At the present time, wine production in Cyprus ranks at 50th in the worldwide ranking of total production quality, producing around 10,302 tonnes of wine per year. While Cyprus is, chronologically, an Old World wine producing country, there have been so many changes in the way that wine is made here that its wines are more like New World varieties. The Cypriot economy receives much of its input from the country’s wine industry, through production, cultivation, employment, tourism and export trade.
It is believed that Cyprus has been producing wine for millennia, and that wine has long been a key element in the Cypriot diet. Winemaking archeological evidence shows that winemaking was taking place here as long as 6000 years ago.
The best known Cypriot wine is Commandaria, a dark and raisiny dessert variety, and the majority of modern wine production on the island is based on the handful of local grape varieties including Xynisteri and Mavro, however there are now some international grape varieties which are also grown here and which are used to produce a range of quality wines.
Although the main variety of grapes grown on the island is Mavro, most of the wine produced from this grape is fairly undistinguished and is used for standard table use and sold in bulk. This has led to many boutique wineries establishing themselves, especially in the higher elevated areas of the island, where they are starting to produce more sophisticated wines using international grape varieties such as cabernet sauvignon and shiraz. Wineries are also now recognising the need to process their grapes close by the vineyard in which they are grown to avoid the need to truck them to the larger wineries on the coastline during which process they can spoil in the hot sun.