The Wine of Rhodes in Greece: Rhodes is one of the greatest Greek areas when it comes to wine production. The wine production of Rhodes started in the ancient times when the Phoenicians, who inhabited the island before the Greeks, cultivated vineyards on the island. By the end of the 7th century BC, Rhodes was already an important exporter to the rest of the ancient world. This important role extended in the Middle Ages due to the production of Malmsey, or Malvasia as it is known today, a wine grape variety mainly cultivated in Mediterranean countries.
The wine production continued during the years of the Ottoman occupation until the 19th century, when the Turkish administration took away the grape cultivation privileges. However, from 1912 to 1943, Rhodes was under Italian rule, which benefited its wine industry. During this period, the current most important Greek wine cooperatives were settled.
Today, the largest producer is the Cair cooperative, whose wines have been the most demanded during the last two decades. Its most important grape varieties are Mandelaria (rare red grape) and Athiri (green, juicy grape with a soft aroma). In addition, Cair extended its wine variety to Cabernet, Syrah, Grenache, and Xynomavro.
Another important producer is the Triantafyllos family, which has a winery boutique in Emvonas village. Apart from producing Mandelaria and Athiri, they also have the particularity of being the first in Greece to produce and market a Methode Champenoise sparkling wine, a brut and semi-sec beverage made from Athiri grapes.
The wines of Rhodes are blessed by the climate of this island, rainy in winter and dry in the rest of the year. There are also important cooling winds that mitigate the soil temperature during the strong summer heat. Almost 7,500 acres of wine are cultivated on Rhodes island and the most popular shape of grape is the circular grape, which is more resistant to dry climate and hot temperatures. In addition, Rhodes soil contains limestone and the area has never experienced Phylloxera, a pest of grapevines. This maintained the good state of Rhodes vineyards.