on the way to the most popular beaches in the area like Balos, Elafonisi, and Paleochora.

Ioannis Lionakisis is the visionary who founded the brewery in 2007. Ioannis, a mechanical engineer by profession, was born and raised on the big island and is proud to be Cretan. A long-time beer enthusiast himself, he had the aspiration to offer local people and visitors a fresh, delicious beer, which was something that was missing from the Cretan market.

The company’s top priority is the creation of full-flavored pure beers without preservatives or additives which will satisfy even the most demanding beer connoisseurs.

The production process is environmentally conscious, using solar panels as well as burning olive pits, both of which are sustainable energy resources. For cooling needs, they have installed a geothermal cooling system, whose ‘heat waste’ is also used during the brewing process rather than being wasted in the environment.

The tap room and the restaurant are situated on the terrace of the brewery and they have a panoramic view of the brewing area and the picturesque surroundings. The river valley where the facilities are located is an agricultural area with olive, orange, and avocados trees.

The restaurant offers a large variety of dishes prepared with local ingredients and different beers for a unique culinary experience.


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