The vine-growing part of the Herakleion Prefecture, in a sense the oldest in Europe, stretches from an altitude of 600 m unbroken down to the sea. They run on unhindered through many different landscapes – following every hill and fold, up and down – a delight to the beholder’s eye.
The mild winter, the warm and dry summer of Crete, its sunshine and the cool northerlies from the Cretan Sea ensure a cycle of vegetation growth without surprises and problems in the vineyards on the island, endowing them with excellent local varieties of grapes.
No wonder then that Crete has a wine-making reputation of over 4000 years. Discoveries like a cultivated vine at Kato Zakro and the press at Vathypetro are amongst the oldest discoveries of their sort in the world.
At times, Cretan wines have enjoyed great commercial success. Major milestones in the long journey include: the period between the 1st and 2nd centuries AD, when Cretan vintages, sealed into amphorae, are recorded all over the Mediterranean; and again under the Venetian rule (12th to 16th centuries), when the zenith of their reputation was reached with the famed sweet wine Malvazia.
Until this very day, the favourable soil conditions of Crete support excellent varieties of grapes, from which come the wonderful wines to accompany and highlight the flavours of one of the healthiest cuisines in the world.
It is probably in the broad zone in the centre of the island – Malevizi, Archanes, Peza and Episkopi right down to the Mesara plain that the grape-growing and wine-making activities were maintained down the centuries, providing a key economic commerce for the locals.
Read more about the Cretan Wines by following the Wine Routes.
Within this region currently operate some of the most important and dynamic wine producers in the Herakleion Prefecture, indeed within all Crete. They produce from local and introduced grape varieties wines recognized and award-winning on the international stage.